STATE OF NEW JERSEY CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF 1947
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
Thursday, July 10, 1947 (Afternoon session)
GOVERNOR DRISCOLL: Personally, I would like to see the Chief Justice one in fact as well as in name, and it is for that reason that in my own thinking the Supreme Court should be the Supreme Court in fact as well as in name. Our court system is not designed for the enjoyment of the members of the legal profession, of which I am one, but rather for the satisfaction of the needs of our citizens. Accordingly, I would make it as easy for our citizens to understand our judicial system as possible. I hold no brief for a particular name or title. You can call it a court of quarter sessions if you want, and if it accomplishes our purpose, it would be all right.
MR. GEORGE F. SMITH: Mr. Governor, you emphasize the complexities of administration and by way of example you point to the burden that the Chancellor now has. Do you visualize, when you speak of complete administrative authority in the Chief Justice, an executive assistant such as Mr. Chandler is in the federal court system, or what do you have in mind?
GOVERNOR DRISCOLL: I visualize an arrangement not unlike that. Bear this in mind, as I am sure you have: these judges very quickly come to know one another, and the Chief Justice, if he is the Chief Justice in fact as well as in name, will have the assistance not only of these administrative men to be given him, but he will have also the assistance of certain key members of the judiciary with whom he is working daily.
MR. THOMAS J. BROGAN: Governor, might I ask you a question? Would you have this appellate division – for want of a better name, we will call it that – a constitutional court or a permissive court depending on the exigencies?
GOVERNOR DRISCOLL: Mr. Chief Justice Brogan, I would personally prefer to have it a permissive court, very largely because of my concentration on simplification. There are, however, some dangers involved in limiting the constitutional courts to a Supreme Court; if the rule-making authority is not sufficiently broad, our judges, confronted with a great mass of work, might be compelled to go to a hostile Legislature or a hostile Governor in an effort to create a court that they conceive to be very necessary to relieve them of an avalanche of appeals. Accordingly, I believe there are some advantages in having two constitutional courts, in this sense: a very brief Article vesting all judicial authority in the Supreme Court, following the language in the Federal Constitution and in many state constitutions, but – and this is very important – providing for the number of the judges so that we will not run into the difficulties, not to mention recent history, that we ran into during General Grant’s term as President and immediately prior to it; and providing also for an appellate division, or a court of appeals, to be constituted by the Chief Justice – and you could spell this out if you wish – either after consultation or not, as the case
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