N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 21

Tuesday, June 24, 1947 (Morning session)


for its judges and our own system of limited judicial terms, none of which exceeds seven years. For the highest type of judicial service the first requirement is the independence of the judge. He must be free from financial worry and from the concern that he may be required after years on the bench to rebuild a lost practice at the bar. Above all, he must be free from political pressure by those exercising the appointing power. These ends can only be achieved in New Jersey if the judge's term of office is extended. A test period to determine adequacy may properly be provided, but when the incumbent has proved his mettle, he should be assured of reappointment for an extended tenure. The public will gain by his accumulated experience as well as by the prestige which attaches to a court of long-term judges. A minimum term of 15 years is not too long to assure this gain.

These are the principles which our committee asks the Convention to follow in rebuilding our house of justice.

Those I say, Mr. Chairman, are our proposals, which have been agreed upon by the several affiliated organizations whom I have named.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Does any member of the Committee wish to ask Mr. Le Duc any question? Mrs. Miller.

MRS. MILLER: Mr. Le Duc, in referring to this group of organizations, in whose behalf you are appearing today, has there been any change in this list since 1944?

MR. LE DUC: The only thing I can think of, that I know of, is that at that time the Women's Christian Temperance Union was a member of our group, and I don't think it is now affiliated with us. I don't know of any other changes. I think this represents almost the original affiliates of the organization. In other words, we worked on this for six or seven years in harmony - not always in perfect harmony, but still, in working harmony - with these various organizations of varied viewpoint and background. I think it is significant of the unanimity which supports these proposals of ours.

MR. DIXON: Your report ends up with the recommendations and proposals advanced by your affiliated associations, and that they be used in the proposed revision of the Constitution. Are these recommendations and proposals being brought up as the result of consultation with legal counsel of these various organizations whom you named, or do they come from the executive committees? How far down the line does it go?

MR. LE DUC: The lawyers had no monopoly in framing these proposals. Of course, they were called on for their expert knowledge and experience, but these particular proposals were worked out, I know, originally for the 1944 Constitution when it was in process that year, and they were discussed on the floor at fully attended

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