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PRESIDENT'S ADDRESS.

last few years, and particularly in our own State in 1903 and 1905, shows the trend of legislation to be strongly in the direction of favoring the workingmen of the country. There are numerous instances in the acts of 1903 and 1905 where, it seems to me, that it is very apparent that the legislature took off its hat and made its bow to organized labor. The struggle between capital and labor in this country presents the gravest problem before the American people to-day, and if it is to be solved so that the liberties of all the people shall be preserved, the two contending forces must be reconciled so that they may and shall work in harmony. In the solution of these questions the duties and responsibilities that rest upon the bench and bar are probably graver and greater than those that rest upon either the executive or legislative branches of our government. While the executive and legislative branches of our government have been much criticised because they have been influenced by political and other considerations, the Courts have always had the confidence of the people, and it is of the utmost importance that they shall continue to retain that confidence by the performance of their duties in such a manner that all of their acts shall be characterized by the highest wisdom and the purest motives.

GARNISHMENT OF WAGES AND SALARIES OF PUBLIC OFFI

CERS.

The act providing a means of reaching, by garnishment, the wages and salaries of public officials and employees extends to any person employed in any county, city, town, village or school district, and, if finally held to be constitutional, will be far reaching in its consequences, and will materially change the heretofore public policy of this State. Prior to this act, our Supreme Court, beginning many years ago, held that to permit the garnishment of municipalities was against public policy.

In February, 1906, the validity of this act was brought in question in the Circuit Court of Cook County, and was by

GEORGE T. PAGE.

Judge Tuthill held to be constitutionally bad for several reasons, holding that it violates both Sections 13 and 22, Article 4. There would seem to be no good reason why employees of municipalities should not pay their just debts, nor is there any reason, so far as they themselves are concerned, why their earnings should be more sacred, or why they should enjoy an immunity not enjoyed by employes of individuals or private corporations; but there are numerous reasons why a municipality should not be hampered and inconvenienced by being drawn into controversies touching the disposition of the wages and salaries of its employes. It seems to me that the legislature might have served the public better by framing some sort of legislation that would prevent too many men who do not pay their bills from getting into the public service. It is a notorious fact that many of the men who hold minor offices in municipalities have no trade or calling except the holding of public office, and they go into the service, not with any pretense that they are there for the public good, but merely for their own purposes. It may be counted as a distinct misfortune that such men are allowed not only to feed at the public crib, but are also guaranteed immunity from annoyance suffered by better men in private employment.

VETO.

It will be noted that of the laws of 1905 some ten or a dozen were not signed by the Governor, but were suffered to become operative under the constitutional provision requiring the Governor's veto, if there is to be one, within ten days after presentation of any bill to him. A reasonable consideration of every act of the legislature by the Governor is important, and where there are many bills passed, as is often the case, within a short period before the adjournment of the legislature, it would seem that the time specified is too short, and that here is another item to be added to the list by those seeking reasons for constitutional revision.

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COURT BUILDINGS.

It is a matter of congratulation that the commission having in charge the new Supreme Court Building have so far progressed that the site has been purchased and further work is in process toward providing a necessary and suitable working home at the State Capital for our Supreme Court.

By persistent and long continued efforts, chiefly on the part of this Association, the Supreme Court was consolidated. Let us live in the hope that when the building is finally completed and equipped for use it will prove so comfortable and alluring in its arrangement and appointments, and so superior in the advantages which it presents, that the judges will, by those gentle and comfortable chains, be held there during the working year of the Court.

A great deal has been said in this Association in criticism of the methods employed by the Supreme Court in hearing and considering cases and in preparing opinions. Many spirited replies thereto have been made by one judge and another in defense of those methods; and it has been repeatedly more than hinted that present methods are all right, and that the changes urged by the bar would be impossible of accomplishment and valueless if they were put into use. The replies have also contained the suggestion, given, of course, in a kindly and fatherly spirit, that if the advocates of reforms in the Supreme Court ever gained the dignity of a place on that respected bench, they would speedily see the errors of which they were the victims while they were mere lawyers, and before they acquired the judicial dignity and mind. However this may be, there is an abiding belief, not bottomed on sentiment nor on capricious criticism, but on long experience and the oft-justified judgment of many of the keenest minds and ablest practitioners in the State, that such change of methods can and should be adopted as will not only expedite the work of the Court, but will also give us opinions which shall be the product of joint consideration and the combined wisdom of all the judges.

GEORGE T. PAGE.

COURT DECISIONS.

Intimately connected with the work of the Supreme Court is the question of the publication in report form of the decisions of our Courts of appeal.

Personally, I see nothing to be gained by the publication of the decisions of an intermediate court of appeal, and especially is this true where there is not one but five separate courts such as we have in our State, whose decisions must sometimes necessarily be and are in conflict. Illinois is in the center and one of a large number of States whose courts of last resort are continually handing down decisions on questions similar to those in controversy in our own State, which decisions, for the sake of encouraging uniformity in the law, it is desirable to use because of the intimate and growing business and trade relations between the people of all the States.

In Illinois we have from our Supreme and Appellate Courts 340 volumes now, all of the 119 Appellate Court reports and 140 of the Supreme Court reports have been issued to cover the work of those courts for the last thirty years.

To be a well-informed lawyer and keep abreast of the times, one must know the decisions of the Courts of his own State, so far as they are published and may be used by or against him, and he should know the best of the decisions of the courts of other States, and of the Federal Courts. When we consider the vast number of published decisions that are annually put out by the various courts of last resort, no thoughtful lawyer can fail to see that the task of familiarizing himself with them is already an almost impossible one, and he cannot view the future, if no limitation is to be placed on the number of decisions reported, with anything but alarm and despair.

If we are to pursue the present plan in vogue in our State of having every decision published, we shall, before the present generation of lawyers, now in middle life, have passed away, have a huge mass of undigested and undigestible matter that

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the busy practitioner must ignore and leave unknown and unused.

Some States have adopted the practice of having published only such decisions as are designated by the court as of enough importance to be published. There are many cases decided every year that contain no new principle and consequently are of no importance outside of the controversy which produced them. The publication of such decisions is worse than profitless. Not infrequently we see half a hundred cases cited in a brief to sustain one point in a case, and many times we find in opinions a large number of cases from our own reports cited by the court as decisive of the point at issue.

If the importance of limiting the number of published decisions to such as are important and as will be helpful in the practice of the law appeals to this Association, I hope to see such action taken as will accomplish that result.

JURY INSTRUCTIONS.

A great deal has been said from time to time in this Association relative to the practice in our State Courts in preparing and giving instructions to juries. The present method of instructing juries is a little short of a farce, because, as a rule, a series of instructions does not present a clear and succinct statement of the law that can be easily understood and applied by the lay mind in determining the issues, but rather embraces partisan statements prepared for the sole purpose of getting before the jury interested views of the law as held by opposing counsel. Instructions often contain so many long, fine spun and complex statements that it is impossible often for trained lawyers to determine from them what the law of the case really is, and when this is true, it is, of course, impossible for juries, who are untrained and unskilled in such matters, to do so. If they pay any attention to the instructions whatever, they are only embarrassed and hindered thereby in their attempt to arrive at a just decision of the matters before them. During a

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