« PreviousContinue »
commission. I would like to know, for my own information which of those statements is correct. It seems to me that if our committee participated in framing this joint resolution, and we now decline to appoint a member of that commission we are in danger of making ourselves ridiculous.
MR. BOND: I do not desire to make any extended remarks, but I appreciate the feeling that eternal vigilence is the price of liberty. I do not wonder at the feeling which is present in this Association, but if this question has to be met let us meet it, while the veterans are alive, when such men as Judge Thornton, whose experience of forty years is of value, when the gray-headed ones are here; let us meet and let us down it. I am opposed myself to a code practice, although I was two years under that practice. I do not believe it will be for the advantage of the State of Illinois to adopt a code practice, but let us meet the question, let us meet it fairly, let us fight it out honorably and not go to dodging it.
Calls for the question.
VICE PRESIDENT Wood: The question is on the adoption of the substitute offered by Mr. Stevens.
MR. SHERMAN: State it, please.
VICE PRESIDENT Woon: The substitute is in effect that the Association decline to make any nomination for a member of that commission, that is the effect of adopting it. as are in favor say aye; those opposed, no. The noes appear to have it and the substitute is lost. The question now is on the adoption of the motion of Gen. Black that Judge William L. Gross be nominated as a member of that commission.
Which motion was adopted and Judge Gross declared nominated as a member of the commission.
JUDGE GROSS: I beg the indulgence of the Association for a few minutes, it is nearly time for luncheon and I will not weary you. On yesterday I did the best I could to ridicule that commission. I pointed out, as I thought with force, some
force at least, the attitude that the Legislature of Illinois proposed to put the bar in, by asking—demanding, that it take up the work of the revision of at least sixty chapters in our book of statutes, with a declaration that the men who performed that labor should receive no salary or compensation of any kind whatever. The period covered by that service extends until the meeting of the next General Assembly, eighteen months hence. I undertook to show that it was a piece of parsimony on the part of the Legislature to ask five estimable gentlemen to give up their time and devote their energies in answer, as the resolution says, to a public demand, and refuse to compensate them. I undertook to show that no self-respecting lawyer could accept such an appointment as that, who was competent and fit to fill it. Having ridiculed that resolution, having ridiculed the scheme of a commission upon a basis such as I have indicated, not moved thereto from mercenary motives, but because of the absence—not only the absence but the open denial of even slight compensation-any compensation whatever, you now have asked me after that public utterance which, if it has not already gone forth to the people of the State, will go forth to them, to accept your nomination, I say to you, Mr. President and gentlemen, you have paid me the highest honor in your power and I highly appreciate it.
MR. SHERMAN: Accept it, then.
JUDGE Gross: Now I want to say to you, further, that I feel today just as I felt yesterday; I have not a single word to recall.
GEN. BLACK: That is right, accept it.
JUDGE GROSS: —not a word to take back; and the only motive, the only inducement that you could hold out to me to prevent me from this moment declining absolutely and unqualifiedly your honorable nomination, is one consideration which I wish to offer to you. It is this: I know in the years past, I believe I know to-day, that this Association is unalter
ably opposed to what is called a code (applause and cries of yes) without a change in our judicial system. I sympathize with that sentiment most heartily (applause). I will knowningly, consciously, have no part nor lot in any code scheme; and if this commission, as I suggested on yesterday might be the case, is to be in favor of a code, I am not in it except for one purpose, and that is to protect this Association and the bar of the State of Illinois against one of the greatest misfortunes that could possibly be brought about. If you want me to take a place upon that commission to protect you against this apprehended misfortune (cries of yes) I will do it, but I will do it under no other circumstances.
MR. SHERMAN: Good.
It was moved and seconded that a recess be taken until 2 o'clock; which motion was carried and an adjournment taken.
The Association reconvened at 2:30 o'clock P. M.
VICE PRESIDENT Wood: The Association will come to order. Before proceeding with the program for this afternoon the Chair will recognize Mr. Capen for a report on the auditing of the report of the Secretary and Treasurer,
Report read as follows:
Your committee appointed to examine the report of Mr. James H. Matheny, Secretary and Treasurer, respectfully report they have examined the same and find it correct. They recommend it be approved.
CHARLES L. CAPEN,
MR. CAPEN: Mr. President I move that the report be accepted and the committee discharged.
Which motion was seconded and carried.
VICE PRESIDENT Wood: The report of the Committee on Judicial Administration, is that committee ready to report?
Mr. ROSENTHAL: It is. Mr. Scott is away from the city and has requested me in his absence as a member of that committee to present the report:
Report read as follows:
Your Committee on Judicial Administration in presenting its report begs to say that while a number of matters relating to subjects cognizable by this committee, have come to its notice, deserving of consideration and action on the part of members of the bar, yet almost all of these were rather local in character and ought in the judgment of your committee more properly be taken up by county or city bar associations. Your committee has therefore refrained from presenting these. There is one matter, however, which was pressed upon the attention of your committee, worthy of comment and serious consideration at our hands. That is the question whether since the consolidation of the Supreme Court, we have received the full benefit rightfully expected through the change.
Through the earnest and prolonged efforts of this Association the Act approved April 2, 1897, consolidating the Supreme Court at Springfield, was passed. For years prior to that time this Association had endeavored to secure the passage of a law similar to the one enacted, but always without success. With persistent effort and constant labor on the part of committees and members of this Association, joined in by local bar associations, the passage of the Consolidation Bill was finally secured. The enactment of this law was considered one of the best and most serviceable reforms accomplished through the exertions of this Association. Year after year this matter had been brought to our attention, and it was urged that the consolidation of the Supreme Court was necessary in order to secure fuller deliberation and more careful consideration of the many important cases coming before the bar of the court. Mr. John H. Hamline, in his annual address delivered before this Association, as its President, on July 1, 1897, in speaking of the law said: "The Act itself is intended to secure a speedy hearing and prompt disposition of all cases which come before tue Supreme Court. Opportunity for oral argument and for the determination of each case by the full bench was intended to be afforded by this Act, but the Act would be vain unless the court shall adopt rules
which will carry out the spirit and intent of the law." And again: **Objection was made to the Act that it would require the Judges to spend most of their time together at Springfield, and that the cost of living was higher at Springfield than at their homes. To meet this objection a bill was passed increasing the salaries of the Judges to $7,000 per annum. There is therefore no good reason why the members of this court should not work together at Springfield.”
If we examine the proceedings of this Association as found in its various reports, we will notice that two of the main purposes intended to be subserved by the Act, were, firstly, to allow more time for the oral argument of cases, in order that the Judges might be better aided in their determination of these, and secondly, to get the Judges together in one place, in order that they might be constantly in conference and that litigants before the Supreme Court might have the benefit in each case of the thorough consideration of the full bench, and not merely the opinion of a single Judge, concurred in after the same is written, by a majority of them. From the investigations which your committee has made and the information which has come to it, it appears that the system followed by the Supreme Court Judges since the consolidation act is not far different from what it was before. The conferences, we are advised, hardly last for a longer period than they did prior to the passage of the law. Judge Phillip Stein, in his address before this Association in 1896, on the "Location of the Supreme Court at one place," said:
"During the last twenty years it has bappened more than once that the Supreme Court has reversed itself in the same case and in different cases made contradictory decisions. It has delivered opinions without any reference to our apparent knowledge of earlier ones on the same subject. It is not singular that such things have occurred. It would be more singular if they had not. These men are away from their families and desire to return to them as speedily as possible. They are overcrowded with work and anxious to finish the work of the term. When the court is in session, they meet at 8 o'clock in the morning and consider motions until nine. From nine to twelve and from two to five they are either on the bench or engaged in the conference room.
"They are again in conference at seven in the evening and work until nine or ten at night. They must examine a long docket of rehearing cases, consider and decide a long calendar of argued and submitted cases, and read, listen to, discuss and pass upon a long list of prepared opinions. Work is disposed of in three or four weeks of which a proper disposition would require more than twice that time. Let a man be a mere sojourner, dropped into a place for a temporary