N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 660


PROPOSALS OF THE EDITORS OF THE NEW JERSEY LAW JOURNAL
Editorials from the New Jersey Law Journal, April 17 to June 12, 1950


DO WE NEED APPELLATE DIVISIONS?
(New Jersey Law Journal, April 24, 1947)

ment and then arrange conferences of the court during the week of the argument so as to secure the full benefit of counsel's oral remarks, not only would decisions be rendered within a month or two after the case is submitted and their present quality perhaps improved, but much time of the court would be saved.

We come back then to the question, would the new Court of Appeals be overburdened if it had to undertake the appellate business of the State without the aid of Appellate Divisions? In the October Term of 1946, interestingly analyzed by Justice Frederic R. Colie in an address reprinted in 70 N.J.L.J. 53, there were 76 cases on the list. Apparently nine of them were settled or disposed of without taking the time of the court, leaving 67 cases submitted on briefs or oral arguments. Besides this, there were the causes heard by the Supreme Court at Trenton. When account is taken of affirmances on opinion and brief opinions per curiam, each Justice of the new Court of Appeals would be called upon to write but few more than 25 or 30 opinions a year which, as Justice Colie remarks in the above cited address, a Justice of the Supreme Court now writes (the Justice was counting opinions in both the Court of Errors and Appeals and the Supreme Court) ; and besides he would have much more time to write them than the Justices now have. If this be so, then why need we set up Appellate Divisions now on the mere speculation that judicial business will have increased so much 20 years hence as to warrant them then?

The United States Supreme Court has now, for a considerable number of years, annually entertained over 1,000 cases, including almost 200 cases dealt with in full opinions and over 600 applications for certiorari summarily disposed of. Many of the 200 cases mentioned more profoundly affect the welfare of the nation than most of the cases which reach our highest court, and therefore are more demanding on the time of the court. Surely the proposed Court of Appeals would not be nearly as busy as the United States Supreme Court.

The practice before the United States Supreme Court on certiorari and the system of discretionary appeals devised for the Court of Appeals of New York serve to screen out unimportant cases and allow the members of the court more time to devote to the profound consideration of causes which concern the nation, the state and the people at large, as well as the litigants themselves. But New York, with its four Appellate Divisions and over 300 Superior Court judges, has more than three times the judicial business that New Jersey has; and the federal courts with ten Circuit Courts of Appeals and Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, and over 250 active judges, also have a volume of judicial business over three times that in New Jersey. Do we need to copy the federal and New


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