N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 507

Wednesday, July 30, 1947 (Morning session)

salary for a judge sitting only part-time in a small county; whereas, in the first class counties the salary is $15,000. This is quite a spread. If you eliminate the, shall I say, bargain price of the county judge, you are going to replace him by a judge or justice, whichever he may be, of the so-called General Court, and that judge is certainly not going to work for $3,500 a year. He will probably be provided with a salary commensurate with the duties which are cast upon him, and I may say those duties are going to be pretty heavy under this Constitution. He will be entitled to be paid more. So the taxpayers, from a strictly financial standpoint, are not going to benefit by the abolition of the small county judges.

Now, with reference to Section I, paragraph 1, the language of this paragraph does not preserve the Common Pleas Court or the county court. It doesn't name the court, nor does it prevent the Legislature from abolishing the present Court of Common Pleas. Something has been said here this morning about the present right of the Legislature to abolish the existing Common Pleas Courts. Now, as recently as last night, I examined the pertinent section of our 1844 Constitution and I read two cases. One, I think, was Kinney v Huxford, and the other, which I can't recall, was an earlier case. There is an intimation in one of those cases, purely by way of dictum, that under the 1844 Constitution the Legislature may abolish Common Pleas Courts. I think there is a great deal of doubt as to whether or not they may so abolish the courts. But that is just in passing.

The Common Pleas Court, or whatever it is to be called - in this draft it is called the County Court - is made an inferior court of limited jurisdiction and is dependent for its continuity upon the Legislature. This has been my impression from what I have read of the comments made by delegates to this Convention, and I think by some members of this Committee. It has also been my impression that there was an intention to guarantee to the county just so much home rule as is represented by the reservation and continuity of the county courts, be they retained as the present Common Pleas Courts, or be they called County Courts. I think the several counties in the State, and the people of those counties, are entitled, under the principle of home rule, to have some county court system preserved and in fact guaranteed by the Constitution, in plain, explicit language.

I now come to Section II, paragraph 1. If what is here called the Supreme Court is to be the highest appellate court then, I think, with Mr. McCarter, that it should have a name which more adequately describes it. I see no reason why we cannot retain the name "Court of Errors and Appeals," or perhaps "Court of Appeals." "Supreme" is rather a poor choice, I think. There are

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