N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 23


STATE OF NEW JERSEY CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF 1947
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
Tuesday, June 24, 1947 (Morning session)


Transition

you cannot compel him to retire. Of course, he can voluntarily choose to retire.

In the federal system we have that difficulty - where a judge has life tenure and has become disabled and yet declines to retire, there is no way in which you can compel him to retire under the Federal Constitution.

MR. PETERSON: I think the present state requirements come pretty close to the federal requirements. I believe their retirement age is 70.

MR. LE DUC: Yes.

MR. DRENK: Doesn't the federal system provide for life tenure and the state system provides for a maximum term of seven years?

MR. LE DUC: Yes.

MR. DRENK: Now, is it your thought to put a limit on the term?

MR. LE DUC: Frankly, our plan is a compromise between the federal system, which is for an unlimited term, and our present state system. In the past, there was a rather strict limitation on the term - it was for a seven-year term. Now, my own personal viewpoint is that after they have proved satisfactory in the trial period, then they qualify and their term would be extended for another 12 or 15 years.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Mr. Le Duc: do you favor life tenure after the trial period?

MR. LE DUC: I feel that that should be at the discretion of the Convention, and I also think I would make it a controversial subject - not only for the Convention, but the press as well. It should be carefully studied by your Committee, to see how the other states of the Union operate. I do not feel I can commit myself finally on the question at this time because I have not studied it too closely, but I hope this Committee will.

MR. DIXON: How will you dispose of a case of disability - if a judge, after the trial period, is then appointed for life? Suppose he becomes disabled physically or mentally? How is that to be taken care of?

MR. LE DUC: It isn't taken care of under the present statute. I was going to say, our State Constitution does not take care of it - in fact, it doesn't fix the term, and I don't know of any federal legislation that takes care of it either.

MR. BROGAN: As I said previously, when one of the judges becomes disabled, physically or mentally, we appoint a commission of two, and then their report is submitted to the Governor for action.

MR. DIXON: You haven't referred too much to the question of compulsory retirement. Do you feel it is unimportant?

MR. LE DUC: I feel it is very important, but I haven't studied the question too much and, therefore, I do not wish to commit


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