N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 249


STATE OF NEW JERSEY CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF 1947 COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
Thursday, July 3, 1947 (Afternoon session)

consideration that when you set up the new court of appeals, irrespective of how you arrive at the jurisdiction of the various courts, that a member of that court after the terms of the present Justices have expired - I don't believe in dropping the present Justices; I think they ought automatically go on to the court of appeals until they retire or die, until the court reaches a number which is that which you finally select - but thereafter the Governor should be required, in selecting the members of that court, to have at least one, you may think it should have more, come from the equity side of the court. Then you will have a review by a man who has had equity experience. As it is now, the law judges are deciding equity questions. If we have had excellent decisions in our Court of Errors and Appeals on appeals from our Court of Chancery, I think it can be laid to the excellent groundwork in the opinions in the court below, because the court has a very lovely framework on which to work.

The best will which I ever drew in my experience was one in which I modified one drawn by Waldron Ward, of Pitney, Hardin, Ward and Brennan, and I thought that one was a masterpiece and I tried to improve it. And I say the same thing applies to our decisions in our Court of Errors and Appeals. The origin of that decision was in our Court of Chancery and all they had to do was to agree or disagree, modify or approve what was said below.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: In connection with your last remark, Mr. Gilhooly, I gather that you think that some members of this high court should come from lower equity judges, is that correct?

Shouldn't some of them come, on the same principle, from lower law judges?

MR. GILHOOLY: That would be very helpful, except -

VICE-CHAIRMAN: If that's so, then you would object, I gather, to permitting the high court to be drawn exclusively from outside the field of judges?

MR. GILHOOLY: Oh no, because if you draw from outside the members of the court you will have, undoubtedly, capable law judges, but you won't have men who have had experience in equity unless their practice has led along those lines.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: In other words, you can then get this so-called equity and law and miscellaneous man right from the Bar, assuming you pick a proper man ... Why shouldn't all of our judges of the high court be selected from the Bar, with well-rounded experience qualifying them for the highest court?

MR. GILHOOLY: Yes, but where you can have available men who have had special experience ...

MRS. GENE W. MILLER: Where equity decisions are written by members of the Court of Errors and Appeals who are not equity


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