N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 385


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

MR. STRYKER: I think he wouldn't. He wouldn't be intended to turn into an equity judge. The State Bar committee emphasizes the great importance of having equity cases decided by members of the equity division of the Supreme Court, and then they turn right around and say it's a great advantage to have equity questions, maybe of equal importance, decided by the law judge, simply because those equity questions arise in a law case. That's a line of reasoning that I can't see. It seems to me that it's just as important to have questions of equity jurisprudence arising in a law case decided by the equity judge, as it is to have the general run of equity cases decided by an equity judge. I doubt very much if the great majority of law judges would ever become good equity judges.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: The specific question was, I think, in reference to your remark that it takes many years of study and practice to make a good equity judge. Mrs. Miller wants to know how long - in other words, is it a year, two, three, or do you have any idea of just how long it would take?

MR. STRYKER: I'll do the best I can with that. In the case of some of our Vice-Chancellors, it hasn't taken them very long, but after they've been on the bench for many years they were much better equity judges than they were after they had been on for a year or two.

MR. SOMMER: Well, I think what Mrs. Miller had in mind was the statement made by you with respect to specialists. You say that an equity judge becomes a specialist in the work in equity. Now, a great many of the equity judges have been drawn from the law courts and have had a long experience in the law courts. I think her question was, how long would it be before they become specialists so that the litigants there have the benefit of this specialization.

MR. STRYKER: Well, if that is your question, Mrs. Miller, I would say that if the man who has been a law judge devotes his full time to equity questions - no longer a law judge, but he has become an equity judge - and is a man of ability, it might not take him very long to become a good equity judge. I have seen that happen - law judges have come to the Chancery bench, and some of them have become among the best of our Vice-Chancellors. But I don't think they ever would have become able equity judges if they had continued to spend most of their time on legal questions. It's a matter of gradual development ...

(Inaudible question by Mr. Sommer)

MR. STRYKER: But it's true, I assume, that that would be one of the imperfections in any system. None of us is perfect; no matter how hard we work, we sometimes make mistakes. But, what I'm trying to emphasize is that the man who devotes his life to equity is better qualified to determine questions of equity than the man of


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