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The resolutions presented by Mr. Edson were referred without reading to the Committee on Patent, Trade Mark and Copyright Law.
The Association then took a recess until 4 P. M.
Friday, September 2, 4 P. M. George T. Page, of Illinois, presiding: The Chairman:
The first item on the program this afternoon is the report of the Membership Committee, which will be presented by Frederick E. Wadhams, the Treasurer of the Association.
Committee on Membership:
This report was read and adopted.
(For Report, see Appendix, page 478.)
Committee on Change of Date of Presidential Inauguration: William L. Putnam, of Massachusetts :
This report is in print and I will not read it. Attached to it is a copy of a resolution introduced by Senator Ashurst of Arizona, the object of which is to bring the inauguration of the President nearer to the date of his election. I understand from Senator Kellogg of Minnesota that he is going to introduce an independent resolution bearing upon this same general subject. It has seemed to the Committee that this Association ought to go on record in this matter-of course, leaving to Congress the details of working out exactly the date when the President should be inaugurated and when the new Congress should convene. Those seem to your committee to be matters of detail, to be matters that should be studied by a committee having power to summon witnesses.
We feel, however, that we ought to make very clear that we as lawyers appreciate the great danger of having the old Congress
meet again after the election. The committee has prepared a short resolution, practically along the lines of the resolution of last year, although a little more explicit, and I will read the resolution and then move its adoption:
WHEREAS, The Association at its last meeting passed a resolution favoring such action as would lead to the dates of the election and of the inauguration of the President of the United States, being brought nearer together and to the abandonment of the short session of the old Congress; and
WHEREAS, It is deemed desirable to express further the sense of this Association that as far as practicable there should be the shortest possible interval between the mandate of power and assumption of responsibility thereunder; Now, therefore, be it resolved, That it is desirable:
1. That Congress should come into being immediately upon its election and that the ensuing session of Congress should be a session of the new Congress and not of the old one.
2. That the electors should meet at the earliest practicable date to cast their votes for President and Vice-President.
3. That the Congress should meet at the earliest practicable date to count the votes for President and Vice-President.
4. That the President and Vice-President should be inaugurated thereafter without any unnecessary lapse of time.
Richard Wayne Parker, of New Jersey:
In 1910 (January 13 to 15 and May 16), when I was Chairman of the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives, we debated a change of the date for the inauguration of the President.
There was a great deal of sentiment at that time in favor of having the date made April 30, the day upon which Washington was inaugurated. Of course he was counted in by the new Congress, as there was no previous Congress. If there had been any dispute about that election, it would have been up to the members of the new Congress which were elected with him. I consider that a point of great importance.
The new House should be the one that counts in the President. The old House of Federalists nearly gave us Aaron Burr instead of Thomas Jefferson as President. The Tilden-Hayes controversy is still in our recollection. It would be better to do anything to avoid uncertainty, and leaving to the opposite party the selection or determination as to who was elected.
I will not attempt to argue this resolution. I do not think the details ought to be determined here, and am a little sorry that the resolution is so strong in details. It is fair to say that when we went into this matter away back in 1904, I thought we ought
to have Congress sit shortly after its election, but not too soon to allow reflection. I am sure that the new Congress should have the counting of the electoral vote and that the present system is dangerous to constitutional government. It has shown the danger on three separate occasions.
Beyond question there is enough merit in this resolution for us to support it earnestly. The resolutions were then adopted.
(For Report, see Appendix, page 476.)
Committee on the Classification and Restatement of the Law:
James D. Andrews, of New York:
The report which I have the honor to present is simply one of progress. It is a very brief report, and I think it will save time for me to read it, instead of attempting to summarize it.
The report was read.
James D. Andrews :
I move the acceptance of this report, and that the committee be continued with instructions as suggested in the report. The motion was seconded and carried.
(For Report, see Appendir, page 481.)
Committee on Aviation:
Charles A. Boston, of New York:
I represent the youngest infant of the American Bar Association, in that this committee was appointed by the Executive Committee after the St. Louis meeting. Its report, therefore, was made to the Executive Committee, and I am advised that the Executive Committee has referred the report to the Association for such action as it may deem proper. I am here principally to read the recommendations of the committee and to ask your approval of them, and incidentally to call your attention to two or three of the features which tend to explain the recommendations.
The man in this Association who was first alert to the situation was Simeon E. Baldwin, formerly Chief Justice, and after
wards Governor, of the State of Connecticut. In 1911, seeing what was coming and having a prophetic instinct and an apppreciation of conditions, even as they then were, he asked this Association to take action in respect to the law of what has been styled in the name of this committee, “ Aviation,” but what is now technically, in the proper terminology called “ Aeronautics."
The matter was referred to the Committee on Jurisprudence and Law Reform, and that committee reported that it was not then a matter of such general interest, or of such urgent importance, that any action needed to be taken on the subject by the American Bar Association.
There, until this day, except for the appointment of this committee, the matter has rested. In the meantime there has been the great World War, and the covenant of the League of Nations with respect to Aviation, and the consequent Air Convention, which has been formulated by those participating in the League of Nations, and which has been made applicable in many, if not all, of its members. Though that convention was signed by a representative of the United States, it contains regulations which have never received the approval of the United States Senate, and which are not the law in this country.
The United States is pitifully behind some of the smaller nations of the world in its law of aeronautics-substantially speaking, there is no law on aeronautics in the United States. There are certain state laws, there are certain federal laws, in relation to operation; there are certain local ordinances; but we are in the humiliating position now that under the Air Convention that has been signed by many of the nations, we are technically under boycott, although it has not been put into operation.
The Air Convention, among other things, provides that the craft of non-signatory nations shall not be permitted to fly across the borders of the signatory nations, except under temporary and peculiar conditions. England has had air navigation laws for several years and now has a complete set of those laws regulating flight in that kingdom. Canada has an air navigation law, and has an air board and an air force, and it is only by sufferance that any flyer from this country can cross the Canadian borders today, because there is no power in the United States which is
legally qualified to comply with simple regulations for aerial navigation across the Canadian border.
I am advised that as an act of courtesy the Air Board of Canada has given special permission to fly from the United States, but that this permission will expire on November 1 of the current year. And when it was contemplated that there should be a balloon race in this country last April, both because of scientific interest and because of sport, the balloons not being dirigible, and being liable to drift across the International Boundary, they had to get special permission from the Air Board of Canada, that if any particular balloon should cross the border it would be hospitably received, on certain conditions, which were prescribed by that Air Board. In Ottawa there is an Air Board, and I have been in correspondence with it.
The report contains a condensed story of the present situation of the law of aeronautics in this country. There are two or three things that I want to call your attention to in the most hasty way. There are several factors which have stood in the way of the proper commercial development in this country of the law of aeronautics and of civil flight. I do not need to say anything about the flight of government air craft. The government has already prescribed numerous statutory and other regulations with respect to government air craft. But so far as civil aircraft is concerned, and so far as a commercial flight is concerned, there never was a greater need for adequate laws than there is today, and there is practically no law whatever on the subject.
All the investigation which this committee has made has shown that those who are interested in commercial development find that it is the law that is defective and not the progress of the art that is at fault, and that if there was adequate law on the subject, we would have commercial aircraft developed rapidly in this country as a means of transportation both local and interstate and international. But capital will not invest in the purchase and operation of aircraft under present conditions. The insurance companies will not insure, because they do not know the extent of the risk. • The fundamental factor is not the mechanical factor, but the legal factor, and the sooner we appreciate that the better. : :