N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 490

Wednesday, July 30, 1947 (Morning session)

minimum suggestions that our committee has made. We are here today in many ways in a congratulatory sense because we feel that the tentative draft which you have made meets minimum requirements for an infinitely improved court structure in New Jersey. Naturally, there are those who would prefer to see retained the present separated courts, but there are few, if any, laymen among supporters of separated courts because the public of New Jersey - certainly this considerable section of the public represented by our committee - is well aware that separated courts as we now have them constitute a delay and expense in the dispensation of justice. We, therefore, are delighted and happy that you have seen fit to integrate the top courts of the State. We are somewhat regretful that integration couldn't go further and include all of the county courts, but we appreciate the argument of those who feel that in criminal and probate jurisdiction there should be local justice given.

There is one item for change which I would like to suggest to the Committee. In the first paragraph of the Schedule in your draft you give the Governor the authority to appoint the new Supreme Court, which shall serve during good behavior. That means a lifetime appointment, and you put all the judges in the present court into the General Court for the duration of their present terms. There is bound to be criticism, whether it is wisely made or not, of the appointment of the top court by the Governor for life. It means that one man has the full appointive power of our top court. That will be subject to criticism and, as I say, we have no feeling whether it is right or wrong. We would like to see that criticism allayed, and suggest that when the Governor makes the original appointments to the new Supreme Court, those appointments be for the duration of the present terms of his appointees, so that while the Governor, since someone must do it of course, must select the new Supreme Court from the present judges, his successor or successors will have the opportunity for reappointment which then shall be for life. The full appointive power of the new court to serve as a lifetime court will then not rest in the hands of any one man. I think by the adoption of this suggestion you would allay the kind of criticism which might properly or improperly be made against your draft.

Our committee is most of all anxious to thank you for what we feel is a very considerable public service.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Any questions by any members of the Committee?


VICE-CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much, Mr. Kerney.

Mr. McCarter, we will hear you now.

MR. GEORGE W. C. McCARTER: I am chairman of the Com-

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