N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 353


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

steadily climbed and although the general public, including most practicing lawyers, I imagine, were under the impression, under the strong impression, that the business of the Court of Chancery had likewise increased tremendously, it had, in fact, been cut in half.

MR. BROGAN: You have as a primary principle that these courts are too remote from those from whom they should not be remote, meaning, I daresay, the people. Would you have a judge amenable to the will of the people, to decide cases in a popular vein, or -

MR. KAPELSOHN: You mean, take a popular vote as to what the decision should be in the case?

MR. BROGAN: No, I don't mean that, but my idea was that the judge should be entirely objective, he should really have a bandage over his eyes. He should be a detached person. Your idea is directly contrary to that, if I understood it correctly.

MR. KAPELSOHN: In handling cases judges, we agree, should be objective, of course, and even in those communities where the office of the judge is an elective office, and the judges are constantly subjected to a vote of approval, in a sense, of their general conduct, as to continuing in office, even there I don't think that there has been any complaint made or heard that the judges have lost their objectivity for that reason.

MR. SOMMER: Has the C. I. O. taken any position as to the term of judges?

MR. KAPELSOHN: Yes, the C. I. O. position is that a judge should hold office for at least ten years.

MR. SOMMER: Has the C. I. O. taken any position on the question of life tenure pending good behavior?

MR. KAPELSOHN: The C. I. O. position is that a judge should not have life tenure merely by virtue of his first appointment. He should be subject to reappointment or re-selection from time to time, so that instead of sort of ignoring his conduct until something blatantly outrageous has come to light, you have an occasion, a periodic occasion, over long periods, for some sort of scrutiny of his behavior in his office.

MR. SMITH: How would you feel about it if there were provisions, Mr. Kapelsohn, whereby a judge might be removed for cause, incompetency, or misconduct, beyond his so-called good behavior period?

MR. KAPELSOHN: I think that such a provision is appropriate in any case, but it doesn't take the place of reviewing his designation after 10, 12 years, because that is something that isn't lightly done, and the actual act of removing a judge or any other public officer from his position during his term of office, is difficult to institute, and it should be difficult to institute. It doesn't take place even


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