N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 557


REPORT OF THE COMMISSION ON REVISION OF THE NEW JERSEY CONSTITUTION


SUMMARY AND EXPLANATION

Article V JUDICIAL


Summary:

of the Supreme Court, judges of the Court of Errors and Appeals who are counsellors-at-law of at least ten years' standing, Circuit Court judges and Vice-Chancellors. All of the foregoing members of the judiciary who are not appointed to the Supreme Court shall be justices of the Superior Court, each for the balance of his unexpired term. No member of the judiciary shall receive any increase or decrease in his salary by virtue of his transfer to the Superior Court.

11. All justices of the Superior Court shall be appointed for a term of seven years and, if reappointed, shall have tenure during good behavior.

12. All justices of the Supreme Court shall be chosen from among the justices of the Superior Court and shall have tenure during good behavior.

13. All members of the judiciary shall retire upon reaching the age of seventy years.

Explanation:

New Jersey has the most complicated scheme of courts existing in any English speaking state. These courts were modeled after the chief English courts of the period before the American Revolution. They were continued here first under the Constitution of 1776 and then under the Constitution of 1844. Indeed, the jurisdiction of these courts can only be ascertained even today by an historical inquiry into the jurisdiction before the Revolution of their predecessor courts in England. In England three-quarters of a century ago, and in nearly every other American State as well, the court structure was simplified into a simple system consisting generally of (1) a Supreme Court with appellate jurisdiction only, (2) a trial court of general jurisdiction with appellate divisions, and (3) lower courts of limited jurisdiction created by the Legislature with local or special jurisdiction. Of all the common law jurisdictions New Jersey alone has lagged, due to the difficulties of amendment under the present constitution, in simplifying its judicial system.

Due also to the same cause, New Jersey is the only common law State except Delaware in which the highest judges have a multiplicity of duties in different courts. Thus, the Chancellor is not only the Court of Chancery, and the Ordinary or Surrogate General, but he also is a member of and part of the time the presiding judge in the Court of Errors and Appeals, as well as a member of the Court of Pardons, as it is popularly called. The nine Supreme Court Justices are not only members of the Court of Errors and Appeals, but they also sit in the appellate terms of the Supreme Court three terms a year, and in addition thereto they have responsibilities of presiding justices in the courts of the twenty-one counties. The special judges of the Court of Errors and Appeals, popularly called "lay


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