N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 585




this should not be done by the Constitution, but should be left to the discretion of the Legislature to do or not to do, as in the view of the Legislature the public good shall from time to time require. The Constitution should not go into too much detail. The Convention should not try to play God. The difficulty in amending the Constitution of 1844 teaches us this. When the Constitution has established a court of last resort and a court of general jurisdiction it has done all it should by way of directly establishing courts. We do not see the necessity of continuing the Circuit Courts and the Courts of Common Pleas as separate tribunals, but the Legislature can deal with that. Needs change with the times. Indeed, they vary in different parts of the State. Those who live or practice law in the populous counties often do not know what is done in or best for the smaller counties, and vice versa. There is much to be said in favor of having important probate litigation handled by experts therein who would, so to speak, ride the circuit. There is also, however, much to be said in favor of having the run-of-mine probate litigation conducted by a judge who is always on hand in the county. Many duties, some quasi-administrative in nature, are imposed by law on the Courts of Common Pleas. We feel it should be for the Legislature to say whether those county courts should continue or whether such duties should be transferred to the new Supreme Court. We feel it should also be for the Legislature to say whether in some counties the local judge should be a part-time judge as at present. If all this is left fluid, the Legislature can deal with it as it sees fit from time to time. In each county there should be a local county judge, familiar with local personalities and conditions, with whom the Justice of the Supreme Court holding the circuit including that county can consult. The abortive 1944 draft tried to accomplish this by providing for a resident justice of the Superior Court (as it was therein called) in each county. In many counties either he would have too little to do to justify the salary of a Supreme Court Justice, or, if assigned to duties elsewhere, would in effect cease to be a resident judge. If there are advantages (not now apparent to us) in merging the county courts in the new Supreme Court, such advantages can be attained after the adoption of the new Constitution by legislative abolition of the county courts and the transfer of some or all of their jurisdiction to the new Supreme Court. If, after a try, that should prove unsatisfactory, the present system could, by action of the Legislature, be again restored. Consequently, the Common Pleas judges should not be frozen into the new Supreme Court.

SECTION II The Court of Appeals

1. The Court of Appeals shall consist of the Chancellor, the

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