N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 549

Wednesday, July 30, 1947 (Afternoon session)

a lawyer? Offhand, I would say yes. If so, should he also be required to have a background of experience, for example, ten years of admission to practice before the highest court as we require of our judges? If he isn't to be a lawyer, just how much authority or what authority should he have over judicial officers?

Section VI, paragraph 2: It seems to me that the untrammelled power of assignment over the judges would really destroy what I believe to be the purpose of Section III, paragraph 3, which is to keep separate, as separate divisions, the Chancery Division and the Law Division. I don't think there is anything I need add to what has already been said here by other witnesses before your Committee about the necessity for specialization and the advantages of specialization. I think the untrammelled power of transfer should not be in the Constitution.

Section VI, paragraph 4, provides that the clerks of the two principal courts should be appointed by those courts. I think that that is not a good idea. Those clerks are ministerial officers. The heads of the court or the members of the court don't place upon those clerks any great reliance or personal responsibility in connection with the judicial side of the operation of the courts. They are functionaries. I think the spirit of our present Constitution and of the new one will be to separate the powers between the departments, and if the appointive power is essentially an executive power, I think the appointive power should not be put in the hands of the courts as you have done in paragraph 4.

Now, coming to the Schedule, - I don't believe that any great benefit can be had from a present discussion of the Schedule since, after hearing the many suggestions which have been advanced here, this Committee undoubtedly will make some changes in the body of the Article. Depending on those changes, accompanying changes will be required in the Schedule.

There is only one word of caution, and I think, perhaps, that it may be unnecessary. Insofar as the Schedule is concerned, the greatest of care will have to be taken in the transfer of the jurisdictions of the existing courts to those new courts which are to be created under this Article. If the proper attention is given to that, the other matters of the Schedule are more or less items of mechanics.

Just a concluding word on the Schedule. I do want to voice my approval of the stand taken by many other witnesses here that the Schedule should not arbitrarily compel the retirement of any present judges who have already, or who by January 1, 1949, will have passed the retirement age. I think that at the very least, as was suggested, they should be permitted to serve out their present terms. I don't know whether or not this Committee has done so, but I think if it hasn't it should give some consideration to the

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