N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 345

Wednesday, July 9, 1947 (Morning session)

whether they are given that responsibility directly, or whether it remains with the Governor, is not too important. The point is that the work is their responsibility.

MR. HENRY W. PETERSON: Do you have any comment with respect to the appointment of judges - in whose hands should it be? Should it be in the Legislature or in the Governor?

MR. KERNEY: I prefer that all judges should be appointed by the Governor. At least, I have a strong feeling that all judges should be appointed by the Governor, which is contrary to the present procedure, particularly in the Chancery Court. I have very much an open mind on the so-called Missouri Plan. I have come to know their conclusions, and I see considerable merit in them, particularly with regard to advising the governor as to the men from among whom he should make his appointment.

MR. SOMMER: Your suggestion is that the Governor shall have that power, but limited?

MR. KERNEY: That is true. A group of three or five would be designated, from whom one is to be named. There is a limitation there. It does serve, however, a real purpose, in that you have a public body which would determine the qualifications of an individual prior to appointment. There is real merit to that.

MR. BROGAN: Isn't that open to objection, that the individuals who would comprise this board would also be subject to influence - not necessarily political influence?

MR. KERNEY: That is the main objection.

MR. BROGAN: As against that, do you not believe generally in the centralization of responsibility for the appointment of the judiciary?

MR. KERNEY: I do. I would prefer, I think, from the little I have read and seen, and from the correspondence I have had with newspapermen in Missouri, I would favor the idea of the Missouri Plan as it works in that state. In this respect, I might also add that I would prefer, I think - if the Missouri Plan is considered - to use a compromise of it, to make the Chancellor as the advisor, who would advise with the Governor on judicial appointments.

MR. BROGAN: Do you think that would prove satisfactory?

MR. KERNEY: I don't know. That is why I said my mind is open on that.

MR. SMITH: One of the obvious advantages of a board and recommendations on appointments to the Governor would be that the Governor would be relieved of pressure upon him individually, since the sole responsibility would not reside with him.


MR. SMITH: The Governor, under certain circumstances, could say, "I'm sorry, but I can't make a decision now. I must wait for

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