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“The members of the American Bar Association assembled in annual meeting, have been profoundly shocked by the report in the newspapers of the willful and deliberate murder by mob violence of a convict under life sentence in a state penitentiary.
This crime appears to have been concerted and accomplished in a spirit of savage and remorseless cruelty unworthy of our age and time. Thus to seize and slay a helpless prisoner, expiating according to law, the crime of which he was convicted, and while he was in the custody of public officials charged with his detention, is not only to commit an act of wanton savagery, but to make a flagrant and shameful attack upon the law and its ministers, tending to weaken all just respect for its administration and well calculated to promote lawlessness and anarchy.
Therefore it is resolved, that we desire here to record our unreserved condemnation of this outrage, and we trust that those in authority will speedily bring the guilty parties to the bar of public justice, there to receive such punishment as their grave crime demands."
James H. Harkless, of Missouri:
The resolution was then unanimously adopted.
I call the attention to the Association to the present quarters of the Supreme Court of the United States at Washington, with the view of having a committee appointed for the purpose of securing by legislative enactment better quarters in the capitol building for the court and for the accommodation of those appearing before it. There was a committee appointed several years ago by Congress, known as a committee for the extension and completion of the capitol building, composed of Senator Wetmore, of Rhode Island; Senator Root, of New York; Senator Martin, of Virginia, and Representatives Cannon, of Illinois, and Hepburn of Iowa. I understand that it is the desire of those principally interested concerning the quarters occupied by the court that the court should remain in the capitol building, and it does not seem to be their desire that a separate building be erected.
I think it proper for me to say that this matter was brought to my attention first by J. C. Thompson, of Oshkosh, Wisconsin. I offer the following resolution and move its adoption:
“Resolved, That a special committee of five members of the Association be appointed by the President to confer with the Chief Justice of the United States and the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States and with the commission for the extension and completion of the capitol building regarding measures to improve the present accommodations in the capitol building of the court at Washington, and with authority to the special committee to take such steps as the committee after such conference may deem proper and expedient to bring about, by legislative enactment or otherwise, the enlargement and improvement of such quarters and accommodations.”
You have heard the resolution offered by the gentleman from New York.
The resolution was seconded.
William Howard Taft, of Connecticut:
of the committee to the method of improving the quarters of the Supreme Court by extension of the capitol building. I know the court as a whole are generally in favor of remaining in the capitol. It is quite possible that that will not be the view of Congress, and Congress has power, in this particular, to say what shall be done.
I do not intend now to intimate my view as to what ought to be done. There was for a long time a plan to construct a Supreme Court building on the square opposite the capitol, or immediately opposite on East Capitol Street. It seems to me that if we appoint a committee of this sort, the committee ought to have power to differ with the Supreme Court, if it sees fit to do it. It may be that the Supreme Court itself may take a different view. At any rate, unless we enter into a discussion of the subject, it seems to me unwise in an important committee like this to limit their judgment. Therefore, I move an amendment
providing that nothing herein shall limit the judgment of the committee as to the wisdom of recommending the construction of a separate building for the accommodation of the members of the Supreme Court and those who practice before it.
The members of the Supreme Court naturally like to be in the capitol; and senators and congressmen like to be where they can go in and hear the judgments of the Supreme Court conveniently, and occasionally submit to the Supreme Court arguments that will assist them in the discharge of their important duties. Nevertheless, there are other considerations that would lead to the establishment of a separate building, requiring possibly the separation of the two different branches of the government, and certainly giving an opportunity for much greater convenience to the Bar, the public, and the members of the court, in the furnishing to them of quarters in which they can adequately perform those heavy duties that need a great deal of executive assistance.
I, therefore, move an amendment widening the scope and power of the committee.
Does the amendment offered by the gentleman from Connecticut meet with a second ?
The amendment was seconded.
Thomas I. Parkinson, of New York:
I should like to raise the point of order that this resolution should take the usual course and be referred to the Executive Committee.
The Chair is constrained to overrule the point of order on the ground that this body has the power to determine whether a resolution shall be referred to a committee or not. The reference of resolutions to committees is principally a matter of convenience.
William Howard Taft:
I never differ with the court when it rules in my favor. So far as the Executive Committee is concerned, I do not think the resolution of a character requiring such reference.
Thomas I. Parkinson:
In order to get the sense of the meeting, I move a reference of the resolution to the Executive Committee.
George Sutherland, of Utah:
I do not rise to oppose the suggestion made by Mr. Taft, but simply to state that in my opinion the present quarters of the Supreme Court, as far as the court room itself is concerned, are entirely adequate. True, it is a small room, but we do not need a large forum for a body of that kind. I think I know the feeling of the members of the Supreme Court with reference to this matter. They are very much opposed to any change of quarters. The court has been held in its present quarters for a great many years; the room has historical associations connected with it, and the judges have become attached to it. The Supreme Court of the United States is a co-ordinate branch of the government. I undertake to express some doubts as to the power of Congress to compel the Supreme Court to vacate the room; and I am rather inclined to think that if that body should pass a provision for building a new structure and putting the court there, if the members of the court did not choose to go, Congress might find some difficulty in compelling them to go. I think after we had constructed a new building and arranged a court room, the judges would remain exactly where they are now. We undertook after the building of the Senate office building and the House office building to provide additional quarters for the judges, and we set aside a number of rooms for their use. Senators vacated some of them ; Representatives vacated some rooms in the Capitol, and took other quarters in the new office buildings. We furnished a room, and in some instances a suite of rooms, for each member of the Supreme Court. I think only two of those rooms or suites are occupied today. The result has been that, one by one, these rooms have fallen back into the possession of senators and members of the House, because the judges could not be induced to occupy them.
I have no objection to passing a resolution to have the matter investigated; but I undertake to predict that in the end nothing will come of it.
Will the gentleman from New York withdraw his amendment to allow the gentleman from Connecticut to speak?
Thomas I. Parkinson :
William Howard Taft:
I think it is very remarkable to hear a senator of the United States get up and say that Congress has not the power to declare where the Supreme Court shall sit, and I think somebody should rise in the interest of the people and tell the senator that Congress does have that power, and that if it is a legislative function to say where the Supreme Court sits it is a legislative function to appropriate the money and to make the building thereafter. If I have misconceived the senator
I should like to ask a question of the gentleman from Connecticut. Undoubtedly Congress has power to provide a building and say that the Supreme Court shall sit there, but suppose the court declines to do so, what process would the distinguished gentleman from Connecticut invoke?
William Howard Taft:
I should say that one thing that might be done would be to go before the lower House of Congress and ask that impeachment proceedings be instituted in the Senate to inquire whether the Supreme Court whose duty it is to interpret the law, must not obey it.
It is quite true that the Supreme Court may not like for their private use chambers that require a railway in order to be reached from the court room, as is necessary by the underground communication between the Capitol and the Senate office building. Therefore, it seems to me that the illustration that the judges do