N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 389


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

meeting on the petition of ten members of the bar. Pursuant to this provision, a further meeting was held on July 2, in connection with which all members of the Association were given notice that at this special meeting a vote would be taken to reconsider the resolution which had been adopted on June 24. At the meeting held on July 2 a motion was made to reconsider the resolution previously adopted, on the ground, among others, that the members of the Association had not been duly notified of the proposed action to be taken on June 24. At the meeting on July 2 a full and complete discussion was had on the merits of the resolution which I have just submitted, and by a vote of 11 to 139 the motion for reconsideration was lost.

I realize that this very Committee has heard many arguments pro and con the retention of the Court of Chancery.

After listening to Mr. Stryker, I will make only one or two remarks which have occurred to me through some conversations among lawyers in our own Bar Association in Trenton. Mr. Stryker advocates the appointment of the Vice-Chancellors by the Chancellor himself, and he gave reasons therefor. If I may be permitted, I would give another reason. It seems to me, in my short practice, to be very important. The Court of Chancery, the Chancery judges, are the disposers of law and fact. In the law courts, on the law side, nisi prius, the jury is the last word. As a result, the law judges' work, while burdensome, is more or less standardized. In Chancery, the results of nisi prius hearings are evidenced by the shelves full of Vice-Chancellors' opinions which we all have in our offices. That being the case, we feel that there should be a control of those Vice-Chancellors - there are ten of them now - and there has been that control in the past - to the end that there are not many diversified opinions, policies and administration in that court.

A striking example of what might occur in New Jersey if the Chancellor did not have that control which I mentioned of his Vice-Chancellors, by reason of appointment beholden to him, is found, of course, in our Federal Supplement, our federal reports. As Mr. Stryker spoke about the federal court being a forum which catches any fish, it is true that a large part of the certioraris to the Supreme Court of the United States are based upon diversified opinions in our districts and circuits. I venture to say that in our courts that has very rarely occurred; I don't know of any particular case where that has occurred by reason of diversified opinions in our Court of Chancery. That, I think, is quite an important point, and I wish to emphasize it.

Certain other plans presented previous to the one which Mr. Stryker has presented, provide for a law and Chancery division in nisi prius. But I believe that most all those plans suggest special judges in Chancery and special judges in law. The criticism of our


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