N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 384

Wednesday, July 9, 1947 (Afternoon session)

cellors and the appointment of Supreme Court Justices. The Vice-Chancellors control a great deal of what might be regarded - it should never be so - as patronage. They appoint receivers; they have something to say about the receiver's counsel; they appoint trustees; they make substantial allowances. Now, all of that would make them more subject to the influence of partisan politics than a Justice of the Supreme Court who doesn't have that kind of patronage - if you call it patronage; I think it shouldn't be patronage. I think that a method of appointment of Vice-Chancellors which is just as far away from the control of partisan politics as possible, is a good method. I think there isn't the same necessity for the appointment of Supreme Court Justices by the Chief Justice.

My whole view in regard to these constitutional questions is that we should change, recommend a change, in every respect where it is reasonably certain that there'll be improvement; that we should not make a change merely for the sake of change; that before any change is made there should be a sound, substantial reason for believing that the public - and I may say with regard to the courts, especially the litigants - will be benefitted by the change. Therefore, I say that I think that the method of appointing Vice-Chancellors is the best that can be devised - I think it is, I have given my reasons for thinking so - because I feel it is as far removed as it can be from political control. And I would not extend that to the appointment of Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, simply because I think that method has worked very well in our State, and that there is no occasion for changes.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Any questions of Mr. Stryker?

MRS. GENE W. MILLER: Mr. Stryker, how long do you think it takes for a law judge to become a good equity judge?

MR. STRYKER: I think that would, of course, depend on the individual. I think that if he were spending five days a week in the trial of issues of fact and hearing motions on the sixth day of the week, unless he overworked himself, he might never become a good equity judge. That is, I don't say it would be impossible; I think there are some men who would be very conscientious, work very hard, and would probably be as capable as Vice-Chancellors in deciding these questions of equity. I don't doubt that. But my point is that human nature being what it is, a good many of them probably wouldn't work very hard to discharge the extra burden; that you will get a better administration of justice, better decision of equity cases, by having the judge devote his life to that rather than putting that burden on the law judge.

MRS. MILLER: Of course, it might be then that a law judge wouldn't ever turn into an equity judge and would be stuck there, wouldn't he?

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