For the informant, J. Emil Walscheid.
For the respondents, John Drewen.
Before Brogan, Chief Justice, and Justices Parker and Perskie.
The opinion of the court was delivered by
PARKER, J. The fundamental question in this case relates to the right, if any, of the respondents to hold office as judges respectively of the First, Second, Third and Fourth Criminal Judicial District Courts of Hudson county which the legislature
undertook to create by chapter 201, Pamph. L. 1940, passed October 2d, 1940, and to exercise the jurisdiction conferred by this and its companion statutes, Nos. 199 and 200.
There are three separate acts directly and indirectly involved. The first to be mentioned is chapter 200, which amends sections 2:212-1, &c., of the Revised Statutes relative to Criminal Judicial District Courts.
This statute amends former legislation on the subject merely altering the requirements as regards the makeup of the judicial districts, and also by providing that the judge shall be elected by the legislature in joint session instead of being appointed by the governor with the advice of the senate. There are other changes which need no special mention at this time.
Chapter 200 further provides that each Criminal Judicial District Court shall have jurisdiction to try and determine in a summary way all cases for any and all violations of certain sections of the Revised Statutes: R.S. 19:34-6, 19:34-7, 19:34-11, 19:34-12, 19:34-13, 19:34-15, 19:34-28, 19:34-38 (Election law).
Chapter 199 amends a number of sections of the Election law, and the important feature of this statute is that it undertakes to transform into disorderly conduct a number of offenses against the Election law which heretofore have been regarded as criminal in character and punishable after indictment and conviction by a jury.
The cases were argued orally and counsel have briefed the matters in controversy very fully. The essential feature of the legislation, apart from the creation of these Criminal Judicial District Courts in Hudson county, is contained in chapter 199 which, as we have already observed, undertakes to transform certain offenses against the Election law, heretofore treated as misdemeanors and to be punished after indictment and jury trial resulting in a conviction, into mere cases of disorderly conduct which are to be tried by the Criminal Judicial District Courts in a summary way and without intervention of a jury. ...