N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 455


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

resentative of the Ocean County Bar Association and the Ocean County Lawyers' Club, which held a joint meeting on July 10 to consider and discuss the questions relating to the proposed Judicial Article of the proposed Constitution.

At that meeting the two associations were unanimous in the opinion that we ought to have an independent Court of Appeals in this State in place of the present Court of Errors and Appeals, and that there should be adequate representation on that independent Court of Appeals, not only of the law bench but also the Chancery bench. Under the present system, as you know, the Chancellor is disqualified while sitting in the Court of Errors and Appeals whenever a case comes up from Chancery, so that Chancery appeals, in this State, are passed upon by the law judges and lay judges, with no representation whatever from the Chancery bench. We feel, therefore, that in this independent Court of Appeals the Chancery bench should be adequately represented as well as the law bench.

To go, perhaps, from the sublime to the ridiculous, we were also unanimously of the opinion that the justices of the peace ought to cease to be constitutional courts and that all references to the justices of the peace or justices' courts should be omitted from the new Constitution, and that that matter should be left to be dealt with by the Legislature.

Our group was also of the opinion that we ought to retain, under whatever name you may choose, a county court in each of the counties of this State, presided over by a local resident judge or judges, rather than to throw the jurisdiction of the county courts, as presently constituted, into the state-wide court which I believe is supposed to be called the Superior Court.

Finally, our body considered the question of the abolition or retention of the Court of Chancery, and a resolution was adopted unanimously in favor of the retention of the Court of Chancery as presently constituted. I believe a certified copy of that resolution was forwarded to each member of that Committee.1 The text of this resolution appears in the Appendix to these Committee Proceedings.

At that joint meeting there were present more than 75 per cent of the practicing lawyers of Ocean County.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: How many would that be in number?

MR. EWART: There were 30-odd men present; there are something like 40 practicing lawyers in Ocean County, and there were over 30 present at the meeting. I think it is remarkable to say that the resolution for the retention of the Court of Chancery as presently constituted, was adopted without a dissenting vote. The reasons why we think a Court of Chancery such as presently constituted should be retained in the new Constitution, if I attempted


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