N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 484


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

JUDGE MADDEN: I didn't mean by that, that our judiciary in the State did not have independence.

MR. PETERSON: No, I understand.

JUDGE MADDEN: But I say this - that the thought struck me when I read the compulsory retirement at 70, that we have many, many judges throughout the State and the country who are well above 70, who are alert, able and have over a long period of years acquired a tremendous wealth of legal thinking, wisdom and judgment. You can't buy that with dollars and cents. You can't replace it as long as they are able, as long as they are physically fit and mentally alert. I don't think it should be a hard and fast rule. I can't help but think of one of the finest judges we all know of in the country, Judge Parker down South. I think you will find he is over 70, and Judges Learned Hand and Augustus Hand of the New York Second Circuit Court of Appeals - I believe they are both over 70. Judge Learned Hand recently had a big write-up in Life magazine as being one of the leading justices in the country.

Now, in relation to this particular point of forcing retirement at 70, while I didn't come prepared to speak on that subject, I don't think it's a good thought. I wouldn't be in favor of it, although I don't personally hope to reach 70. I am afraid from a life standpoint it will be a lot sooner than that. But nevertheless, you can't just say to a man, stop at 70. He must forget his life work. He must go do something else or lie down and die. I think we are losing a lot of wealth.

MR. PETERSON: That may be, but I was stressing the life tenure, the security, and the pension feature, as being a step towards independence.

JUDGE MADDEN: I think, very frankly, that all judges need life tenure. In other words, you can't help but think of the proposition that a man is living on a salary, he has a wife and several children. He needs security. He comes up for appointment and for confirmation at the hands of the Senate. The State Senator of this particular county walks into court with some young lawyer. Now the young lawyer, or any lawyer, can't help but at least have in his mind wonderment whether or not he is walking into that courtroom on an equal footing with the State Senator. Very frankly, that should never even have to enter the mind of a litigant in the courtroom. Now I think that life tenure would remove that. It would certainly lend a real magnitude to the judiciary, if there is one.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Any further questions?

(Silence)

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much, Judge Madden... We will now call our next speaker, Mr. John H. Reiners, Jr.


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