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PROVISIONS OF CONSTITUTION
ORGANIZATION AND JURISDICTION
OF THE COURTS
(NEW YORK STATE CONSTITUTION, ARTICLE
Supreme Court; how constituted; judicial districts. — Section 1. The Supreme Court is continued with general jurisdiction in law and equity, subject to such appellate jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals as now is or may be prescribed by law not inconsistent with this article. The existing judicial districts of the state are continued until changed as hereinafter provided. The Supreme Court shall consist of the justices now in office, and of the judges transferred thereto by the fifth section of this article, all of whom shall continue to be justices of the Supreme Court during their respective terms, and of twelve additional justices who shall reside in and be chosen by the electors of, the several existing judicial districts, three in the first district, three in the second, and one in each of the other districts; and of their suc
The successors of said justices shall be chosen by the electors of their respective judicial districts. The legislature may alter the judicial districts once after every enumeration under the Constitution, of the inhabitants of the state, and thereupon reapportion the justices to be thereafter elected in the districts so altered.
The legislature may from time to time increase the number of justices in any judicial district except that the number of justices in the first and second district, or in
Supreme Court; how constituted
- Const. Art. VI, § 1
any of the districts into which the second district may be divided, shall not be increased to exceed one justice for each eighty thousand or fraction over forty thousand of the population thereof, as shown by the last state or federal census or enumeration, and except that the number of justices in any other district shall not be increased to exceed one justice for each sixty thousand or fraction over thirty-five thousand of the population thereof, as shown by the last state or federal census or enumeration. The legislature may erect out of the second judicial district, as now constituted, another judicial district and apportion the justices in office between the districts, and provide for the election of additional justices in the new district not exceeding the limit herein provided. (As amended by vote of the people Nov. 7, 1905.)
Jurisdiction of Supreme Court. The Supreme Court of this state has original and general jurisdiction of all cases in law and equity, with unlimited power to protect the rights of persons and property by adopting and enforcing all of the remedies afforded by an enlightened jurisprudence that is not inconsistent with the Constitution of the state, and it is its privilege and duty to model and expand its principles so as to afford adequate protection to the rights of all citizens. Davis v. Zimmerman (1895), 91 Hun, 489, 36 N. Y. Supp. 303. The Supreme Court is presumed to have acted within its general jurisdiction in trying an indictment. People v. Washor (1910), 196 N. Y. 104, affd. 132 App. Div. 924, 116 N. Y. Supp. 1143.
Since the Supreme Court is vested with certain jurisdiction in law and equity, this jurisdiction cannot be transferred to other courts so as to restrict citizens in the right thus granted to them. Moroney v. State of New York (1910), 67 Misc. 58.
The continuing of the Supreme Court with general jurisdiction in law and equity, preserves the jurisdiction over lunatics and their property which was originally vested in the Chancellor and Court of Chancery and was subsequently transferred to the old Supreme Court as it existed prior to the adoption of the Constitution of 1846. Moore v. Flagg (1910), 137 App. Div. 338, 122 N. Y. Supp. 174.
Although the Supreme Court under the Constitution has general jurisdiction in law and equity, the exercise of its power is subject to the limitations and regulations of the Code of Civil Procedure. Clapp v. McCabe (1895), 84 Hun, 379, 32 N. Y. Supp. 425.
The legislature cannot impose upon the Supreme Court or the justices Supreme Court; how constituted
- Const. Art. VI, $ 1
thereof functions of a non-judicial character. Matter of Attorney-General (1897), 21 Misc. 101, 107, 47 N. Y. Supp. 20.
The equitable jurisdiction of the Supreme Court includes all cases which may be properly comprehended within the established and existing principles. Youngs v. Carter (1877), 10 Hun, 194.
The enforcement of trusts is one of the original inherent powers of the Court of Equity and is now vested in the Supreme Court by force of the state Constitution. McCartney v. Bostwick (1865), 32 N. Y. 53.
The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court cannot be limited by the legislature. People ex rel. v. Nichols (1880), 79 N. Y. 582; De Hart v. Hatch (1874), 3 Hun, 375. Appellate jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals is, however, subject to regulation by the legislature. Butterfield v. Rudde (1874), 58 N. Y. 489.
Legislature cannot confer jurisdiction upon the Supreme Court in admiralty cases even by stipulation. Bartlett v. Spicer (1879), 75 N. Y. 528; Vose v. Cockroft (1871), 44 id. 415; Brookman v. Hamil (1871), 43 id. 554; Matter of Steamboat Josephine (1868), 39 id. 19; Poole v. Kermit (1875), 59 id. 554.
Legislature cannot abridge or limit jurisdiction of Supreme Court, and acts authorizing transfer of certain actions to Marine Court are unconstitutional. De Hart v. Hatch (1874), 3 Hun, 375; Alexander v. Bennett (1875), 60 N. Y. 204; People ex rel. v. Supervisors (1888), 49 Hun, 476, 3 N. Y. Supp. 570.
Constitution does not restrict power of legislature to provide for administering both legal and equitable relief in a single suit. Phillips v. Gorham, (1858), 17 N. Y. 270.
Statute ($ 2122 of Code of Civ. Pro.), limiting remedy by certiorari in Supreme Court, does not affect the constitutional provision of general jurisdiction. People ex rel. v. Supervisors (1888), 49 Hun, 476, 3 N. Y. Supp. 570.
Courts are not deprived of equity jurisdiction by $ 970 of the Code of Civil Procedure, directing that certain causes be tried by a jury upon the request of either party. Eggers v. Man. El. R. R. Co. (1891), 27 Abb. N. C. 463; Underhill v. Man. El. R. R. Co. (1891), id. 478.
An act of legislature designating place where surplus moneys arising from the sale of lands in foreclosure or petition proceedings may be deposited, does not restrict general jurisdiction of courts. Matter of Estate of Stilwell (1894), 139 N. Y. 337.
Section 18 of the Mechanic's Lien Law (L. 1885, ch. 342), providing for consolidation of separate actions by the court in which first action is brought, does not deprive Supreme Court of jurisdiction. Boyd v. Stewart (1893), 30 Abb. N. C. 127.
Acts confining the trial of certain actions to New York City, are unconstitutional as limiting the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. Mussen v. Ausable Granite Wks. (1892), 63 Hun, 367, 18 N. Y. Supp. 267; Getman v. Mayor, etc., of N. Y. (1892), 66 id. 236, 21 N. Y. Supp. 116.
Judicial departments; Appellate Division
- Const. Art. VI, § 2
Legislature cannot require the Supreme Court to perform other than judicial duties. People ex rel. v. Waters (1893), 4 Misc. 1, 23 N. Y. Supp. 691.
Judicial departments; Appellate Division, how constituted; governor to designate justices; reporter; time and place of holding courts. — § 2. The legislature shall divide the state into four judicial departments. The first department shall consist of the County of New York; the others shall be bounded by county lines, and be compact and equal in population as nearly as may be. Once every ten years the legislature may alter the judicial departments, but without increasing the number thereof.
There shall be an Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, consisting of seven justices in the first department, and of five justices in each of the other departments. In each department four shall constitute a quorum, and the concurrence of three shall be necessary to a decision. No more than five justices shall sit in any
From all the justices elected to the Supreme Court the governor shall designate those who shall constitute the Appellate Division in each department; and he shall designate the presiding justice thereof, who shall act as such during his term of office, and shall be a resident of the department. The other justices shall be designated for terms of five years, or the unexpired portions of their respective terms of office, if less than five years. From time to time as the terms of such designations expire, or vacancies occur, he shall make new designations. A majority of the justices so designated to sit in the Appellate Division in each department shall be residents of the department. He may also make temporary designations in case of the absence or inability to act of any justice in the Appellate Division, or in case the presiding justice of any Appellate Division shall certify to him that one