N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 43
can abolish the Common Pleas Court, the Court of Oyer and Terminer, the District Court, anything they want.
VICE-CHAIRMAN: Not the same way there, I gather, Mr. Dixon, if you are using the phrase "such inferior courts as the Legislature may establish from time to time, etc." That is federal phraseology, Mr. Dixon, and I don't think we want to spend too much time on that.
MR. McCARTER: This language referring to the inferior courts, I think, is taken verbatim from the present Constitution, the thought being that there is very little change that the Legislature need worry about.
Now, we come to the next paragraph - Section II.
(Reads Section II, paragraph 1 of draft)1 See page 39.
I think we are all agreed that the Court of Appeals should be composed of not more than seven men, and members of the court should have no other important duties. That doesn't mean that some of them can't have rule-making powers, and doesn't mean that some of them can't have administrative powers, but what we want to get away from is the situation that the Justices of the Supreme Court have found themselves in the past - they have duties in the Court of Errors and Appeals, they have duties in the Supreme Court, and they have duties in the Circuit Courts.
VICE-CHAIRMAN: Will there be a Chancellor under your set-up?
MR. McCARTER: Yes, there will be. I will pass that by for the moment. Paragraph 2 -
(Reads Section II, paragraph 2 of draft)2 See page 39.
That makes it possible, or rather should I say that makes it impossible, for it to be said that certain decisions of the Supreme Court are constitutionally unreviewable.
Now, a decision of the Supreme Court today, on the question of the weight of the evidence, that is, whether the weight of the evidence is in favor of the plaintiff or against the defendant, cannot be reviewed on appeal. What we want to do is to have the Legislature have power to give such jurisdiction and to take it away, but that must be by a general prospective act. In other words, they can't say that in the case of Jones v Smith there should be no right of appeal. They can't take away the rights of appeal that have vested.
If I recall my history correctly, shortly after the Civil War, when the radical Republicans were riding high, wide and handsome, they took away such right of appeal in a pending case.
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