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125 Years Ago December 1879:“It is well settled in this State that a debtor has the right to prefer one creditor over others. … But another principle is equally well settled that if the instrument of preference names a sum as its consideration which is larger than the real debt, the instrument is void, even as to the debt really due,” Justice David Depue charged a jury in Hedden v. Harrison. 100 Years Ago< December 1904:Thirty years after the first typewriter went on sale, legal objections continued. Genuineness of typed documents was difficult to reckon, and experts in typewriter forgery sprang up, insisting that no two machines could duplicate each other. “The type impressions may seem to be alike, and yet there will be a difference in alignment, or in the sharpness of the type, dependent upon the length of time of its use, which will betray its origin,” one observed. 75 Years Ago December 1929:New Jersey’s voluminous, uncodified statutes had come to be unresearchable. “So bad has this condition become,” Sen. Joseph Wolber, R-Essex, said at a Montclair rally, “that when a legislator seeks to amend a law he often plays safe by passing an entire new act . . . because of the difficulty of being sure of exactly what the amendments and supplements are to the original law.” 50 Years Ago December 16, 1954:Justice William Wachenfeld’s remarks at the induction of new lawyers in Trenton captured the Cold War tenor of the time. “America will never be mediocre,” he said. “It will either lead and have its leadership acknowledged or it will trail miserably. Its dominance in world affairs increases its obligations and creates an ever-growing burden. … The world looks to us for decisions and expects the right ones, and it asks for material assistance and aid and rightfully or wrongfully expects to receive them.” 25 Years Ago December 13, 1979:The lowest July bar exam pass rate in 15 years led Attorney General John Degnan to query whether New Jersey’s higher threshold for passing the Multistate Bar Exam (145 vs. 135 in Pennsylvania) and more complex essay portion were tied to the contrast in pass rates (47 percent vs. 83 percent in Pa.). “It seems clear that the [N.J. bar] presents a considerably greater barrier to entry into the profession,” he told a State Bar meeting. “What is not clear . . . is whether these barriers are necessary to assure the public that it will be served by a competent legal profession.”

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