N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 433
labyrinth of the prerogative writs, but more mature students of government and citizens generally recognize that more basic issues are involved, including respect for the law, the republic, as well as, although frequently overlooked, the rights of litigants to a speedy, inexpensive, authoritative decision on disputed issues.
I have discussed the question of appointment because it has to do with the independence of the courts. I have discussed the question of form because of the need for flexibility and the elimination of the interminable appeals that presently harrass our lawyers and our litigants. I need only cite to this group two horrible examples. One is the procedure in workmen's compensation cases, and the other, the cases involving decedents' estates. No less than three appeals are presently possibly, each requiring a written opinion, etc.
I should like to conclude by discussing a little more than I have the question of administration. We have in New Jersey - and I say this not in criticism of the men involved - entirely too many part-time judges. First, we have part-time judges in the sense that we have judges who do not devote their full time to matters judicial. The law doesn't require them to do so, and, in some instances, the salary that is given them does not permit them to do so. Also, our Supreme Court Justices are part-time in the sense that they spend part of their time on the Supreme Court and part of their time on the Court of Errors and Appeals, and part of their time, presumably, worrying about activities in the various counties that have been assigned to them. It would be a great mistake not to eliminate the part-time feature of Jersey justice. Our judges should in every instance, in my judgment, devote full time to the job and should be paid accordingly, and they should be privileged to devote full time to the particular court to which they have been assigned, nominated or appointed.
Proper administration and proper regard for flexibility and simplicity would largely eliminate that difficult administrative problem, and it is a difficult administrative problem today, as evidenced by the fact that in a number of instances we have judges with comparatively small calendars while in other instances we have judges with staggering calendars. With limited authority on the part of the Chief Justice, there is a lag between the recognition of the need to assign a Circuit Court judge to a particular area and the actual assignment of that judge. May I give you a concrete illustration of what I have in mind. At my request the ever cooperative and always genial present Chief Justice of our Supreme Court assigned Circuit Court Joseph L. Smith to sit in Atlantic City this spring. It had been said that we needed an extra Circuit Court judge in that area. Judge Smith was in the Atlantic Circuit from May 2, 1947 until May 28, 1947, inclusive, during which time there
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