N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 536


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

the bar, which wasn't many years ago, this country was in the depths of the depression. Legislatures were meeting in every state to relieve people who were distressed by mortgage foreclosures. Statutes were passed giving owners of property relief. It took years before those statutes passed through the judicial process, and in many instances those statutes were declared unconstitutional. Where, but in New Jersey, was relief given to the people who were seeking, clamoring for relief from their legislatures? Where, but in New Jersey, was such relief obtained in a court without legislative aid? It was in the Court of Chancery. I venture to say it would not have been obtained there were it not for the fact that we had men who live in equity, think in terms of equity every day of their judicial careers. It was by judicial opinion coming from the Court of Chancery, coming from men who dealt with equity all the time, that owners of real estate in this State obtained relief. New York couldn't give it to them at first, because no court in New York was able to evolve the equitable theory that was evolved by our Vice-Chancellors, to give relief to the people who needed it - and that, sirs and lady, could only come from the court that was dealing and had personnel that were dealing day in and day out with matters that concern equity.

There is no human mind, possibly with the exception of brilliant men like Dean Pound and perhaps a few others, which can possibly sit down and in the span of a judicial career encompass, absorb, and understand the two systems that are so easily referred to as law on the one hand, and equity on the other. I know I've been trying to understand equity for over 15 years, and I still have a good deal to learn. Now, to expect the average mortal to be able to understand in the course of a judicial career, despite lack of previous experience, the full meaning of law, not only on the substantive side but also on the adjective and procedural side, and the full meaning of equity in those two aspects is more than we should expect. The only way to preserve this benefit that has come to this State is by keeping your personnel permanently attached to a court that administers equity or administers law with no shifting and no interchanging personnel from the others. The best way to accomplish that, it would seem to me, would be to retain the present Court of Chancery.

Now, it doesn't follow that because I am for the retention of the present Court of Chancery, that I also believe that it must be retained in its present form. To me as a practicing lawyer, it makes no difference at all whether the Governor, the Chancellor or the joint session of the Legislature appoints Vice-Chancellors, but the important thing is that there should be a recognition by this Committee of this Convention of those advantages that we have enjoyed, and an appreciation of the limitations on the human mind, whether


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