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Wilentz v. Stanger

Decided: December 30, 1942.

DAVID T. WILENTZ, ATTORNEY-GENERAL, EX REL. SOLOMON GOLAT, RELATOR,
v.
GEORGE H. STANGER, DEFENDANT; DAVID T. WILENTZ, ATTORNEY-GENERAL, EX REL. SOLOMON GOLAT, RELATOR, V. HOWARD EASTWOOD, DEFENDANT



On writs of quo warranto and demurrers thereto.

For the relator, Samuel Kaufman.

For the defendants, David T. Wilentz, Attorney-General (John F. Bruther, Assistant Attorney-General, of counsel).

For the defendant Stanger, Edward J. O'Mara.

Before Brogan, Chief Justice, and Justices Parker and Porter.

Porter

The opinion of the court was delivered by

PORTER, J. These cases were argued together and for convenience will be considered in the same way.

Leave was granted by this court for the filing of information in the nature of quo warranto against these defendants and the informations were duly filed in the name of the

Attorney-General on the relation of Solomon Golat, a taxpayer and consumer of milk, to both of which informations the defendants have demurred.

The real question raised by these demurrers is whether or not the defendants have vacated their seats in the Senate of New Jersey by reason of holding, as is alleged, public offices inconsistent and incompatible with the office of Senator.

The defendants, George H. Stanger and Howard Eastwood, hold the offices of Senator from the Counties of Cumberland and Burlington, respectively. Under the provisions of the Milk Control Act, N.J.S.A. 4:12A, &c., effective July 15th, 1941, the Director of Milk Control on January 1st, 1942, appointed Senator Stanger counsel to the Director of Milk Control at a stated salary and he has since served in that capacity. In January of 1942, the Milk Control Board held several public hearings on an appeal from an order of the director at which hearings Senator Eastwood appeared and acted as counsel to the board. It appears that he was not formally appointed as counsel to the board, that his duties were not defined and he received no compensation for his services.

For members of the legislature to occupy an office, or indeed, a position or an employment in another branch of the state government seems inconsistent and incompatible with their office in the legislative branch. However, that may be, we may only pass upon the question here presented, which is whether or not these defendants, or either of them, occupied an "office" under the statute as that term is defined in our cases. In this state we have no statutory definition of the term "office." If either defendant held a position or employment as ...


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