N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 559


REPORT OF THE COMMISSION ON REVISION OF THE NEW JERSEY CONSTITUTION


SUMMARY AND EXPLANATION

Article V JUDICIAL


Explanation:

cies, a citizen's right to a speedy disposition of his case becomes recognized only in the breach.

The chief requirement of any judicial system is honest, independent, capable judges. The existence of such a bench depends in the first instance upon the appointing and confirming powers and more indirectly upon an alert and courageous bar and enlightened public opinion. Constitutional provisions with respect to the appointment and terms of judges may either help or hinder in the attainment of these paramount objectives. The elimination of short terms with the consequent fear of failure of reappointment would make judges more independent. The requirement of previous judicial experience for appointment to the high court will insure not only great care in the selection of trial judges, but will also guarantee the recognition of meritorious service on the bench.

The proposed constitution seeks to overcome these defects with reference to the judicial system by fundamental changes which have stood the test of time in other jurisdictions:

For a most complicated scheme of courts there is substituted (1) a Supreme Court of seven justices selected from among the judges of the Superior Court and appointed during good behavior with appellate jurisdiction only in capital cases and in cases involving the constitutionality of statutes, ordinances or administrative rulings, and cases that may be certified by an appellate division of the Superior Court to it, or certified by it from an appellate division, (2) a Superior Court of general trial jurisdiction with judges appointed first for a term of seven years and if reappointed with tenure during good behavior, this court being divided into a law section with civil, criminal and matrimonial jurisdiction, and an equity and probate section exercising all other jurisdictions, each section having an appellate division of three justices to which an appeal from any decision may be taken as of right, and (3) lower courts of limited jurisdiction such as the district courts and the recorder's courts, which continue to be within the control of the Legislature but which may be integrated with the Superior Court by appropriate legislation.

The Chief Justice is given the power to assign the justices of the Superior Court annually to the end that each judge may be delegated to the type of work for which he is best fitted by temperament and training. In this manner all of the advantages of judges with specialized training are retained without the disadvantages of a cumbersome scheme of courts. Each judge will function in but one court at one time.

The Supreme Court is given complete power (and responsibility) with respect to making rules as to administration, pleading, practice and evidence in all of the courts of the State.

The Chief Justice is made the administrative head of all of the


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