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125 Years Ago March 1879: A bill to require justices of the peace to pass a test before taking office would, the Law Journal editors remarked, “carry consternation to many of the aspirants of that office, and might have the effect of spoiling the fun of trials in justices courts.” 100 Years Ago March 1904: The Law Journal reprinted Booker T. Washington’s poignant letter to the Birmingham Age Herald decrying three acts of burning African-Americans at the stake — two of them on Sunday afternoons within sight of a church. He wrote: “Is it not possible for pulpit and press to speak out against these burnings in a manner that shall arouse a public sentiment that will compel the mob to cease insulting our courts, our governors and our legal authority; to cease bringing shame and ridicule upon our Christian civilization?” 75 Years Ago March 1929: In the view of the Law Journal editors, a revised jury commission law — giving the governor instead of the chancellor power to appoint commissioners — was no improvement. “The trouble with the old and new law still remains, in that sheriffs are retained as one of the two commissioners in each county, and these officials are always subject to political influence,” they wrote, suggesting that Supreme Court justices should do the appointing. 50 Years Ago March 11, 1954: Gov. Robert Meyner announced that he would begin conferring with state and county bar association screening committees on judicial and prosecutorial appointments. Under the plan, each association’s three-person committee could propose nominees or review the governor’s suggested ones. The conferences were to be held in the strictest confidence, on both sides. The protocol has continued, largely unabated, to the present day. 25 Years Ago March 8, 1979: Chief Justice Richard Hughes insisted that the judiciary needed a computer, which it did not have, in order to run the courts efficiently. “Modern judicial administration is dependent in the first instance upon judicial management information,” he told a conference of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey, “and the enormous volume and complexity of judicial responsibilities require a judicial data center and a large-scale dedicated computer.”

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