Page images


after full discussion, and has been referred to a committee of revision and will be reported at the next session of the American Bar Association and no doubt passed.

JUDGE BRODGETT: I had not heard of that.
GEN. MONULTA: Where is it now?

Mr. Moses: It is not yet in Congress, because the final report will be presented next month at the American Bar Association,

JUDGE GROSS: I would like, Mr. President, to have the sense of this Association taken upon this subject. I regard the suggestions made by Judge Blodgett as wise and timely, supplemented as they are by the information that already the American Bar Association has taken action in this matter. I submit that this Association might with perfect propriety on this occasion, if it be so minded, endorse that action and give to it the force and stimulus of the recommendation of this Association. And in making this suggestion let me follow it with another suggestion, that Mr. Moses hold this matter upon his mind, as he has so many other matters, and formulate a resolution and present it to us and let us see what we will do with it. This is simply a suggestion, Mr. President, and I desire to let it rest there.

MR. SHERMAN: I do not think there is any opposition on the part of those who practice in the Federal Court to the suggestions made by Judge Blodgett. There should be but one nisi prius court in the United States in a district, and a court of appeals and clearly the court of appeals should be entirely distinct from the nisi prius court. Ob. jection has been made by some that the circuit court judges would get too lazy. Now let me say for the information of the Association that one justice of the Circuit Court of Appeals, one judge, has during the last year written fifty-seven opinions, more than all the Supreme Court Judges in the early history of that court did in five years, and involving probably not as important constitutional questions, clearly


not, but probably involving larger amounts and as important principles of the administration of the law. Now my theory of the function of an appellate court is quite different from that of some gentlemen that I have heard speak upon that subject. Some suppose that the judge should be driven to the top of his speed and write as many opinions as he possibly could do; if possible, get out of him in the course of the year $6,000 worth of opinions. My theory on that is that the less number of opinions an appellate court writes, the less number of cases they consider and decide—that is within a reasonable number—the more valuable their opinions will necessarily be. Judges in our Circuit Court of Appeals here, or in a circuit court or in a district court, do not get a chance to cultivate the grace, or the disgrace of laziness. During the first two years after Judge Seaman was appointed as District Judge in Wisconsin, he spent more time in Chicago than he did in his own district. Judge Bunn did nearly as much in this district. Judge Allen of the Southern District and Judge Baker, have all been called upon and they have discharged the duty which should have been done here by judges furnished for this circuit. It is little less than disgraceful that Congress has thus far neglected to furnish sufficient judicial force so that the causes in the Circuit Court of the United States for this district could be tried, and tried promptly, and I sincerely hope that Gen. MeNulta will see that the proper effort is made in the coming Congress to remedy this defect, by having another district judge appointed so that causes may be tried promptly and that the judges may not be over-worked.

GEN. McNulta: That the question of the jurisdiction of the several courts is one of importance, I concede. I doubt, however, the expediency of mingling the two propositions together. What we first want is judges to do the work; after we get the judges then we will settle the jurisdiction of the several courts. The judges of the district court sit in the circuit and have all the powers of circuit judges within their


own districts, therefore, if we have judges enough we can get along as we are now, if we have simply judges to do the work. I quite agree with the statement that has been made that there is hardly a difference of opinion among the members of the bar who practice in the Federal Courts, that there ought to be amendments in the law fixing the jurisdiction, and substantially all agree that there should be but one nisi prius court with judges to hold that court, and one court of appeals with judges specially appointed for that purpose, but we want judges now, not jurisdictions, therefore, I think if any action is taken upon the other matter, on the question of jurisdiction, in accord with the American Bar Association, of which I had been informed-I did not know, however, how far they had gone with their bill-I think it ought to be a separate action. Our senators and members of congress are well up to the necessities of giving judges, they are working and willing to work, and if they give us judges to do the work they can get the jurisdiction afterwards, fix it where we want it, therefore I would request that we accept the suggestion, that Mr. Moses draw his resolution and let that be taken care of by an independent committee wholly on that subject.

MR. BOND: I agree with Gen. McNulta that the two ques. tions should be kept separate; but supposing the bill proposed by the American Bar Association, which is a very good one, should fail? As the General says, we still need the judges; do not let them go down together. Now in the State of Vir

. ginia, which has about the population and perhaps one-tenth the commercial business of the county of Cook, there are three district judges; here we have but one for the whole northern district; while the southern division has been cut off the northern district of Illinois, they do not allow us a judge for that division; there should be a judge for that division and there should be an additional one for this district, giving the State of Illinois four district judges, and there will be enough business to keep all of them actively at work, and so, I think


we should have one more for this district, and if possible, one for the Peoria division, so that they may all work better and it can be kept up, and then we can do our work on abolishing the circuit court.

JUDGE GROSS: The various suggestions that have been made are capable of being perfectly harmonized. My sug. gestion was that Mr. Moses, if he will formulate a resolution, the effect of which shall be, if it receives the approval of this Association, to place us in harmony upon the general proposition with the American Bar Association. I still insist, Mr. President, that the suggestion made is of the very greatest moment and deserves, I will venture to say now-although this whole discussion is out of order—that it ought and undoubtedly will receive the assent of this Association. Now the further suggestion made by Gen. McNulta is that these matters should be kept separate; that there is a present pressing necessity for further judicial force here in this district; that is undoubtedly true, known to all of us. The two can go hand in hand, one may succeed, the other fail. Let us play both cards.

MR. SHERMAN: But not together.

JUDGE Gross: The committee, if I am correctly informed, did not present us any resolution for action, no specific recommendation. Might I not then with perfect propriety suggest to you that you present us a resolution and permit us to discuss it and act upon it, then if this Association has any viril. ity, any vitality, any force, any influence to exert, it may be exerted in the direction in which our judgment points.

Gen. McNULTA: My view upon that question is that we gain strength by concentration of whatever power we have, and if the committee, of which I have the honor to be a member divides its force and covers more field, we weaken ourselves, We have got enough to do to get judges, we think we can do that, or we think the committee will be appointed in our place, as our term expires, will accomplish that in act.

[ocr errors]


ing with our senators and members of Congress, but it would be an element of weakness for us to undertake anything else, therefore, I think it is better that the other plan be taken, that Mr. Moses introduce a resolution and let this Association appoint another committee to act in concert with the American Bar Association upon the question of jurisdiction. That may be long delayed, it is a broad question, it covers the whole country, everybody is interested in it, and there is divergence of opinion in different parts of the country. There is no difference of opinion upon the necessity for more judges in Illinois; we can get them, if at all, at the next session of Congress, while the jurisdiction question may be debated for several sessions of Congress, and once we get the judges we can get along, therefore I think we had better keep the power of the one committee on judges solely down to that point. VICE PRESIDENT Wood: Gentleman, this is the report of

: a special committee, made by its Chairman, Gen. McNulta. As the Chair understands, unless some action should be desired it would go to the Secretary and appear in the report of the proceedings, and the committee would expire with this meeting, and unless a motion is made to take some action on the report it will go to the Secretary and be placed on file.

JUDGE GROSS: I move you that that committee be continued during the remaining hours of this session and that it be requested to supplement its present report by a resolution embodying the force its observations.

Which motion was seconded.

GEN. MONULTA: Before you pass on that: That calls upon this committee to ask for a continuance of its own existence.

JUDGE Gross: Only for a few hours.

GEN. McXULTA: If this Association wants this committee continued and for the committee to continue its work, is it not for this Association to say so?

JUDGE Gross: That is what I moved.

« PreviousContinue »