N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 383
cellors might have power to make decrees instead of only advising them.
Now, there's been some discussion about appointments. We want an able, independent, courageous man as Chancellor, and if we haven't, we should get him. Of course, I am not speaking of the present Chancellor. We have just that kind of a Chancellor now. But, speaking of the future, if we have an able, courageous, independent man as Chancellor, then I can think of no better method for the appointment of Vice-Chancellors than the present method. The Chancellor knows much more about the members of the bar than any Governor could know. He knows about their ability, their character, their fitness for judicial position. The Chancellor would be less subject to be - I am talking about what would be possible - to be swayed by considerations of partisan politics than the Governor would. I'm not dealing with personalities; I'm not dealing with incumbents, but with the office. Everybody knows that our Governors are always closely allied with partisan politics. If they weren't, they wouldn't be Governors. That's just the way we have our Governors, and I'm not criticizing. Neither am I criticizing the appointment of active politicians to the bench, if those active politicians are otherwise qualified. The point I am making is that the kind of a Chancellor whom I have described is much less likely to be swayed by purely partisan politics than the Governor would be, and is much more competent to make appointments of Chancery judges. I think that under our present system we have - and if you go back over the years and consider to the present time, you will find that we have always had, and I say this advisedly - men on our Chancery bench of great ability, men who have done a good job. I know some of the members of the Chancery bench have been criticized; I don't suppose there is any public officer who hasn't. I don't say that everything that they have done has been perfect, but I do say that our Chancery decisions evidence knowledge of equity principles, and a desire and ability to do the right thing in making decisions.
I want to thank you gentlemen for listening to me, and I should be very happy to attempt to answer any questions which you may wish to ask.
VICE-CHAIRMAN: On you last point, would you recommend that the Chief Justice have the power to appoint the Associate Justices?
MR. STRYKER: I think I would not, Mr. Chairman. My view on that is just this. We have for many years had this method of appointment. I think, in the main, with, of course, some exceptions - there are always some exceptions - it has worked out very well. I think there is a difference between the appointment of Vice-Chan-
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