N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 325

Tuesday, July 8, 1947 (Afternoon session)

JUDGE SMITH: If you address it to me personally, I say no. And I say it with all modesty. I may, as I said before, have a more difficult research job, but I - that's part of my job. I have to expect it. This morning they pointed out that the Chief Justice had written five opinions reversing a Vice-Chancellor. Let me say that that is no criterion, even though it may have been Chief Justice Brogan, because very often those things are matters of opinion.

MR. McGRATH: Don't you agree that a judge should not necessarily be a walking encyclopedia on all phases of litigation that might come into a court? A judge is a conscientious man who informs himself of the law by research, by investigating books, and by reading briefs. Isn't that true?

JUDGE SMITH: If he pretends to be a walking encyclopedia, he's a fool.

MR. McGRATH: In other words, he is not an expert on everything, but he must make himself an expert when a certain matter comes before him?

JUDGE SMITH: That's true.

MR. McGRATH: In other words, if a patent case comes before you now, and you don't get another one until ten years from now, you would investigate the particular phase of the patent law before you, but you would not become an expert on that?

JUDGE SMITH: I think it is generally recognized among patent attorneys that some are more proficient in the handling of patent cases than are others. I think you may just as well be confronted with the very practical problem that arises. I think -

MR. McGRATH: You can keep yourself informed of the law by reading books, which after all, are the tools of every judge and lawyer.

JUDGE SMITH: There is this that occurs in the court exercising a wide jurisdiction - that among the lawyers, at least, the judges become known for some particular proficiency or lack, where there are a number of judges sitting. Lawyers know that by an application for an adjournment they come up on another man's calendar; they may avoid the judge. But I don't know what cure there is, except a judge being so severe as to deny an adjournment, and that, of course, may also affect the administration of justice, because some applications for adjournment are justly made. There are others that may come because the lawyers would rather have their cases tried before one man than another. That will arise in some places, I suppose.

MR. DIXON: I had quite a little experience in patent and incidental cases in courts, in connection with my engineering work, and I would like to say that I have been absolutely amazed to see the grasp of some judges of the most intricate and most complicated

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