N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 194

Wednesday, July 2, 1947 (Morning session)

en banc, that is, the Supreme Court as it sits in parts, and also such intermediate appeals and reviews as it now has or - well, I shouldn't say as it now has, because some of them want to go direct to the Court of Errors and Appeals, but such appellate jurisdiction as you want to give it, such intermediate appellate jurisdiction.

MR. DIXON: When you speak of the Supreme Court, partly are you mentioning the high Court of Appeals?

JUDGE SMITH: No. I would say there ought to be a New Jersey Court of Appeals succeeding the New Jersey Court of Errors and Appeals, and as to the present Supreme Court, I would have that continued, the Supreme Court, perhaps revamping somewhat its jurisdiction and personnel. The Appellate Division, as I say, would take over all that duty. Then I would have enough judges of that court to sit in the various counties as the Supreme Court judges now sit - that is, they would have the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in the respective counties to which they were assigned, and they ought to try cases at the circuit, that is Supreme Court cases. They would then exercise the jurisdiction which a Supreme Court judge exercises in the counties to which he is assigned. And in addition, they formerly, of course, did try Supreme Court issues at the circuit but they don't do it any more; they refer them to the Circuit Court judges for trial. But these Supreme Court judges could try these cases, and if they had too much to do, which I don't think they would, they could refer them to the county court for trial.

Then, the county court - I would turn over all the jurisdiction a Common Pleas judge exercises in the various courts and also the Circuit Court, and put that all into one county court. They are county courts now, but they have different names and they are separated. There you have them all together.

Now, insofar as the managing or the making up of the courts is concerned, I think the Supreme Court judges ought to go into the high appellate court; they ought to man it. There are eight of them now. And speaking as to them, if there are seven to be appointed and the Chancellor and Chief Justice were given the opportunity of being there, there would be some that would be left out. I think it would be wise, however, to ignore the number at the start and reduce to seven after death or resignation. I think there would be one judge who would not qualify and there would be only seven, and then you have the Chancellor and Chief Justice. That would be nine. But I would start at it that way, and there is a specific reason why I think it is advisable. You have got to look at it as a practical matter.

Now, this act under which you are functioning here may be attacked. If it is attacked, the present Supreme Court, I suppose,

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