N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 494


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

Of course, we all know the prerogative writ situation is in an awful mess today, but I respectfully submit that it should not be abolished. I think there are two reasons for that. In the first place, we are going very far in abolishing writs that have been in existence time out of mind, since before the settlement of New Jersey. I think what should be here instead should be a provision plainly, and in so many words, authorizing the Legislature, the rules of the court, or both of them, to provide for the relief accorded heretofore under the prerogative writs. Whether they should in every case be as of right doesn't seem so clear to me. Frequently proceedings on prerogative writs are to review municipal bodies or other public bodies. A review as of right might hold up and delay important public action because even though the attack is not a stay, nevertheless the mere fact that there is an attack sometimes has the holding effect. I think the Committee should go very slowly in putting in the Constitution, beyond the reach of legislative change, a provision making every public body subject to review as of right.

Then we come to Section V, paragraph 3 - that is the question of the retirement age. I respectfully submit that 70 years is exactly five years too young. Seventy-five is young enough. When I look at the judges on the bench today who under this would be thrown out in the near future, I am horrified. When I think of some of our great judges in the past who were doing excellent work when over 75, I think we should not tie our hands and deprive ourselves of the services of men of that calibre now and in the future, particularly in view of the excellent provisions for retirement for incapacitation in paragraph 5 of the same Section.

Turning to paragraph 4 of Section V, the last sentence (reading):

"The judges of the General Court shall also be subject to removal from office by the Supreme Court for such causes and in such manner as shall be provided by law."

I submit that that should be changed to permit the judges of the General Court and also of lower courts to be tried before the Supreme Court on the issue of good behavior and not for "such causes and in such manner as shall be provided by law." That would permit the statute to have a judge thrown out if he went to a certain church or voted a certain ticket. I submit that the removal should be limited to good behavior, particularly in view of the next paragraph, 5, which deals with incapacitation.

Next in Section VI, paragraph 1, it says the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall appoint an Administrative Director to serve at his pleasure. I question the desirability of putting the Administrative Director in the Constitution. I should think the Chief Justice would want to act primarily through the presiding judges of the Divisions of the General Court. If the Administrative Director is put in the Constitution, he might get, shall I say, delusions of


Previous Page in Book ********* Table of Contents *********** Next Page in Book