N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 491


STATE OF NEW JERSEY CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF 1947
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
Wednesday, July 30, 1947 (Morning session)

mittee on Law Reform of the New Jersey State Bar Association. I realize that a few weeks ago, at the kind invitation of this Committee, we submitted some ideas, and it is not my purpose today to repeat anything that I have said except as they come in incidentally. In fact, my purpose is to approach this draft which is before us this morning as representing the view of your Committee and direct my remarks merely to matters which I feel can improve it or improve its chances of general adoption. I shall refer specifically to sections and paragraphs, although some of the things that I refer to occur here and there throughout the Constitution. My plan is to refer to them where they first come up.

One thing first comes up in Section I, paragraph 1, and that is the question of nomenclature. I feel that a more appropriate name for the court of last resort is the Court of Appeals. That is what it is and that is all it is. Furthermore, the name General Court is an anomalous name. It is used for the Legislature in certain New England states, and I find myself unable to understand why the name of the Supreme Court has not been carried over for this court of great statewide jurisdiction. In New Jersey the Supreme Court has never been the court of last resort, and what we are in effect doing in this draft is to merge Chancery and the Prerogative Court into the Supreme Court, and it seems to me that would be a better name. I might say, furthermore, that of all the persons I have spoken to, no one has had a kind word for these two names. I can't imagine myself voting against a Constitution just because I don't like the names of the courts, but I think there is going to be a certain amount of opposition and I don't see why you shouldn't make friends instead of enemies among the conservative people who don't like the abolition of the Court of Chancery. Some of them, of course, are absolute diehards and they won't give in. I think you could get some of those persons on the side of a unified court if you didn't make it difficult for them by having unusual names.

The only other question of nomenclature that I am going to bring up is to suggest that instead of using the word Equity Division you use the word Chancery Division, for the same reason that I have just given, and also because we visualize that the rules to be adopted for the assignment of business to one division or the other will assign to the Equity or Chancery Division some matters that haven't been, it is true, equitable matters but should be put in that Division. It would therefore seem more appropriate to call it the Chancery Division instead of an Equity Division.

Now turning to Section III, paragraph 2 (reading):

"The General Court shall have original general jurisdiction throughout the State in all causes, excluding, unless otherwise provided by law, probate and criminal causes."

The part I criticize is the part "excluding, unless otherwise provided

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