N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 511


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

sion, is the fact that he presides over and controls and makes the rules for all the present probate courts. Now, if this duty is to be given to the new Supreme Court, doesn't it follow that its members will be overloaded and that you are laying the groundwork for some more sham solicitude in the future directed to further revision of the already revised court system? Where is it all going to end?

As a practicing lawyer I have very strong objections to the final sentence of paragraph 3, of Section II, which concerns the control over the admission to practice. It seems to me that this is too indefinite. I want to know, and I think the bar generally, and in its own interests, should want to know, whether the new high court, if created, will not have the power or authority to prescribe that I, along with the majority of other lawyers, who have already been compelled to take two examinations in order to practice in the highest court of this State - a condition which doesn't obtain in any other state - would have to take a third examination before we can prosecute an appeal in that court? I don't think anybody on this Committee or in the Convention can truly guarantee to me, for example, that I won't be required to take another examination. I think this should be laid at rest. In the Schedule the lawyers of New Jersey are entitled to know what their status is going to be under the new court system.

Section III, paragraph 2: This paragraph, in combination with paragraph 4 of the Schedule, takes away all jurisdiction over contract and tort cases presently in the Common Pleas or the heretofore county courts, and puts them into the General Court. Now, the General Court, according to the Schedule, will also have all the civil business which is now before the present Supreme and Circuit Courts. It's going to have all the equity or Chancery practice; it's going to have all the probate practice now in the Prerogative Court. What is this going to do to the calendar situation? Today the calendar situation on the law side, as the lawyers know, in the greater part of the State is deplorable. Now, if you are going to add all this present jurisdiction of the Common Pleas Court in civil matters to the already overburdened calendar in the present Supreme and Circuit Courts, you are going to have chaos unless, of course, you appoint more judges to the General Court than you now have.

Where is the advantage of such a reconstruction? We must remember that the more judges, the more expense for clerks and other attaches. Where are they going to hold court? The lawyers here know that the present courthouses are already too small for the existing courts. Where, as a matter of convenience, are these judges going to sit, or are they going to have to split up the court room and now have a day shift and a night shift?


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