N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 208

Thursday, July 3, 1947 (Morning session)

occurred to you ladies and gentlemen, and that is this, - you can say what you will, but every court has morale, and without morale it is not as good a court as with it. If the intermediate court of appeals - it will be a tremendously important court in this State; many cases will end there - if that court is made up of appellate divisions in which the judges sit for a temporary period of time, there will not be the same incentive, there won't be the same morale-building quality that exists in a separate, identifiable court, as such. Now, that may seem of slight importance, but I don't think it is. I think the matter of morale is something that is vital to the successful functioning of any court. I can't see how a man sitting in the intermediate court of appeals for two years, and not knowing whether or not he was going to end up in Sussex or Cape May County the third year, trying everything from dispossess suits to specific performances, could do good quality work on that intermediate court of appeals.

Going back for a moment to the court of last resort - I would prefer not to tell you what my view is as to the composition of that court. I have no hesitancy to speak about the provisions for retirement if, Mr. Jacobs, you think the Committee wants to hear me on that.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: I think so. We have heard the Chief Justice express his views on that subject and I think we would like to hear your views also.

JUSTICE COLIE: My views are these. There should most assuredly be a retirement age.

MR. THOMAS J. BROGAN: Compulsory?

JUSTICE COLIE: Compulsory. Whether it should be voluntary at 70 and compulsory at 75, I don't know. During the time that I have been in the court we would have lost the services, had there been compulsory retirement at 70, of some extremely valuable men who had many years of service ahead of them - excellent service. I don't think the Convention can go far wrong if 75 is set as the deadline. And if at 75, I think it is only fair to those men to make some retirement pension system which is a little more generous than the existing one. My reason for saying that is, that it must always be borne in mind that many men going on the court of last resort have given up an existing remunerative practice or the prospect of one. Having been out of practice just a few years, in a great majority of cases I doubt very much their ability to go back successfully into it. We have before us one shining example to the contrary, but his is the exception to the rule. Therefore, it seems to me only fair that they be given a little more adequate protection than they are getting today. That is all I have to say about that phase, that is, the retirement phase.

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