N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 44
(Reads Section IV, paragraphs 1, 2 and 3)1 See page 39.
I do not speak for the State Bar Association as a whole. There is at present a referendum as to whether there should be a separate Court of Chancery, or whether it should be this type of tribunal. That referendum is in the hands of Miss Dillon, the Secretary. She is going to mail them tomorrow and I have been instructed by the president of the Association, Mr. Starr, to ask this Committee's permission to have the returns brought in not later than July 14. We don't feel that we could give the members sufficient time in view of the 4th of July holiday to demand that the returns be in by the 4th, so I make that request and trust you will consider it. Returns that are not in the hands of the Secretary by July 10 will not be counted.
VICE-CHAIRMAN: Will you arrange to send that in to us?
MR. McCARTER: The Secretary of the Association will see that it gets to this Committee. I think every member should vote.2 The results of the New Jersey State Bar Association referendum appear in the Appendix to these Committee Proceedings.
Now we come to perhaps the most contentious thing in the whole draft, and that is what should be the great court of general jurisdiction, or should there be several of them? I am going to speak in general, rather than paragraph after paragraph. The jurisdiction now vested in the Supreme Court - that's top law jurisdiction in all its branches, and the Prerogative Court, which is probate jurisdiction, and the Court of Chancery, with equity jurisdiction in full - those three courts now between them contain every bit of judicial power that exists in the State of New Jersey. If we merge them into one court, that court will have every bit of judicial power and authority. The proponents of the separate Court of Chancery say that that is bad because it will take away the existing specialists, the men who have grown up and administered equity and whose administration in the past has been so successful that the New Jersey Equity Reports are now read from one end of the country to the other. Perhaps one of you may ask, "So what do you care whether Equity Reports are read in California, Florida or Maine?" The answer is because a high grade of equity is administered.
We feel that this plan, set out here in Section IV, insures equity specialists and prevents what I consider outrageous - something which is now found nowhere - of a man being sent from court to court. The plan as outlined here provides that judges shall definitely be assigned to the Chancery Division, subject to temporary assignment to the other Division.
If an equitable question comes up in an action at law, the judge trying that case will handle it. If, for example, an action is brought, say, on a policy of life insurance, and the insurance company has
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