N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 551


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

would be made for all of us, lawyers as well as the public.

Thirdly, I think we could in this plan consolidate the present Supreme and Circuit Courts, making them one court which, in effect, they pretty much are today. We could permit this new court to divide itself into two parts, one of which would exercise the present appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and thus give you your intermediate appellate court; and the other part could exercise the nisi prius jurisdiction of the present Supreme and Circuit Courts, including the granting of what we have loosely been calling prerogative writs. The Chief Justice of that court, which might very well continue to use the name Supreme Court, should have the power to determine who and how many of his Associate Justices are to sit in either part and for how long a time, and the arrangement would be quite flexible. I think it would give all the flexibility that could be desired.

Fourthly, I think we should consolidate the alleged separate courts of Common Pleas, Oyer and Terminer, Quarter Sessions, Special Sessions and Orphans' Court into what they really and actually are, one court. Whether we call it the Common Pleas Court of "X" County or the "X" County Court doesn't make very much difference. But that court, so unified, would exercise all of its present jurisdiction and such other jurisdiction, of course, as the Legislature might from time to time give to it.

It seems to me that such a plan, given here, of course, in broad outline, would retain not only the names but the jurisdictions generally as they now exist. From a practical standpoint, all of the Law and Equity Reports would still be adequate; they would be dealing with courts the names of which, the jurisdictions of which, the powers of which, the authority of which, are all very well settled today.

The lawyers and the judges, too, wouldn't have to learn this new system of jurisprudence all over again. Most important, I think, the public, who are the clients, wouldn't suffer any injuries to its general rights and property during the period of transition - and it will be a long one - while the bench and bar are attempting to find out what this completely new court system is and how it will function. A plan of this kind, I think, should satisfy everybody, - those who are looking for a change and those who are seeking to preserve so much of the status quo as can be preserved. It would effect a combination of the Chancery Court and the Prerogative Court, the Supreme Court and the Circuit, the Common Pleas and its assorted departments. My plan eliminates six courts. This plan would also provide for the carrying over of practically all the present judges, with perhaps the exception of the lay judges, and I think there is only one in that category now who is not a lawyer.

I want to thank you, lady and gentlemen, for your kindness. Be-


Previous Page in Book ********* Table of Contents *********** Next Page in Book