N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 36

convenience of the litigants and also to bring about speedy justice. The clerks in these offices would be empowered to receive complaints and to admit to bail, as in the particular districts; and in order to get a mobile and efficient court system, the Chief Justice has the power to assign judges to any part of the State where he believes that a court session at that particular time is necessary.

The third major point is that of providing flexibility - the division of the general court into sections, departments and special tribunals, permits a specialization and an expansion and a contraction, which is not possible now. And while we would maintain a single administrative responsibility through this unified court system, we would be able to get specialization. You will find that we provide for special referees and aides to assist the courts in certain types of cases, as, for example, in matters involving juveniles, in tax matters, and even, perhaps, in certain domestic relations situations.

And fourth and last, we believe that this system sets up independence for the judiciary, and provides for more responsibility of the judges. That brings up other questions of the method of selection and tenure, retirement and removal, which we believe are most important, and you will note that our proposal on method of selection goes further than the present methods. We provide that there should be some sort of judicial council, as has been previously suggested this morning, consisting of representatives of the judiciary and of the lay public to advise with the Governor when he is to make a nomination, and they may submit a list to the Governor, from which the Governor will pick one name and then submit it to the Senate, the Senate having the final confirmation authority.

Now, we also provide, realizing that the Governor must be allowed some latitude in his selection, that if the Governor does not pick a name suggested by this judicial council, he must, when he submits his own selection to the Senate, give his reasons for his own individual selection.

Then, in the matter of tenure, we feel we have changed our position from several years ago when we approved of life tenure. We feel that now an immediate period of trial, a period of five years, is advisable, with a full appointment of, say, 12 years - the exact number of years is not too important - to follow, and reappointment permissible. A life tenure, as such, has its difficulties. For example, promotions are apt to become very much affected by a life tenure system. The opportunity for promotion is lessened by life tenure, and it may promote stagnation on the bench and lack of incentive for judges in the lower courts when there is such life tenure. However, if you provide in the system for a five-year trial period, reappointment for 12 years, you have then a service of 17 years. There can be and, of course, the custom is more and more to


Previous Page in Book ********* Table of Contents *********** Next Page in Book