N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 5, Page 31


Tuesday, June 24, 1947
(Afternoon session)

I'm likewise convinced that the privilege of succession would materially assist a new Governor in obtaining better qualified men and women for appointment to important posts whose terms may be co-terminous with that of the Governor. The argument that a Governor should not be permitted to succeed himself in order to prevent him from developing a powerful political machine is, in my judgment, without merit. I am not prepared to accept the theory that a Governor will or even could develop a political machine merely because he may have an opportunity for succession. A limitation on succession in the 1844 document has not prevented the development of powerful political machines in this State, both of the Republican as well as the Democratic variety. These machines have frequently dictated the selection of a Governor. By virtue of the limitations imposed upon the Governor in the present Constitution, namely, limited authority, limited term, and no opportunity to challenge the machine at the polls after a reelection campaign, political bosses in the past have occasionally controlled the activities of the Governor during his short term of office.

In other words, our Constitution, by virtue of the very limitations contained therein, upon occasion has tended to make the Governor the servant of a political machine rather than of the citizens generally. As for the political machine, as my predecessor Governor Woodrow Wilson stated, the present Constitution requires only sufficient patience on the part of political bosses "to sit out one term to be rid of a nuisance" who may have sought to be Governor in fact as well as in name.

If safeguards are required, and they may well be, I recommend a limitation similar to that contained in the Oregon or Delaware constitutions. The former prescribes that a Governor shall serve no more than eight years in any 12-year period. In the latter, a Governor is ineligible for a third four-year term.

The principle that enlists my support is the right of a Governor to take his case to the people. It is my hope that a longer term and the privilege of succession for at least one term would materially assist the Governor in obtaining better qualified nominees for submission to the Senate.

In my judgment the veto power of the Governor should be redefined. A two-thirds vote should be required to override a veto. This would promote the orderly business of the Government - particularly on those occasions when the Governor is a member of one party while the majority of the Legislature are members of another party. During the period the Legislature is in session, the Governor should have ten days within which to consider legislation submitted to him for his approval or disapproval. All legislation should be approved or disapproved by the Governor within 30 days following adjournment of the Legislature sine die.

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