Page:The Green Bag (1889–1914), Volume 25.pdf/436

This page needs to be proofread.

The Legal World support and are not always ready to act with the intelligence and promptitude which measures of such importance deserve. We regret the clumsy outcome of the effort of Philadelphia to provide itself with a Municipal Court of a satisfactory model. While we do not wish to reflect on the soundness of the decision of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court holding the Five Judges Act unconstitutional, our faith in the infallibility of the Court's reasoning is weakened by the considera tions that the decision was reached by a closely divided court and that a supposedly competent committee of the Law Association, after careful re flection, had concluded the bill to meet all constitutional objections. Is there not slight possibility, at least, of a similar fate for the Municipal Court Act since adopted? Its constitutionality is by no means free from possible taint of suspicion. Assuming, however, that the Act will stand, we are not confident that the reforms desired can be satis factorily accomplished without abolish ing the Court of Common Pleas. The new act will no doubt work an improve ment, but it seems as if the next logical step would be to secure with little delay a constitutional amendment abolishing the Court of Common Pleas and leaving the whole subject of inferior courts and their jurisdiction to the legislature. Such matters involve fundamental issues of legislative efficiency. James Bryce, in his latest book of public ad dresses, lays stress on the need of com petent bill-drafting agencies. We are pleased to see indications that the idea in which Wisconsin was the pioneer in this country is making some headway. The Colorado Bar Association has adopted a resolution in favor of a billdrafting bureau. A committee of the United States Senate has reported favor


ably on the project, even though it will probably be years before a federal billdrafting bureau becomes possible. Supreme Court Justice Daniel F. Cohalan was exonerated by a com mittee of the New York legislature, but not in such a manner as completely to disarm the suspicions aroused by his strange transactions, while a practis ing lawyer, with Connolly. The New York Times summed up the matter as follows : "The broader moral of this miser able, sordid business is one that has a very direct bearing upon the man ner in which the judges of our courts are chosen. The acts charged by Connolly, the acts admitted by Judge Cohalan, are the familiar methods of the Tammany system. Such things have been going on for generations, they are going on now all about us. The influence of the politician is em ployed in behalf of the contractor or other person seeking to do business with the city. That is not the way in which honest service is got, not the way in which the city gets its money's worth. Yet by the appointment of Tammany these politicians mount to the bench, to the highest office of trust in the community. We persuade ourselves that we elect our judges. That is not true. In this judicial dis trict they are almost universally the appointees of Tammany. As a re ward for past service, and, what is infinitely more dangerous, in the hope of securing future service, there are offered to the suffrage of the people candidates morally, mentally, and professionally unfit to sit as judges. Twenty acquittals by the legislature would not take away from Justice Cohalan his bad eminence as a warn ing example of the evil and the dan ger of making judges in that way."