N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 444


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

United States Supreme Court has been able to do by a method that I don't entirely approve of.

MR. McGRATH: Would you give the highest court the discretionary power to hear cases even though they had not gone to this appellate division, as in a great public emergency?

GOVERNOR DRISCOLL: I would, Judge McGrath.

MR. McGRATH: I think that would help to fill the calendar.

MR. SOMMER: If you have a top court of seven and the administrative power in one of the judges of that court, the Chief Justice, your active court in the hearing of cases and deciding them would really be made up of six, wouldn't it, because a good part of the time of the Chief Justice would be taken up in this work of administration, notwithstanding the fact that he had administrative assistants? As I understand it, the Chancellor now devotes himself almost entirely to work of administration notwithstanding the fact that he has, as he said this morning, competent administrative assistants. I am just wondering whether, in your judgment, the time of the Chief Justice would primarily under the proposed system be given up to work of administration?

GOVERNOR DRISCOLL: I don't believe so, Dean Sommer. I think, given the proper administrative assistants, given authority to delegate the performance of detail functions and controlling in conjunction with his associates the rule-making authority, we could develop a system that would function not unlike the system that now prevails in the United States Supreme Court where some of our very best decisions are handed down by the Chief Justice.

MR. BROGAN: Governor, there is one thing which you said that wasn't clear to me. It was very desirable that there be uniformity of punishment for the same crime, but how could that be worked out in a integrated court any more than it can be worked out today?

GOVERNOR DRISCOLL: In my judgment it is a problem of administration, and I believe that with the integration of the courts, you would develop a greater sense of teamwork and team participation among the various judges trying criminal causes. And with greater authority vested in the Chief Justice, I assume that his procedure would be about as follows: he personally would call together all of the judges who are hearing criminal causes and, after reviewing traditional practices and procedure in this country and England, would, in combination with those judges, develop a formula that would be applicable within broad limits - it would have to be within broad limits, because cases do vary and individuals are different and prior records are different. Having developed these policies, he would then be in a position to delegate to one of his administrative assistants the task of cooperating with the trial judges in an effort to achieve reasonable uniformity. Very frankly,


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