N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 575


Explanation of Draft of Proposed Judicial Article Recommended by the Committee1 See page 26 for draft of Judicial Article proposed.

This draft was prepared with a view to carrying out the recommendations of the New Jersey Committee for Constitutional Revision - particularly the recommendation that the unified constitutional court system should be made comprehensive by replacing all existing courts except municipal courts of strictly limited jurisdiction.

Since the Committee for Constitutional Revision has not undertaken to pass specifically on all of the details of a complete Judicial Article, it was necessary for us to use our own judgment in filling in the outline. This is a thorough revision of the draft that we submitted in 1944 which was an outgrowth of the Judiciary Articles in the draft proposed by the 1942 Commission on Revision of the New Jersey Constitution and in the draft submitted to public hearings by the Joint Committee of the 1944 Legislature. We have taken advantage of recommendations of the State Bar Association and other bodies. We have also, after a review of the literature and consultation with a number of lawyers and other students of the judicial process, written some additional features into the draft which we feel are consistent with the principles and objectives of the Committee for Constitutional Revision. This 1947 draft has benefitted greatly from the criticism and detailed suggestions of a number of persons, including Mr. Joseph Harrison and Mr. Harold Fisher of the New Jersey Bar, Professor Bennett Rich of Rutgers University and Mr. Frederick W. Killian of the New York Bar and the University of Pennsylvania, who have gone over the whole draft, and of Mr. Donald Howard of the Russell Sage Foundation who has given valuable advice on specific provisions.

As we see it, the distinctive features of this draft are as follows:

  • 1. It provides for complete unification of the courts which are responsible for the application of state law.  
  • 2. It provides for a maximum of convenience to litigants and lawyers.  
  • 3. It provides for flexibility in organization and procedure needed to insure that the constitutional court system shall facilitate, not hinder judicial progress.  
  • 4. It makes for the maximum of independence on the part of the Judicial Department consistent with due responsibility of the members of that department to the public.  
  • 5. It is brief, seeking to safeguard essential features of a responsible Judicial Department without prescribing details better left to legislation, rule and custom.  

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