N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 414

Thursday, July 10, 1947 (Morning session)

CHANCELLOR OLIPHANT: Well, if we go into that, how are you going to keep your separate -

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Chancellor, would you give the Legislature any power to change the jurisdiction of the court, or would you continue the present philosophy which is to the effect that the court's jurisdiction is unalterable.

CHANCELLOR OLIPHANT: Well, I don't know that I get your question exactly.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Well, specifically the Court of Chancery has certain inherent jurisdiction which cannot be enlarged or reduced by legislation.

MR. BROGAN: It can be enlarged.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Well, there's Heddon v Hand, which held that it couldn't be enlarged.

CHANCELLOR OLIPHANT: I think the majority of us think that it can be enlarged, but it can't be taken away or decreased.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Would you allow the Legislature any authority to modify it?

CHANCELLOR OLIPHANT: Well, I would allow - I think they ought to have what they have today.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Which would certainly be no jurisdiction to cut into the authority of the court.

Any further questions?

MRS. GENE W. MILLER: Chancellor, I am interested in how long it takes a law judge to become an equity judge.


CHANCELLOR OLIPHANT: Mrs. Miller, I think that all depends on the individual. A law judge, a man who has given his time to the law side and then goes into the equity branch, if he lives and breathes equity, it doesn't take him a long time to become a good equity judge.

MRS. MILLER: Have you written any opinions yet as an equity judge?



MR. DIXON: You have exactly that combination when you get to your last court.

CHANCELLOR OLIPHANT: Yes, but there's a great difference in the work in the nisi prius courts and on the appellate court. When you are upstairs, as we call it, you have time to consult briefs, you have time to do your digging, but you don't have in the nisi prius court.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Don't you have that in important equity cases - at nisi prius?

CHANCELLOR OLIPHANT: Oh, yes. That's one of your

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