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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 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, 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 happened 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 PROCEEDINGS.
purpose and under a necessity of packing up and moving somewhere else in a short time, and the probabilities are that his action will be hasty and tinctured with error. As a rule, a man while traveling is not much given to reflection or contemplation. As Judge Magruder truly and strikingly says, 'deliberation is not a concomitant of rapid motion. When the rights of men and communities are being considered, the atmosphere should be one of calmness; all the conditions should be favorable to quiet reflection; the influences which conduce to haste and hurry, should be banished.'
“The Supreme Court is distinctly a tribunal of review. It possesses but little original jurisdiction and is rarely called upon to exercise it. It sits in judgment upon the records of the trial courts, and determines, or should determine, whether or not they are free from substantial error. Its members do not claim individually to be wiser or more learned in the law than the Judge before whom the cause was tried. The theory is (and it is an eminently sound and correct one) that their collective wisdom and learning shall be applied as a corrective to hurtful mistakes that may have deflected the true course of justice in the frequent hurry and confusion of the trial proceedings. The calm contemplation and judicial serenity which may have been wanting in the court below, should unerringly be found in the court above. By mutual suggestion and discussion, by consultation and comparison of views, seven men acting as a body may well attain more correct results than the one man who instead of looking at a record already made up, has himself very largely helped to make it.
"It is idle to expect that such duties can be in all instances properly or effectively discharged when the men that are to discharge them are most of the time miles and miles away from each other, when during the time that they are together the work of a year is compressed into a few weeks, and they themselves are constantly on the jump, always moving in or moving out, here to-day, there to-morrow. Those whose business it is to consult and confer should not be separated by long distances. They should be within easy reach of one another, and ready to meet upon short notice to take united and concerted action in all matters pertaining to their functions.
Is it surprising, things being what they are, that there sometimes should be conflict between the decisions, and that the opinions them. selves do not always display that logical force, consistency of reasoning, compactness of expression, chasteness of diction and literary finish which characterize the utterances of courts more favorably circum. stanced than ours?
We are told that the Judges are just as anxious since the consolidation as they were before, to return to their respective homes; that each Judge takes with him the records of the cases assigned to him and while alone, and in the absence of the other Judges, studies these, arrives at his conclusions and prepares the opinions, without any opportunity in the meantime of conferring with the other Judges.
While we realize, of course, that the opinion in a particular case will be written by a single Judge, still it should in every sense be the opinion of the full bench, and every point decided by the opinion should be the decision not of a single Judge but of the whole court. This is the only way of securing for the opinions of the highest judicial tribunal of the third largest State in the Union the unquestioned soundness that they ought to have and the eminence and respect which they rightfully ought to possess. It has often been remarked that the constant conferences of the Judges of the Supreme Court of the United States, touching the cases before them, and the careful deliberation of the full bench upon these cases before the opinions are written, is what gives to their decisions an additional value, aside from the fact that they are the judgments of the highest court in the land.
In the discussion following the reading of Judge Stein's paper, Mr. Merritt Starr read some extracts from Judge John F. Dillon's lectures on the Laws of Jurisprudence of England and America, which well worthy of repetition at this time. He says: “The character of many recent American reports has deteriorated from several causes. To two of these I shall now allude because they arise from mistaken views and practices of the Judges the mselves, and are, therefore, readily remediable.
"Most of our Appellate Courts are crowded with causes, and the effect upon the Judges is that they too often feel it to be an everpressing, paramount, all-absorbing duty to clear the docket. This mistakenly becomes the chief object to be attained-the primary, instead of a quite subordinate, consideration. In the accomplishment of this end, the Judges are as impatient of delay as was the wedding guest in the Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Added to this, a majority of the Appellate Judges generally reside elsewhere than at the capital or place where the courts are held, and the desire is constantly felt to bring a laborious session to an end as speedily as possible, in order that they may rejoin their families and do their work in the fatigue-dress of their libraries, rather than under the necessary restraints of the term. They begrudge the time necessary for full argument at the bar. They dislike to hear counsel at length. They prefer to receive briefs. As a result, two practices have grown up too generally throughout the
country, which have, as I think, done more to impair the value of judicial judgments and opinions than perhaps all other causes combined.
“The first is that the submission of causes upon printed briefs is favored, and oral arguments at the bar are discouraged, and the time allowed therefor is usually inadequate.”
And after dilating upon the great advantages of oral argument and its necessity for the purpose of securing clear, correct and wise decisions, Judge Dillon continues: "The other practice among some, I fear many, of our Appellate Courts which injuriously affects our case --law is the practice of assigning the record of causes submitted on printed arguments to one of the Judges to look into and write an opinion, without a previous examination of the record and arguments by the Judges in consultation.
“This course ought to be forbidden, peremptorily forbidden, by statute. What is the most difficult function of an Appellate Court? It is, as I think, after the record is fully opened and the argument understood, to determine precisely upon what point or points the judg. ment of the case ought to rest. This most delicate and important of all judicial duties ought always to be performed by the Judges in full conference before the record is delivered to one of their number to write the opinion of the court; which, when written, should be confined to the precise grounds thus predetermined. In respect to oral arguments, the time allowed therefore, the willingness to hear counsel and full conferences among the judges in the presence of each other prior to decision or assigning the record to a Judge to write the opinion, the Supreme Court of the United States is a model for every Appellate tribunal in the country.”
These extracts from the records of our Association point out, we believe, the views of our members and the evils which they thought would be avoided through the passage of the consolidation act. Our hopes have not been entirely fulfilled. We have located the Supreme Court at one place and the benefits of this are surely apparent, but we have not yet succeeded in consolidating the court. And we shall not succeed in consolidating it and in giving the people of this State the advantage in each case of its consideration by the full bench, until we persuade the Judges to make their home and work together at Springfield, or allow the Legislature to devise some method of accomplishing this. There is no reason, however, to our minds, why the Legislature should be appealed to. We fail to see why the judges themselves cannot inaugurate a new system, and during the terms that