Page:The Green Bag (1889–1914), Volume 25.pdf/351

This page needs to be proofread.


The Green Bag

of time. We may sing paeans of liberty, but we shall enjoy liberty only as right eous laws are wisely administered." At a time when there is a great deal of denial of the fitness of the lawyer to act as the wise counsellor of his fellow men, — and the denial is not wholly without foundation, — it is a pleasure to find so emphatic a declaration of the larger duty of the bar, and of its position as a "great necessity of society." What the speaker said about the need of superseding trial by jury as "cumber some and expensive," and habitually resulting in "disregard of the elementary principles of righteousness," was highly suggestive, though naturally not com manding general endorsement. John G. Johnson of Philadelphia, who has been called the Nestor of the Pennsylvania bar, presented an enter taining reminiscent and anecdotal paper on deceased leaders of bench and bar, who flourished between the middle of the last century and ten or twelve years ago. The speaker regarded short terms for judges and the judical recall to be signs of evil omen, and wondered whether the common sense of the American people would prove sufficient to steer the country past the rocks towards which it is driving into a safe anchorage. The address of Judge Orlady of the Superior Court, the retiring president, commanded interested attention. The point was incidentally made that voting, like education, should be made com pulsory. In an address on "The Need for a Science of Law," Judge Edward Lindsey expressed the view that the multiplicity of new laws pouring from state and federal legislatures was the result of an heterogeneous population. Multi plicity made conformity to the law difficult, and evasion easy. Homo geneity, the judge argued, makes for the

enforcement of law. Because of the heterogeneous conditions in the United States, the judge contended, the en forcement of law was often a hard thing to accomplish. Obviously the Legislature of Penn sylvania, and not the Association, is responsible for blocking the reforms of procedure desired by the American Bar Association. William U. Hensel, as chairman of the Committee on Law Reform, reported that it had induced the Pennsylvania legislature to pass an act regarding pleas and responsive answers in equity, abolishing the rule that the averments of an answer must be overcome by the testimony of two witnesses or by the testimony of one witness with corroborating circumstance equivalent to another witness. But the committee regretted that an act similar to that of California, prohibiting judgments from being set aside or new trials granted unless the error com plained of had injuriously affected the substantial rights of the parties, could not be regarded as likely to pass the present legislature. On this point the committee said: "In view of the pre vailing popular and 'progressive' ten dency to severely criticise the bench and bar for delays in litigation by purely technical obstructions, it is especially regrettable that legislative bodies, zeal ous for reform, should not give some consideration to such salutary measures." The committee discussed a number of other acts which it had prepared, tending to simplicity and the avoidance of delay, but in view of the difficulty of securing their consideration by the present legislature it was recommended that they be not pressed until the legislative session of 1915. No affirmative action was called for on this report, nor on that of the Com mittee on Uniform State Laws.