N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 453


STATE OF NEW JERSEY CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF 1947
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
Thursday, July 24, 1947 (Morning session)

like to have it back. One thing I forgot to mention before: we have another member of our committee here I would like to have you hear because he is also a member of the New York Bar. Now, I believe it to be a fact and I know that in New York equity is administered by the Supreme Court justices who perform in other respects the same functions as our Circuit Court judges. I have made inquiry about this from very reputable firms. Those judges sit nine of their ten months as law judges, just like judges in your court house hearing jury cases. In the tenth month they are assigned to equity. Now, you and I know, without bringing in any support, that a man whose mind has been functioning in one field of the law and who gets up in the morning and says, "This day I am going to be an equity judge," that the result, as you might expect, is this: In New York, as I found it, reputable firms downtown have told me that they are so careful and they have so little confidence in the ability of the average Supreme Court justice to administer equity that they wait until some three or four of the 20 to 25 Supreme Court justices in the five boroughs come into the equity court and then under a gentlemen's agreement they present their equity cases. That's a sorry picture for the Empire State, isn't it? That is what resulted because New York has abandoned the policy of having men who could administer these intricate problems, which represent the essence, in our opinion, of the law by having men who sit down at the early age of 40, perhaps, and live with those problems and who feel that their intellects are devoted to it until they die. Does that answer your question?

MR. PETERSON: Yes, sir. Another one you bring out is that in our present system of jurisprudence, the appeals from equity are determined entirely by law judges and their word is the last word.

MR. KREMER: Well, my answer to that is this: I am speaking, when I speak of equity jurisprudence, primarily of the original jurisprudence. I am thinking of the man who gets his leg broken and goes before a judge and jury. It is vital to him that that Circuit Court judge know the rules of law. When a man goes into an equity court, a court of original jurisdiction, it is vital to him that that equity judge know the rules of equity and know equity. Now then, the decision of either of those courts may be passed upon by an appellate court. When you get to the higher court you find a fine type of intellect. I think that the Chancellors we have had exhibit that. But the important thing, more important than who should pass upon the decisions of the equity jurist, is what kind of a man shall there be and what type of intellect shall there be in the original instance?

MR. PETERSON: Now, what I would like to ask you, sir, is how your bar association, or you individually, came to the conclu-


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