N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 678

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


(New Jersey Law Journal, June 12, 1947)

For the past few months the Law Journal has endeavored to turn an objective eye toward the tangled skein of the New Jersey courts and their many overlapping jurisdictional images. At this time, with the Convention opening today, it seems appropriate to review and condense the suggestions contained in the series of editorials in the hope that the members of the bar generally will be stimulated into active contemplation of the century-old horse-and-buggy court structure that is ours.

The editorials began with the prayerfully expressed aspiration that the delegates themselves would become so spiritedly sensitive to the creaking antiquity of the courts that sheer pride in their State and in the opportunity of a lifetime for real service would impel them to put prejudices and politics completely aside and create a Judicial Article in the new Constitution which would forever be a monument to their intellectual integrity. A prayer was breathed also that those non-delegates who for years had been in the forefront of the campaign for revision and whose utterances might be expected to have some influence on the thinking of the delegates would strive mightily in the interest of a finished document which would represent the best in modern methods of administering justice.

I The Court of Last Resort

It isn't often that unanimity of opinion is found among judges and lawyers. On the subject of the present Court of Errors and Appeals, however, to a man they appear to be in complete accord that the unwieldly court should be relegated to a place among the things that were. So it seems reasonable to assume that the real problem remaining is as to the size of a new Court of Appeals. In the previous articles the view was advanced that it should be composed of either five or seven members. No specific position was taken as to whether the smaller or the larger number was preferable. The answer probably depends upon the structure of an Appellate Division, if one is in fact established. If such a Division is created and endowed with full intermediate appellate power, that is, one which will hear all law and Chancery appeals and have jurisdiction over the prerogative writs as well, then five judges in the Court of Appeals ought to be adequate. This conclusion stems from the modern thought that one full review as a matter of right is all that a litigant is entitled to expect. So it follows that with an Appellate Division having plenary review jurisdiction, there ought to be and will be a definite limitation upon the number of cases that

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