N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 542


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

them consideration enough to discuss them. I have been busy with the business of the Rights Committee for the entire session of the Convention to date. But this morning I left a message with you. I note that one of your problems which you think you have solved is the fixing of the date in life when members of the judiciary will have to retire to privacy, and you fixed the age, I believe, at 70.

Not expecting to have the pleasure of speaking here, I left a memorandum here this morning saying that I thought that was a tremendous blunder, and I can speak without any personal flavor in what I say. Whether you make the age limit 75 or 70, in neither event will the figures affect me. You finish your work about the 12th of September. About the 16th of September the Governor will finish examining the records that are filed with him, and on that very day I will have the joy of being in the midst of the celebration of my 75th birthday, so you see I am speaking here without any personal flavor in what I am saying.

Now, I have been practicing law over 50 years. The ablest lawyer in our State today is over 70. He sits as the Chairman of your Committee, he has the respect of everybody in this State, and he was born the same week I was. Most of the great men of the State who are living now were born about that time. The whole State admires him, they know his tremendous ability, and know what his value is in the legal world and in the judicial world. He is doing work now that is practically judicial. I refer, of course, to Frank Sommer.

Now, all through the State we find pictures like that. The Chief Justice of our State, Chief Justice Case, was born in my town and is now over 70 years of age. He is not only Chief Justice, but one of the ablest lawyers in the State, by long odds. He lends character and gives character to our courts today. To say to him, immediately upon the adoption of this new Constitution, that he must go into the back lots and sit down because the march of time has rolled a little too far to warrant his being kept in activity, will be sort of saddening to me.

I can't figure it out. I expect to practice law for the next 25 years. I have a busy office now. I leave here to go back to my office where I have several men employed by me. They'd hate to see me leave because the firm might end, or other things like that might happen. There are a number of fine men in this Convention who are over 70 years of age. I won't name them all. There are even women here who may be, but I never talk about women's years. To me they are all just fine young women, but that isn't the point. The point I make is that if you adopt that rule and stick to it, you are doing one of the saddest things that's been done in the court life of this State.


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