Page:The Green Bag (1889–1914), Volume 25.pdf/492

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A Codified Private Law the One Remedy partial codes. If each branch or topic of the law shall be reduced to writing, eventually all our law will thus achieve full codification. Perhaps then the lack of coherence due to this piecemeal process would be remedied by welding a true code out of these many parts of a code. This method of codifying law a part at a time originated, as has been shown, in British India, whence it spread to England and America. It is the easiest — but not the best — way to achieve a full codification, because the movement is along the line of least resistance, and deals with the difficulties of only one legal topic at a time. The prospect of uniformity of state laws in the United States looks very promising on the surface. Sanctioned by the American Bar Association and ably executed by the Conference of Com missioners on Uniform state Laws, the promotion of uniformity of state legis lation by practically partial codifica tions has been greatly advanced during the past twenty years. Forty states have already adopted the uniform Nego tiable Instruments law,16 which was first published in 1896 and like many of the subsequent Uniform Acts was, as to its conception, borrowed from England. Twenty-three states now have a uniform Warehouse Receipts Act.16 Ten states already have a uniform Sales Act." Eight states have a uniform Bills of Lading Act.18 Six states have already adopted a uniform Foreign Wills Act.19 Five states have already adopted a uni form Stock Transfer Act.20 Four states now have a uniform Family Desertion

23 Green Bag 620 (Dec. 1911). First published 1906 : 23GreenBag, p. 620-1. "First published 1906: 23 Green Bag, 621. '•First published 1909, 23 Green Bag, 621. 23 Green Bag, 621. "First published 1909, 23 Green Bag, 621.


Act.21 There states now have a uniform Divorce Act.22 "And the outlook for continued strength of the movement for uniformity is exceedingly encourag ing," declares a recent President of the Conference of Commissioners on Uni form State Laws.23 The case for uni formity of American law via state legis lation and codification is apparently won — certainly from a superficial point of view. But what is the meaning of the follow ing observation made in the very next sentence of his article by this same President of the Conference of Commis sioners on Uniform State Laws — him self a strenuous advocate of uniformity via state action only? He says: "The business world begins to realize that there is only one alternative™ to an agree ment among the states upon matters of vital concern to all of them. . . . They must agree among themselves or the pressure of sentiment will cause amendments to the Federal Constitu tion that will still further minimize the importance of the states and jeopard the basic principle of local self-govern ment. Business has long since over leaped state lines."26 Right here crops out the fatal weak ness of any scheme for making one law for the United States via uniform state legislation: when once uniform laws or partial codifications are thus obtained, how long will these stay uniform? The answer is, just as long as the legisla•' 23 Green Bag, 621. » 23 Green Bag. p. 621. Moreover the Conference of Commissioners has drafted or has under con sideration these additional acts: a Uniform Child Labor Act, Uniform Marriage and Marriage License Act. Uniform Workmen's Compensation Act, Uniform Act as to Insurance, Uniform Act as to the Situs of Property for Taxation. "Smith, "The Outlook for Uniformity of Legis lation." 23 Green Bag, 621.

    • The italics are mine.

» Smith, "The Outlook for Uniformity," 23 Green Bag, 621-622.