N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 233

Thursday, July 3, 1947 (Morning session)


MR. McGRATH: You said that because of the contrariety of jurisdiction in cases, the lower court might seek review, because of that difference of opinion.

MR. KAUFMAN: I didn't say that. I said, in the unified court system each equity judge would be a king unto himself. He would not be subordinate to a Chancellor who is the Court of Chancery. He would not be bound by the judgments of his co-judges, just as in New York in the special term. I could pick out -

MR. McGRATH: How can you say that without having any foundation for making the statement?

MR. KAUFMAN: Because I have had experience in the federal courts and in the New York special term to that effect.

Another basis for my desire to retain the Court of Chancery is that I am afraid that unless you preserve the inherent jurisdiction of the Court of Chancery, as it is today, you may run into the situation that unless the law is codified, the Court of Chancery will be without power to dip into the reservoir of this law and established precedents, and for that again I turn to New York. Unless the New York Legislature has provided in the codes specific remedies, the New York courts dealing in equity are without power to grant any remedy at all.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Isn't that covered by a provision in the Constitution that all jurisdiction goes to the courts, subject to change by the Legislature?

MR. KAUFMAN: I am opposed to granting the Legislature power to detract from the jurisdiction of the Court of Chancery, because thereby you can destroy it in its entirety.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Yes, but wouldn't the fear that you have - that this inherent jurisdiction would be organized into law - wouldn't that really be taken care of by legislation, so that when the Legislature did act, it would do so consciously?

MR. KAUFMAN: I would be opposed to any integration which would leave the power to the Legislature to add or detract. I might not be opposed so much if you would preserve the inherent jurisdiction in the integrated court as it exists now.

MR. McGRATH: And freeze it?

MR. KAUFMAN: And freeze it, except that you would have the right to add to the jurisdiction of the court, as has been pointed out, in matters germane to the field of equity jurisdiction.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: In other words, you oppose legislative acts such as the Norris-LaGuardia Act?

MR. KAUFMAN: I am not familiar with that.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: That is a statute which, in effect, curbs the

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