N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 501

Wednesday, July 30, 1947 (Morning session)

sure, to a great deal of pressure you have been unable to go the whole way in giving us an integrated court system. I mean that, I think, in two ways. So far as Section III goes, I would advocate that all causes be put under the jurisdiction of the General Court. That would include and not exclude probate and criminal matters. I don't see any reason why they couldn't go under that part. That would include, I think, the county court for which provision has been made for a separate set-up. Other witnesses have already spoken on that and I don't suppose there is much need for laboring the point.

So far as paragraph 3 goes, I would advocate that it be amended to say that the General Court should be divided into, let's see, an Appellate Division and such other divisions as shall be established by law. The reason for that, I think, is that it's a little dangerous to tie the hands of the future by becoming too specific in a Constitution. I think you should allow for changes as experience would indicate. I have aimed, really, at this division into Law and Equity Divisions. I'm giving, I'm afraid, a viewpoint based not so much on experience as what I've learned in law school, which happened to be Yale, and I think I'll refer to that later on. Incidentally, in law school we had no study of equity as such. There was no equity course in the entire law school. We learned it as we got it, and I think that at law school, at least, you do learn a lot of equity. We learned it through the other divisions of legal knowledge presented, I think they would say, on a functional basis - based, perhaps we could say, on reason rather than on really just a matter of history, historical action or just historical growth. I think that is the only way you can find the split between law and equity.

After all, I suppose that any judge is supposed to hand out equity and justice. I think that the equity judges or the law judges do not have a corner on it. I don't see any reason why you shouldn't be able to go into a court and get full relief based on the facts, and not on the particular court into which you go.

It might be that you would want to have, in addition to the Appellate Division, a Civil Division, probably a Probate Division, a Criminal Division, and, I would say, a Domestic Relations Division as something which you would be able to lump together. The Advisory Masters are taken care of in the Schedule, I think a little awkwardly. You could lump them and Juvenile Courts and so forth based on what a sociologist would think is the best way to handle the thing, as separate divisions for these matters which are, of course, extremely important today and which deserve a great deal of attention.

Now, I refer again to this Section III. As I say, I think it's a little weak to provide for separate Law and Equity Divisions. Why not

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