N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 337

Tuesday, July 8, 1947 (Afternoon session)

years, and then come and give a report to the people of what he has done. A President has to do it every four years, and he has the destiny of the nation in his hands. So why shouldn't a judicial officer be willing to stand up and give a report to the people and be voted one way or another.

JUDGE SMITH: You will pardon me if I make a personal observation on a state in which they have an elective system for the judiciary - coming back to what Dean Ormsby said about a bi-partisan bench, which, incidentally, in this state does not exist. Here in the State of New Jersey, where we have the appointive system, we have successfully maintained a bi-partisan bench in our high and low state courts. I am speaking, however, of Pennsylvania, in which they do have an elective system. I sat in Pennsylvania for two years and I observed a judicial election and, I agree with Mr. Winne, that there is nothing more repulsive to me than to see a candidate for the highest office take a political platform with men running for county commissioner and indulge in the lowest kind of campaign oratory that I have ever witnessed. It was hardly consistent with the office that the man sought. Incidentally, Judge Jones was elected. They call it a judicial preference, to avoid calling it an election. Incidentally, when Judge Jones was elected to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, he was the first Democrat elected under the elective system in 79 years. In the State of Pennsylvania they also have had some sad experiences in some counties, with several of which I became personally familiar, in which the political leader was actually judge of the county court under the elective system.

I think all that is hardly consistent with at least the ideas we have maintained in the State of New Jersey as to the dignity and position of the office of judge. I think it would be difficult to sell that idea of an elective system to the people of the State of New Jersey.

MR. SOMMER: I am wondering whether Judge Smith's statement might not be taken into account in connection with the provisions of the 1944 Constitution, to the effect that a judge shall not be engaged in any gainful employment. The question might also be whether being political head of a party is or was gainful employment in the county.

JUDGE SMITH: In that judge's case, it was.

MR. ORMSBY: On the other hand, there are as many instances that we can point out that would counteract the instance cited by Judge Smith, and it wouldn't prove anything at all.

JUDGE SMITH: Exceptions do not prove anything at all, because they are exceptions and do not fall in the usual pattern. They are exceptions to the general rules.

MR. PETERSON: I am of the opinion that we would get better

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