N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 58
to be comprised in a General Court which has two main divisions, and other parts if needed. The valuable fund of equity lore, which has done honor to New Jersey justice, we feel would be retained if we had an equity section. By this the General Court would gain considerable integration in administration and speed in litigation. We propose that one type of court should be excepted from the General Court - the municipal court which administers municipal law and which may be authorized by the Legislature. We do not feel that the Legislature should be permitted to create additional layers of court structure lest time develop the same kind of chaos in our system which exists now.
I have tried to point out to you that we are interested in a simplified unit of structure. That, we think, belongs in the Constitution. I want now to discuss with you, or rather to have discussed with you, the problem of the selection of justices, and I would like to introduce to you Mrs. Heinz.
VICE-CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much, Mrs. Henderson. Mrs. Heinz - pardon me, are you going to read, Mrs. Heinz?
MRS. WINFIELD B. HEINZ: No, not exactly.
VICE-CHAIRMAN: Will you please pass to the members of the Committee, your printed statement, that is, if you have enough of them.
MRS. HEINZ: Yes, I have plenty of them.
Mr. Chairman, and members of the Committee: In the opinion of the League of Women Voters, no judicial system, no matter how carefully devised, can be better than the judges who administer it, and therefore, in our opinion, the new Constitution should provide a method of choosing judges designed to insure a judiciary of the highest possible calibre.
There are currently in the United States two methods of selecting judges. One is by executive appointment and the other is by election by the people. There are disadvantages to both. It seems to us that the whole question of political considerations has really no bearing on the fundamental issue. Such considerations tend to lower the general quality of the judiciary as a whole, and where terms are limited, frequently result in unwise and unnecessary turnover in judicial personnel. They may also impair freedom of judicial decision.
The plan for the selection of judges which the League of Women Voters recommends attempts to avoid these difficulties. The procedure outlined for the initial selection of judges is designed to facilitate the choice of individuals of the highest possible qualifications. It is proposed that a Commission on Judicial Appointment be established, composed of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, three members of the bar selected by the State Bar Association, and
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