N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 687
relief will not be withheld merely on the ground that no precedent can be found." And then further on in the same case he rules: "The legislature may make public policy but not the courts." There are some very high courts in our land which may have forgotten that axiom in their confused fears. To leave all this sort of thing to unskilled hands is quite unthinkable.
Here in our federal court we are compelled to sit in a wide range of cases. It has been my experience in the course of a single day to sit in the capacity of a committing magistrate in a petty criminal case in the morning and run through the whole gamut of our extensive duties, leaving the bench in the evening clothed with all the majesty of a Lord Chancellor or a Lord of the Admiralty. Only an extreme egotist can go home after a hectic day thus spent and not have some misgivings as to his fitness in dealing with the diversities that have confronted him. Pride of opinion and personal vanities prevent us at times from pointing out our own shortcomings, but intellectual integrity does demand that conclusion that one's life is all too short to permit extended explorations into the history of the topics embraced in the wide field of equity and render opinions meeting modern requirements unless he has specialized in that subject. Much which is ignorantly thought to be new, has had the thought of the best scholars in years past and reading into their opinions we find that the equity jurists of New Jersey have announced their opinions evidencing greater erudition and clearer terminology than I, sitting spasmodically in equity, can ever hope to attain. The reason for this is found in the fact that they have labored in a specialized sphere and for the most part have had the time and the inclination to explore the entire range of reason in an atmosphere of quiet, thoughtful approach. Such men often secretly examine themselves for their own shortcomings. So great were the works of Lord Chancellor Bacon, that for all practical purposes the evil that was in the man was actually "interred with his bones." So clear was his intellect and so objective and disinterested was his thought, that he could sit in judgment on himself and condemn himself out of his own mouth. Only one who can thus examine and pass judgment upon himself can reach the heights in the sphere of equity jurisprudence.
Nor has our modern Court of Chancery here in New Jersey been without its great fearless scholars and thinkers. One has but to browse through the opinions in our Equity Reports to find that brilliance of expression and purity of logic which gladdens the hearts of all of us. For example, one of the advances in modern equity is found in the Howard case wherein the principle of an estoppel in pais was developed as applied to the rigidity of the Statute of Limitations as theretofore viewed in the strictness and rigidity of the law, and again in those cases such as the Gates case wherein the
Previous Page in Book ********* Table of Contents *********** Next Page in Book