Page:The Green Bag (1889–1914), Volume 25.pdf/451

This page needs to be proofread.


424

The Green Bag

of the kind ever held, was made a per manent feature of the annual sessions of the Association by vote, and will be known in future as the Judicial Section. Mr. Shelton, in addressing the con ference, urged in a striking manner the substantial good that may come out of these judicial conferences. Helplessness on the part of judges, in the face of the legislative restrictions by which their hands are tied, has too often, he said, been mistaken through ignorance of the public for indifference and even deliber ate wrong. The judges need to be freed by Congress so that they can work out the details of procedure with out interference, and Mr. Shelton made it clear that the time has come when the judges should place the responsi bility clearly on the shoulders of the legislative authority, recognizing that patient acquiescence on their part has ceased to be a virtue and has become a public menace. Lawyers throughout the country, said Mr. Shelton, have accepted the American Bar Association's program and agreed that the Supreme Court should be permitted by Congress to work out the problem. "There is no more use for differing court procedure amongst the states than for the use of differing languages." Mr. Shelton hoped the same benefit would be secured through friendly exchange of views by the judges of the various states as has come about in commercial intercourse between states; he hoped for a fixed system of interstate judicial relations similar to that of interstate commerce relations, and for a growing comity in the decisions of courts similar to that expressed in the uniform statutes thus far adopted by the states. The creation of the Judicial Section opens up new prospects and opportuni ties of fruitful activity, and relieves the monotony of the annual declaration of

committees that Congress has failed to enact the bills urged by the Association. Three such bills advocated by the Special Committee to Suggest Reme dies and Formulate Proposed Laws to Prevent Delay and Unnecessary Cost of Litigation have again failed of pas sage this year, though each has passed one house of Congress. The Technical Error bill, after being urged upon the attention of Congress year after year, still fails to receive the favorable atten tion to which its importance entitles it. The committee is able to point to hope ful developments in separate states, as it did last year, in the direction of limit ing appeals based on technical error, but Congress persists in an attitude that becomes harder to justify each year. The committee, which has long sought means of alleviating the evil of unneces sary appeals and new trials, also finds the situation presented by the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Slocum v. New York Life Ins. Co. (33 Sup. Ct. Rep. 523, see 25 Green Bag 274) remarkable, in view of the fact that there is no requirement that notice of a hearing involving the construction of the Constitution must be given to the Attorney-General, and a decision may be rendered on a constitutional point of great importance without any oppor tunity for argument on briefs. Mr. Wheeler, the chairman of the com mittee, in asking the Supreme Court for a rehearing of this case several weeks ago on behalf of the Association, then declared the granting of new trials in cases where it was decided as matter of law that either party had the right to judgment to be "one of the greatest abuses in the administration of justice." The committee has long advocated the entering of proper judgment on appeal without reversing and sending the case back for a new trial.