N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 386


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

equal ability who only occasionally has such a question.

It's just exactly the same way as the physician who devotes his life to surgery; he is a very much more skillful surgeon than the general practitioner who may be just as able, but who has never performed a surgicial operation. And in the same way that the trust officer in the bank, if he is intelligent, can do that job much better than the man in charge of making loans can if occasionally he has to go into the trust department.

I might say that equity questions are all the time becoming more complicated; the principles are the same but they are progressively being applied to more complicated situations. I think there's more importance now in having a separate court of equity than there was many years ago when some states made the change.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: You mentioned an equitable issue arising in a law case, but you didn't mention a law issue arising in an equity case. Would you shift that legal issue over to the law court from the equity case?

MR. STRYKER: I would. I think, perhaps, that is not as important as the other. I think I would leave it as it is.

Law judges are more competent to conduct jury trials than the ordinary prosecutor. I'm not advocating retaining the Court of Chancery because I think the Vice-Chancellors are a superior race of men to the law judges. That isn't my view at all. My view is that when they devote their lives to the study and practice of equity, they are more competent to decide equity questions than the man who only occasionally has such questions. And I would apply that same view to the conduct of a jury trial involving a legal issue. The law judges are more competent to conduct that than the equity judges. My point is that the gain in joining the two courts is greatly over-balanced by the more efficient administration of justice under our present system in which we have separate law and equity courts.

MR. WALTER G. WINNE: Mr. Stryker, you gave an illustration today which is directly contrary to what Federal Judge William Smith told us yesterday. You said a man who started an action in the United States District Court on an equitable theory, whose bill was dismissed, had no right except to appeal to the Circuit Court of Appeals and then some years later go back and start his suit all over again in law. Judge Smith said categorically yesterday that in such a case he'd hold the matter for a brief period of time, not more than a month; the pleadings would be re-drawn, and the case would be continued before the same judge. Is that because the new federal rules having changed the situation since the case you spoke of, or do you agree with what Judge Smith said to be the law in the federal court?

MR. STRYKER: I'm not disagreeing with Judge Smith, but the


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