N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 447

Thursday, July 24, 1947 (Morning session)

retention of a separate Court of Chancery is that we in New Jersey enjoy specialization in our judiciary. We find that system works very satisfactorily, and we think, of course, that it goes without saying that the burden is upon those who advocate a change to show that the change which is advocated would be in some way preferable to what we enjoy today. I can think of no more persuasive analogy to our system of specialization than that which exists in the field of medical science. I think medicine was quicker than the law to realize the importance of specialization, and I think that the strides which medicine has made under such a system might well arouse the envy of the law. We know that the day of the country doctor has passed. We know that we go to a surgeon for a major operation; we go to an eye, ear, nose and throat man, or to an anesthetist, or to a heart man for such an ailment, or to a diagnostician, and no one would suggest that the former general practitioner could perform the functions that are performed by these specialists wth the same degree of skill that is exhibited by those in the field of medical science who have so specialized.

In New Jersey law we enjoy practically the same kind of specialization. We have a judge known as a circuit judge who sits in the trial of jury cases. He sits there year in and year out and he has the rules of evidence and the law on negligence cases and accident cases at his finger tips. Then, we have another jurist who sits in the Orphans' Court and is familiar with the proceeedings having to do with the administration of estates; and in many of the counties, particularly in those communities of lesser population, he must also be a specialist in the criminal law, because he sits in both branches. Then, we have Supreme Court justices who deal with the intricate field of prerogative writs and acquire skill and experience in those fields that are far beyond what a jurist could acquire who had to try to be a jack-of-all-trades. And, finally, we have a Vice-Chancellor who sits in the equity court and throughout his life devotes himself to the important and intricate field of equity jurisprudence.

And so it is the feeling of our Association, made up, as it is, of men who are on the firing line and in the courts day after day, that New Jersey is particularly fortunate in having a legal system in which men are not shifted about from one field to another each day or each week, but that we have the benefit of jurists who specialize in their particular fields. That we would keep.

I said I wanted to try to meet some of the arguments, and I want to try to distinguish arguments from criticisms. The argument is made that we should abolish the Court of Chancery in New Jersey because it has been abolished in other states. I believe that there is no separate court except in Mississippi, Louisiana, Delaware, and New Jersey. I think that argument has no force at all. New Jersey

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