New Jersey

Scott Douglas Gerber

in A Distinct Judicial Power

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780199765874
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199896875 | DOI:
New Jersey

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New Jersey is probably best known to students of American constitutional history for the so-called New Jersey Plan. The plan was issued during the Federal Convention of 1787 in response to the proposal in the Virginia Plan for a bicameral national legislature, both houses of which were to be elected with proportional representation. Less populous states such as New Jersey were opposed to giving most of the control of the national government to larger states such as Virginia, and New Jersey's delegates to the federal convention offered an alternative that would have awarded one vote per state for equal representation in a unicameral national legislature. The New Jersey Plan was premised on the belief that the states were independent entities and, as they joined the United States of America freely and individually, so they remained. New Jersey's colonial and early state history was likewise premised on a particular constitutional ideal: a reverence for individual liberty. In fact, due in large part to the efforts of William Penn, one of the early proprietors of New Jersey, New Jersey's commitment to individual rights arguably was manifested earlier than that of any other of the original thirteen states. The same may be said of its endorsement of judicial review. Paradoxically, New Jersey embraced judicial review well before its judiciary became independent. This chapter investigates that anomaly.

Keywords: New Jersey Plan; independent judiciary; judicial power; liberty; William Penn

Chapter.  11782 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law

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