N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 210

Thursday, July 3, 1947 (Morning session)

JUSTICE COLIE: I know of but one instance when there was a failure to reappoint for anything other than cause. Does that answer your question?

MR. SMITH: Yes sir.

JUSTICE COLIE: The fact of the matter is, we have in practice had this opportunity for trial periods which has never been exercised.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Justice Colie, however, seemed to give a qualified answer to your question. He said except in those cases where there was the element of cause. Were there some of these?

JUSTICE COLIE: I think so. There were two to my knowledge, one for physical disability and one for another reason.

MR. SMITH: Mr. Chairman, we have had at least three, if the Justice will recollect -

JUSTICE COLIE: Well, not in recent times -

MR. SMITH: We are talking, of course, in this constitutional article about conditions, not of the past, but of the future.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: That is correct, but this trial term for a high court has disadvantages as well as advantages, and that is what we are studying. I think that the high court as well as the lower court will receive most outstanding judges from time to time, and any trial period, you must remember, leaves the opportunity for failure to reappoint for reasons wholly apart from merit.

MR. WAYNE D. McMURRAY: Justice Colie, the method of removal by means other than impeachment, would that at all obviate the necessity for a probationary period? Would that take care of the situation of a man who was appointed and didn't work out - that is, appointed for life, with the possibility of removing him if he didn't prove to be a proper judge.

JUSTICE COLIE: I think so. Now, when you say a proper judge, I want to be sure that I understand your question. You don't mean, perhaps, necessarily to limit yourselves to the ability or lack of ability, or lack of characteristics other than physical. You mean any cause, don't you?

MR. McMURRAY: Well, yes.

JUSTICE COLIE: I would suggest - and I can't give you, I can't attempt to paraphrase it at the moment - but the State of New York has either adopted or has under consideration at the moment a proposal by which the question of removing a judicial officer from office is to be reposed in a committee of which, I think, the Chief Judge is the presiding officer. Now, that will allow you to clean up anything, any reason for dismissal - ill health, or lack of ability, or misconduct. I think that has a great deal to recommend itself.

MR. McMURRAY: You brought out a point there with regard to a probationary period and the reason against it. It seems to me that the argument that if you want to get high type men on the

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