N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 330


STATE OF NEW JERSEY CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF 1947
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
Tuesday, July 8, 1947 (Afternoon session)

practice, and when offered a judgeship refused the honor due to the fact that he was giving up a certainty for a non-certainty. Then again, some men have been honored by appointment who have given up a fine practice, only to find that when a change in political powers came about they were not reappointed, and for no reason relating to their legal ability, personal character, or conduct. Political reprisals by a succeeding political party or officers should not be the only reason for a refusal to reappoint a judge. This rule should apply to all courts of our State. Due protection should be provided. In order to avoid any further political complications, all judicial appointments should be made immediately when a vacancy occurs. They should at all times be made on a bona fide bipartisan basis.

I favor the election of all judges. It is my feeling that if the people vote for the Governor of the State, why should they not vote for the judges of the State? If we had elective judges, even if a political organization refused an endorsement to a judge who served with a good record, he would still have the right to run independently, based on his record and work on the bench. Under an elective system the people would be the sole and final judges of his qualifications and competency.

Suitable and adequate salary should be paid all our judges. Special consideration should be given to the living conditions of the period they serve and live in.

I would recommend that judges be appointed or elected for a term of ten years.

As to retirement, I believe a judge should be given the right to retire on his own election when he becomes 65 years of age, and when he becomes 70 years of age retirement should be made compulsory.

It is my recommendation that we establish a new Court of Pardons. This court should be made up of the six lay judges, with adequate salaries and with a term certain. They could consider not only cases of parole, but also act in an advisory capacity to the Governor in capital cases when called upon by the Governor. The Governor, being a very busy man with many other state matters, should have the services of such an advisory group of men of experience. Their advice need not be binding on the Governor if he does not wish to accept their findings. In this way there will be an established court separate from the present one. Under the present system, members of the Court of Errors and Appeals hear matters in the Court of Pardons which they had previously passed upon while sitting in the Court of Errors and Appeals. It is my opinion that the body should be a separate and independent court.

Transfer of cases from a court of law to the Court of Chancery, and vice versa, should be simplified.


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