N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 199

Wednesday, July 2, 1947 (Morning session)

Circuit Court, does it mean that it is any more important than Common Pleas?

JUDGE SMITH: Just jurisdiction over the persons.

MR. McGRATH: It has nothing to do with the importance of the case?

JUDGE SMITH: I think if they handled important cases they would be more likely to bring them to the Supreme Court, that is, the state-wide court. You can go in the Supreme Court and sue a person in another county.

MR. McGRATH: The point I want to make is that the county Common Pleas Court is integrated in the Supreme and Circuit Court so far as the Supreme Court Justices are assigned; it is a matter of discretionary integration with the Chief Justice.

JUDGE SMITH: That is up to him if he wants to use it. If they go out of the county, they are paid extra.

MR. DIXON: Would you put the system of inferior courts in as part of the Constitution, or leave it to the Supreme Court or the Legislature?

JUDGE SMITH: I would have them do this. I would have them carry the courts over into the Constitution as county courts, but I would provide that the Legislature might abolish, alter or transfer their jurisdiction as it saw fit. That would be a safer provision to have there. The Legislature would then have the right to change their jurisdiction, but for the purpose of continuity I think I would create a county court, as now, and have all the jurisdiction in the Circuit Court and under Common Pleas judges all going under that one court. I think you can see the advantage of that.

MR. McGRATH: Would the Circuit Court hold criminal matters?

JUDGE SMITH: No, the Common Pleas judges would take all that jurisdiction, and then they would have the Circuit Court jurisdiction because they exercise similar jurisdiction in the Common Pleas.

MR. McGRATH: You would leave the thing as it is, with the Legislature making changes later as it saw fit?

JUDGE SMITH: If it saw fit.

MR. PETERSON: May I ask one question? What has been the historical background of the Circuit Court?

JUDGE SMITH: There was the constitutional court called the Circuit Court, but it really is the county court of the Supreme Court, and it's the same thing in its exercise. Original jurisdiction is exercised with Supreme Court Justices. Then they created the Circuit Court judges and put them into the administration of the Circuit Court which was the county civil court, and then the Su-

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