N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 676

Editorials from the New Jersey Law Journal, April 17 to June 12, 1950

(New Jersey Law Journal, June 5, 1947)

of the Circuit Courts, do so in the name of the Chancellor, and as his advisors. Accordingly, their appointment has been recognized as the exclusive property of the Chancellor. Although appointed by the Chancellor, their office is a creation of the Legislature and they are, nevertheless, held to be constitutional officers of the State. (105 N. J. Eq. 759; 114 N. J. Eq. 261; 54 N. J. Eq. 255).

The present Constitution also provides that the Chancellor is the Ordinary and Surrogate-General. It would seem that following the reasoning applied with respect to the vice-chancellors, the surrogates should be appointed by the Chancellor. In fact, prior to the adoption of the present Constitution the power of Chancellors to appoint the surrogates was not questioned (4 N. J. Eq. 408). Under the 1776 Constitution, the Governor constituted the "Ordinary or Surrogate-General," and in him was recognized the power to appoint deputies or surrogates. Then, in 1822 the appointment of the surrogates was turned over to the joint meeting of the Council and Assembly. Article VII, Section II, of the present Constitution provides that the surrogates be elected by the people of the respective counties.

Giving the Chancellor the power to appoint vice-chancellors was not altogether illogical. By the same token the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court could have been designated to be the Supreme Court, giving him the power to appoint the justices, to advise him and to act in his name and on his behalf. The differences, then, are found due not to reasoning or planning, nor to the needs of our form of organized society, but simply to historic explanations of the origin of the various courts.

To state the various provisions for appointment and tenure of the judicial officers in New Jersey under the present Constitution is to describe a "crazy quilt." The Chancellor, Supreme Court justices, and the six lay judges of the Court of Errors and Appeals are appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate. The judges of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas are, by force of the amendment of 1875, appointed by the Governor. Article VII, Section II, paragraph 2 of the 1844 Constitution, providing for appointment of the judges of the Court of Common Pleas by the Senate and General Assembly, has thus been superseded, except for the provision of the five-year term. As to the Circuit Courts, although mentioned in the Constitution and therefore constitutional courts, with their jurisdiction defined in Article VI, Section V, paragraph 2, the appointment of these judges is not provided for, and such appointments must come under the general power given to the Governor, holding their office "for the time prescribed by law." The Constitution providing for the Circuit Court but not for the Circuit Court judges, their appointment, the

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