N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 271
to make the court of impeachment something other than a purely political court, by putting members of the Court of Appeals on it. Under our present set-up, with a large quota of appeals it might not be satisfactory. We have followed the New York method of putting in members of the highest court as members of the court of impeachment. We have also suggested a proviso, however - to preserve some semblance of the present set-up - that the two-thirds who are required for conviction must consist of at least 14 Senators, so that the present set-up whereby 14 out of 21 Senators are required for conviction and impeachment would not be disturbed.
I don't know if there is anything else that I should touch on or not.
VICE-CHAIRMAN: What has the New York experience been with respect to the court of impeachment? What impeachment cases have they had that you recall?
MR. WURTS: Well, the last one that they had, Mr. Jacobs, that I recall, was the impeachment of Governor William Sulzer, and that was a long time ago. I am glad to say that I don't think that court has ever convened since. And before that they had a terrible job when they assembled that court, to get precedents for it, because there were no rules and they had to go far and wide. They had to go to the English state trials for rules. As I recall, the result of that trial was that the governor was ousted, and the court thought it was necessary to do that because the vote was unanimous.
They did have an impeachment of a state senator, I believe, a few years before that, but I don't remember what happened.
MR. WAYNE D. McMURRAY: Mr. Wurts, this recommendation regarding the County Courts going into the Constitution is one we haven't heard a great deal about. Very few of the people who have appeared before us have made such a recommendation. Do you think it a wise thing to make the County Courts constitutional courts?
MR. WURTS: I think, Mr. McMurray, that the principle of home rule would best be satisfied by putting the County Courts in the Constitution, so that people of a particular county might always be assured of local justice. We have not gone as far as some have in freezing into the Constitution the qualifications of the members of that court - that they must be residents of that county - but I assume that that will be done by legislation. And I think you will find that the sentiment, particularly in the rural counties, is for a local, county court close to the people. The sentiment is overwhelming.
MR. McMURRAY: Inasmuch as we haven't heard too much about whether that did represent an overwhelming sentiment, I
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