The Green Bag
receive a minimum salary of $12,000 a year. The judges of the New York Court of Appeals, which, in dignity and ability, is second only to the Supreme Court of the United States, are elected for a like period and are paid a salary of $17,500 a year. Under such a system as this a judge should possess that independence and ease which are requisite to efficient service. The framers of Ohio's new constitution seem to have had this thought in mind when they provided that the minimum service shall be six years, thus leaving the door open for a more extended period. In the state of Massachusetts, the mother of us all, the judges are ap pointed by the Governor for life and no state in the Union has a better judiciary than that old Commonwealth. No law yer of any standing will deny it. Her decisions upon all mooted questions are cited and received with pleasure and confidence. The salaries there are not so large as in New York, but the life term, with pay on retirement, compen sates for the difference. We can safely trust our Governors. They are men of character, quite generally high grade lawyers, and have a keen appreciation of the dignity and power of the judge and of the kind of men who should fill the position. It hardly seems necessary to mention the English, European, Canadian and our own federal system of judicial ap pointments for life. Some such system as these must prevail in our state courts sooner or later or our entire bench will be emasculated. Instead of having judges of ability, independence and fair ness, we shall have, under the present system, a lot of weaklings, time-servers and apologies. To say that a judge elected, as our candidates usually are, under the present system of short term,
can enjoy that freedom and independ ence which is requisite to efficient ser vice is simply to utter an absurdity. Judges have not yet ceased to be human. President Eliot's address before the Massachusetts Bar Association, pub lished in the Green Bag, upon the subject, is illuminating. Listen to these words from this distinguished layman: In view of this uneasiness one cannot doubt that the abandonment of the policy of electing judges for short terms would contribute greatly to the re-establishment of the bench in the loyal regard of the American people. The late attempt of Congress to limit the Presidential service to one term of six years, with ineligibility, is to my mind, very suggestive. An unshackled judiciary is more important than an unskackled President. Of the two systems suggested, I have always preferred the appointive. Our judges should not become the plaything of the partisan, nor, should they be come an object for the assault of the vicious and yellow on the eve of an election. There is something divine about the judicial position. When A. and B. sub mit their honest differences to a court for adjudication, isn't it preposterous, isn't is ridiculous and nauseating, isn't it really awful that the judge hearing the case should consult the possible political effect upon himself of his own decision? If ever there is a moment in his life when he should be fearless and at the same time feel secure, it is when he is passing upon the property or per sonal rights of his fellow-citizens. His fiat, like that of divinity itself, may be final. The destiny of his fellow-man may be directed upward toward the skies or downwards toward Hell. May this Republic be delivered from the judge afraid, and from the system that makes him so! Harvey R. Keeler. Cleveland, 0.