N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 306

Tuesday, July 8, 1947 (Morning session)

would be selected, or someone else, and they too would be drawn from the same sphere, either a Republican or Democratic group, depending upon the administration in power. And they make the recommendation, so what inherent danger is there in permitting the appointive power to remain where it is - in the Governor, with the advice of the Senate - because at least they are the elected representatives of the people and it is to be assumed that they will exercise their prerogatives conscientiously and with the people in mind? The fact that they don't do it depends upon the person, and whether it's the commission or the Governor or a Senate, its efficiency doesn't depend upon anything but the person in office. And that's true of a commission. The corruption, if any exists, would likewise depend upon the personnel - the Governor, the Senate, or a commission. So there is no magic in the method of appointment, and at least you will have in the Governor and the Senate elected representatives who are at least responsible to the people. And when the people become dissatisfied with appointees, the people can change the men who made the appointments, because therein lies the responsibility.

MR. DIXON: Can you offer a suggestion for taking care of a man who becomes either mentally or physically disabled?

JUDGE SMITH: Yes, that's easily answered, too, because once it's determined that he is incompetent mentally - I don't mean lack of knowledge, because some of us lack that when appointed, but mentally incompetent - if he realizes it himself, he can be retired. If he doesn't realize it himself, there again the power would rest - suppose your highest court is your Supreme Court; I don't know what you have in mind - why not upon the recommendation of the physicians appointed by the court to determine that he is mentally incompetent? He could be retired without embarrassment to himself.

MR. SMITH: What is the system in the federal court in that regard?

JUDGE SMITH: We can retire voluntarily, as you know, at 70 - not many of us make it - we retire at full pay at 70. A physical disability after ten years of service likewise entitles us to full pay. If there is physical disability after five years of service, which doesn't occur often - in fact, there's only one that I know of - the judge retires at half pay.

Now, there again, I don't know that the occasion has ever arisen that anyone has been requested to retire because of a mental disability. It can be handled. I don't think it presents any practical problem, because very often the man himself may be the last to realize he has reached that stage where he ought to retire, but his friends will know it, or the members of his family will know it, and he can be prevailed upon to ask for retirement. Of course,

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