N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 578


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

3. Flexibility

be applied to any section of the court, and to other matters: for example, to administrative adjudications. (Sec. III, par 4)

It would be difficult to insure the presence on the bench of the General Court at all times of the right number of specialists in some of the newer fields. If it is considered certain that the Legislature and/or the court have the inherent power to provide for referees and fix their qualifications, this paragraph may be omitted; but there should be no doubt about it.

One of the advantages of the proposed system is that it may facilitate experiment to determine the better locus for certain administrative tribunals as between the Executive and Judicial Departments. Perhaps one reason why these tribunals have generally been located in the Executive rather than in the Judicial Department is the relative rigidity of the latter as to procedures, forms of action and qualifications and tenure of personnel, at the same time that there is not even the semblance of integration or responsible headship. Rigid traditional concepts of the nature and extent of "judicial power" naturally make one wonder if a new administrative "court" in the old system would be capable of the kind of growth and flexibility required for the development of a sound system of administrative law in action.

The proposed integrated court system, which permits a maximum of flexibility in the use of manpower and procedures, and provides for leadership and administrative responsibility through the Chief Justice and the executive director should enable the Judicial Department to play a much more creative role than it has in many years. Such judicial statesmanship would have a stimulating effect on the tone of the whole governmental system.

4. Independence and Responsibility of the Judges

The independence, responsibility and efficiency of the judicial branch depend on several constitutional factors, including the organization, administration, and powers of the courts; and the provisions concerning the selection, terms, retirement, removal, and compensation of the judges.

The necessary provisions for a real Judicial Department, with unified structure, adequate powers and provisions for administrative responsibility in the Chief Justice and the Supreme Court have already been discussed. We still have to consider the provisions concerning selection, tenure and removal. In the proper setting, either life tenure or long fixed terms following relatively short trial terms promote responsibility and efficiency, as well as independence.

The "proper setting" depends mainly on the manner of selecting and the procedure for removing judges. To provide this setting we propose a Judicial Council to assist the Governor in selecting judges, and alternative methods of removal.

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