N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 415


STATE OF NEW JERSEY CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF 1947
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
Thursday, July 10, 1947 (Morning session)

difficulties that you get into in a case involving law and equity. If the law end of it has to go to the jury, and the equity end of it might take several months to decide, then the work of the jury might have been for naught.

MR. DIXON: In other words, give a man in the court of last resort enough time, although he may be an expert law judge, he may still be able to pass proper opinion on equity cases if he is given time.

CHANCELLOR OLIPHANT: Well, as the former Chief Justice knows, when you have been on the Court of Errors and Appeals for a time, you get to know something about equity. At least I hope we do.

(Laughter)

I know the Chief Justice did.

MR. FRANK H. SOMMER: That works the other way around, too, doesn't it?

CHANCELLOR OLIPHANT: No question about that.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Anything further?

Thank you very much, Chancellor. We appreciate your coming.

Each of you has presumably read the February 1947, issue of the Harvard Law Review, and I need do nothing more than repeat the conclusion of Mr. Burlingham's article: "Judge Hand should have been on the Supreme Court of the United States years ago, but the stars in their courses fought against him. After thirty-seven years on the bench, he is now unquestionably first among American judges." I don't think any member of the bar will disagree with that.

It is a pleasure to present to you Judge Hand, Judge of the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

MR. BROGAN: We are very happy to have you, Judge.

JUDGE LEARNED HAND: Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen:

Mr. McManus, when he asked me if I would come here, said that he thought you might like to hear from me, and really, all that I think I am qualified to tell you is my own experience.

Now, for more years than I like to look back on - 38 as a federal judge - as you have undoubtedly heard, and as you lawyers of course knew before, on this particular question the federal system from the very outset has had no distinction between equity and law, as far as concerns judges. We did have, until 1913, an absolute and very archaic distinction in procedure.

I came on the bench as a district judge in 1909, and until 1913, as I say, we were working under the old system and it was, as far as I know - I am not an historical scholar, but as far as I know - it was practically unmodified. The testimony was all taken out of


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