N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 349


STATE OF NEW JERSEY CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF 1947
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
Wednesday, July 9, 1947 (Morning session)

presentation. I hope you will allow us the privilege of calling upon you again, should we find it necessary.

MR. KERNEY: I shall be very happy to be of help in any way I can.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: We have as our next speaker, Mr. Sol D. Kapelsohn, who is appearing in behalf of the C. I. O. Mr. Kapelsohn.

MR. SOL D. KAPELSOHN: Mr. Chairman, Mrs. Miller, and members of the Committee:

The State C. I. O. feels that the present court system is inadequate or so designed as not to afford the best possible judicial system and service to the public and to litigants in the State of New Jersey. There are several defects which the C. I. O. finds in the present set-up. One of these is an unwieldy Court of Errors and Appeals. Another is the overlapping of jurisdiction in several courts. Another is the separate system of the Court of Chancery. And another is the uncertainty of procedure and justice in the inferior courts, and particularly the inferior criminal courts.

We feel that all of our judges should be persons who devote their full time to their judicial duties and that they should have no other occupation.

We believe that the overlapping of functions in jurisdiction can be eliminated by a unified, integrated court system, and that the Constitution should so provide. There is no propriety, for example - certainly no efficiency - in judges of one court also sitting as judges in another court.

We believe that there is no need for three separate superior courts of civil jurisdiction in the various counties, such as we have now.

MR. BROGAN: You mean, the Common Pleas, Circuit and Supreme Courts?

MR. KAPELSOHN: That's right. We believe that there is no need for a separation in its complete set-up of the civil courts and the courts of equity. I don't believe there is another judicial officer in the country with the personal power of the Chancellor, or another judicial officer in the country so far removed from the people.

So far as concerns the separate Court of Chancery, and to the extent that I have been made aware of what has been said in favor of its retention, I have seen nothing argued for it which doesn't seem to me to have its roots, one way or another, in what you might call a vested or existing interest of some kind.

Probably the two court systems in the country having the largest volume of business are the federal courts and the New York State courts, and they both have experienced no difficulty in theory or in practice, particularly in practice, in having the same judicial officers sitting on cases both in law and equity. There is no such difference,


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