N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 97

Wednesday, June 25, 1947 (Afternoon session)

States, and later it turned out that that Justice was not fitted temperamentally or emotionally, to handle the work of the Supreme Court of the United States. And there is no way of determining beforehand, no matter how good a man's judicial background is, whether he is fitted to handle high court appellate work. We believe, therefore, that there should be that first term of seven years before a Justice of the Supreme Court holds under tenure during good behavior. That is our second reservation in connection with the 1944 Constitution on the judiciary.

Our third objection relates to the question of impeachment. We believe the present Constitution of the State of New Jersey, insofar as it relates to impeachment, contains a better provision than the provision in the 1944 draft. The 1944 draft provides that impeachment shall be found by the Assembly with a majority vote and should be tried by the Senate - with convictions on the basis of a majority vote. We believe that the convictions should be on a two-thirds vote of the Senate rather than a majority - in effect, following the present Constitution of the State of New Jersey. That is our third reservation in connection with the 1944 Constitution.

The first one, on the question of appeals, the appeal section shall not be interpreted as foreclosing or limiting the right to make a motion for a new trial before the trial court. Second, on the tenure, holding that Judges and Justices of the Supreme Court shall hold office under tenure only after an original appointment of seven years. And our third reservation - conviction on impeachment by a two-thirds majority of the membership of the Senate.

That is all I have to say in connection with our objections. There is here with me Mr. William Kramer, the president of the Gloucester County Bar Association, and Mr. Horace Brown, also a member of the Gloucester County Bar Association. If the members of the Committee have any questions they care to ask among the three of us, I hope we may be able to answer them.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Are there any questions?

MR. HENRY W. PETERSON: My question, Mr. Cresse, is: wouldn't a seven-year trial period be entirely too long a period if incompetency developed on the part of the Chief Justice or the members of the Supreme Court?

MR. CRESSE: Well, I suppose that is a matter of opinion. You could say three years, I would say seven, and someone else could say ten years. I don't believe there is any absolute answer to your question, Mr. Peterson.

MR. PETERSON: I don't believe there is. I was just wondering why a bar association would recommend a term of seven years if incompetency was contemplated?

MR. CRESSE: That is the provision set up in the 1944 draft for

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