N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 319

Tuesday, July 8, 1947 (Afternoon session)

Congress, but on a different scale. It is geographic. We have in our small states, I think, the very same situation. A man may come from an agricultural county, and he has a particular interest in preserving some particular law, or some other thing. And you will find the representative from an industrial county is equally interested in preserving something else. So I think it is always present. I mean, I don't believe you can possible eliminate it, because you will have this also to meet. This document will ultimately be presented to the electorate.

MR. PETERSON: In your federal system, if I am correct, you have the House Judiciary Committee, you have the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the ranking members are members of long standing, irrespective of party affiliation.

JUDGE SMITH: You are right.

MR. PETERSON: They are the backbone of the committees.

JUDGE SMITH: That's right.

MR. PETERSON: Of course, one of the remedies I have in mind is a longer term for our legislators, which would accomplish a little bit more toward the end we are looking for. Here you have a turn-over in the Legislature that you don't have in the Congress, because after all, to upset the Senate it takes three or four sets of elections to elect new Senators and Congressmen, and no matter what happens, no matter what political upset happens, there is always this salvage, some of the brains of the other party.

JUDGE SMITH: You are seeking a remedy within the Constitution. To every evil that may present itself, every remedy can't be within the Constitution. Now, without probably defeating the very purpose of the Constitution, a Constitution, in my judgment as a lawyer, should be limited to a statement of basic principles, by which the legislative branch, the judicial branch and the executive branch of the government are to be guided, and nothing more. When you go beyond that you may expose to defeat the very changes that you seek to make. For example, if you should embrace within the judicial amendments a fixed provision that does not meet with the approval of certain groups, which may happen, those groups will vote against it. Why? Because they are not guided by the over-all picture, but by their particular interest in a particular thing in the Constitution.

MR. PETERSON: I subscribe to that, because after all, it is toward simplicity of structure that we are striving. Yet, all the bar association representatives who have appeared here - and all are experts - have given us proposed changes which are much longer than the present Constitution. That is the considered judgment of the various representatives who have appeared here and in the briefs submitted by them, so I'm trying to convince myself from

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