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to this body at its next session, in readiness for recommendation to the legislature, and that during the second year the services of the committee should be directed more particularly to supervision of the passage of those measures through the legislature, by acquainting members with their several provisions, and advising with the governor, if necessary, as to he propriety of the approval of the bills. A second suggestion has been, that the committee itself be enlarged to the number of nine, the appointees to be well distributed through the State, and that their term of service be extended to three years, one-third of the members going out every year, in this way to keep up a continuously established committee, who will not iose sight of measures already resolved upon and not yet fully secured.
Now in answer to all this, it is said that the duties thus suggested would be more than ought to be required of an ordinary practicing attorney without compensation, and the suggestion comes to the committee with a great deal of force, and they are not fully prepared to answer it; and while the committee is tolerably unanimous upon the necessity of having some central body of this kind to prepare measures for the legislature. yet they are not prepared to say that that duty ought to be imposed upon members of the profession without some compensation therefor. And hence we leave the matter just in that condition.
Another suggestion has been made, that if the committe had the means of employing a Secretary, who should for the time being be located at the State capital through sessions of the legislature, and whose business it would be to mature and superintend this class of legislation, much might be accomplished in that way. The committee, however, are not prepared to recommend the adoption of either of these measures, but simply suggest them for the consideration of the Association.
This leads us to another thought: whether our statute law is not in that condition wherein it would justify the appointment of a commission by law, with suffi. cient salary to command the best of talent, and whose term of service should be shorter or longer, according to the necessities of the case, to compare our statutes one with another, and eliminate, so far as possible, conflicting provisions. Now we all know, those of us who have followed the decisions of our courts of last resort, what a vast amount of time and labor is expended in the effort to reconcile apparently conflicting statutes. If we could have a commission of revision who would take the entire body of our statute law and thoroughly consider and digest it, comparing statute with statute, the statutes of our own State with the statutes of other States, and the decisions of our Supreme Court upon the validity of statutes and the construction of the constitution, and in this way eliminate all superfluous matter and bring the whole body of our statute law into one harmonious whole, it might well justify the expenditure of the time and money necessary to accomplish an object so desirable.
Another thought that has suggested itself to the committee is this : It is now twenty years, or nearly so, since our present constitution was adopted. Those of us who are in active practice scarcely realize the fact that we are settled down to a permanent working condition under that constitution, and the laws enacted in pursuance thereof. And yet we hear already the sound of a rustling in the public mind in favor of a convention to revise and amend, and probably to adopt, a new constitution. Whether such a measure is demanded or not we cannot tell, but a reference to history might show that we ought to be prepared to answer the question. From 1818, the time of the adoption of the first constitution, until the adoption of the second one in 1848, was only a period of thirty years. It looks like a very long period, to look back to it and to read the history of our State and the decisions inade under that constitution ; but thirty years, which are only the average, we may say, of one lawyer's practice, was all the time that elapsed from the adoption of the first to the adoption of the second constitution. Then succeeded a period of only fourteen years before the calling of another convention, and the people were again called upon to vote upon a new constitution, which, on that occasion, was defeated by the popular vote. Yet in only twenty-two years from the adoption of the constitution of 1848, the constitution of 1870 was adopted-the third constitution of the State. And now already a period of twenty years has elapsed, and we hear it suggested that the constitution of Illinois, as it exists at the present time, is not adequate to meet exigencies, and a call is already coming up for a new constitution. Now we, as members of this Association, and members of a profession who are expected, and rightly expected, to always take a leading part in such measures as these, ought to be prepared to answer intelligently whether or not a constitution is actually demanded at this time.
This, Mr. President and gentlemen, is about the substance of the paper I had prepared to read in a more formal way, and if it should come to light, I shall furnish it cheerfully to the Association, the contents of which I have now stated orally.
11. CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION OF THE SUPREME COURT. Upon motion of Mr. Raymond, the President was authorized and directed to appoint ten delegates to represent this Association at the Centennial Celebration of the Organization of the Supreme Court, to be held in the city of New York on February 4, 1890.
12. AMENDMENTS TO CONSTITUTION.
Mr. Payne moved the following amendment of Article XVIII, by adding thereto the provision, that
“Any member of this Association may withdraw therefrom, by written application to the Secretary for that purpose, and the payment of all annual dues accrued, and including the dues for the year in which such application is made.”
Mr. Wheeler moved an amendment to Article IX, by striking out the first sentence reading “The Committee on Law Reform shall consist of five members,” and inserting instead thereof the following:
“The Committee on Law Reform shall consist of nine members, to be appointed at this meeting, three of whom shall serve for one, three for two, and three for three years; and that at each annual meeting hereafter, three members shall be appointed in place of those retiring, who shall serve for three years."
Mr. Richberg moved that Article XVI, be amended to read as follows:
“There shall be an Annual Meeting of the Association, held at such time and place as the Executive Committee shall fix, in January of each year, and such adjourned meetings as the Association, by a vote of three-fourths of all present, may determine; and at any such adjourned meeting any business of the Association may be transacted, except the election of officers.
"Special meetings may be called at any time by the Executive Committee. At such special meetings no business shall be transacted, except such as shall be specified in the notice thereof. At every meeting of the Association, the presence of twenty-five members shall be necessary to constitute a quorum. At least one month's notice shall be given of the time fixed for the Annual Meeting.”
13. RELIEF OF UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT. The special committee, appointed at the last meeting, through Messrs. J. K. Edsall and S. S. Gregory, made report:
Your committee appointed to consider measures for the relief of the Supreme Court of the United States, under a resolution passed at the last meeting of the Association, beg leave to report, that in the opinion of your committee a Federal Appellate Court should be established, to which appeals can be prosecuted from the Circuit and District Courts, and from which, under proper restrictions, appeals should be allowed to the Supreme Court of the United States.
The members of the committee believe that this system is, on the whole, the most practicable and efficient that can be suggested. They do not undertake to recommend in detail how such courts should be constituted, nor to define the exact limit of their jurisdiction. They are of opinion that our experience in this State has been of a character to induce the members of this Association generally to concur in this proposition. At the time that our Appellate Courts were established, the docket of the Supreme Court of this State was much overcrowded, and its members very considerably over-worked. Since its adoption, this condition has been relieved, and the practical workings of the system are believed to have been highly satisfactory to the profession, and to the people of the State at large.
There is, in England, a similar intermediate court, called the Court of Appeal, to which appeals go from the courts having general jurisdiction, and from which appeals and writs of error are prosecuted in the House of Lords.
Your committee, therefore, recommend this as the most expedient and adequate remedy for the delay in the administration of justice, incident to the crowded condition of the Supreme Court Docket, and suggest that this Association accordingly, by resolution, express its approval thereof.
And thereupon the following, offered by Mr. Raymond, was adopted :
Resolved, That the President and Secretary of this Association, are hereby instructed to at once forward, on behalf of this Association, to the Senate and House of Representatives, in Congress assembled, a memorial, urging the speedy enactment of some measure for the relief of the Supreme Court of the United States.
14. LOCATION OF THE SUPREME COURT. At the request of the President of the Association, the Honorable John Dean Caton, of Chicago, the Honorable Benjamin R. Sheldon, of Rockford, the Honorable John M. Scott, of Bloomington, and the Honorable Lyman Trumbull, of Chicago, and who had for many years occupied seats upon the bench of the Supreme Court, were requested to express their views respecting the location and holding of the Supreme Court of the State, at one place only.
Pending the reading of the papers, the present Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, accepted the invitation of the Association, and were present at the reading of the following communications from the distinguished ex-justices named.
The paper of Judge Scott, read by that distinguished jurist, was as follows:
It is said that a general well founded opinion among the people on any question of public concern or needed reform, will ultimately produce conforming legislation. In a certain degree this proposition is correct. This fact warrants the discussion-perhaps the oft repeated discussion--of questions supposed to affect the public welfare. It is under the belief the public judgment thus created will ultimately become incorporated in general law, or at least in some way become a controlling influence in public affairs, that discussions constantly go on. It is seldom any needed reform is ever incorporated into the laws of the land, or into national polity, except after long continued and earnest discussion. In no other way can public interests be so well advanced. This thought justifies the frequent presentation to all concerned of the subject now before you, viz: the location of the Supreme Court. The Constitution declares "terms of the Supreme Court shall continue to be held in the present grand divisions at the several places now provided for holding the same." It is also provided "the present grand divisions shall be preserved and denominated Southern, Central, and Northern, until otherwise provided by law." In another clause it is declared the “times and places of holding said (Supreme) court may be changed by law." No one doubts that under these provisions of the Constitution, the General Assembly has power to require that all the terms of the Supreme Court shall be held at any designated place that may be fixed by law. The only question is, whether the exigency of the public business to be transacted in the Supreme Court, requires that its sessions should be held at one place. All that I propose to do is, to submit my own opinion on this question, and do not intend to elaborate it or to try to sustain it by any considerable illustration. It is doubtless true no one knows, (I am sure I do not), the views of the members of the Supreme Court upon the proposition to locate the Court at any particular place. Were their wishes in that respect known, I for one would most cheerfully concede they should, as a matter of course, control. It can not be said there is any warrant for the proposition they are either in favor or against any movement that may be made to locate the Court, if any shall be made. That leaves the question open for discussion as one of public policy. Althougth the matter has been subjected to some reflection, no plan has suggested itself against which no objections will lie. Doubtless great diversity of opinion exists both with the bench and the bar, as to how it should be done, and as to the practice that should be adopted in the event the Court should he located. Only a few suggestions will be ventured that have occurred in thinking on the subject.
There is one plan that has seemed to me to have many-perhaps more--considerations in its support than any other, and that is there should be but one term of court in each year. It matters little when it should commence. Usually the year for judicial labor begins about the 1st of October. It would be well to leave it largely to the discretion of the Court to adopt rules from time to time in regard to practice. It could be better done in that way than by positive Statutes. But some matters would necessarily have to be fixed by legislation, as, for instance, how and when appeals from, and writs of error to, inferior tribunals would lie. On this subject there would also be much difference of opinion among the bar. One thought ought always to be kept in mind--that is, it is desirable that both civil and criminal cases coming before the Supreme Court, should be disposed of as speedily as possible consistent with the due administration of the law. Sometimes delay in civil suits in this country, where values of property change so rapidly, amounts almost to a denial of justice. Whatever plan would seem to afford the greatest relief in this regard, should of course be adopted, all other things being equal. One plan having seemingly much in its support would be, as already suggested, is to provide by law for but one term of the Supreme Court in each year. That would render it necessary to provide also, by law, appeals should be taken and writs of error sued out without reference to the fact whether the Supreme Court was in session or not. That is, the appeal, for instance, should be taken simply to the “Supreme Court," and should stand for hearing in twenty or thirty days, or in any other time that might be deemed reasonable after the appeal shall have been perfected by giving the usual bond. In like manner a writ of error might be sued out, and the cause set for hearing in the Supreme Court in such reasonable time after service of process. Should this plan or practice be adopted, and the court remain continuously in session, as no doubt it would do, except on account of temporary adjournments, to dispose of accumulated business until it should adjourn at the end of the annual session-say the first of July in each year—there would be no necessity for stay-orders on filing petitions for rehearing, as the practice now is. In such cases the petition could be considered and disposed of at once, and the delay now occasioned by the present practice would be avoided, and the litigation would be sooner ended.
But the most marked advantage to follow from the plan proposed, would be observed in the early disposition that could be made of the criminal business that comes to the Supreme Court, as to a court of last resort. By the practice as now regulated by law, if the writ of error issued in a criminal case in the Northern Grand Division should be made a supersedeas by order of the court, or any judge in vacation at any time during or after the September term, in that division, the case could not be heard until the March term next thereafter. Much complaint is heard, and sometimes much censure in no wise just to the court is indulged, on account of what is thougt to be unreasonable delay in the disposition of criminal cases. It will be perceived it is not the fault of the court, but the delays in that class of cases arise out of defective laws on the subject—the remedy for which is alone with the legislative department of the State government. All this delay in criminal cases would be avoided if the plan now proposed, or some better one should be adopted. Criminal cases could then be heard in the Supreme Court in twenty or thirty days, or within any other time that might be thought to be reasonable after the issuing and service of process, or the suing out of a writ of error. It could be provided criminal business should have precedence over all civil suits pending in the court. The advantage to be secured in this respect alone would make it all important the sessions of the Supreme Court should be held at one place.
It might be thought best to fix two or more terms, as is now provided by law, shall be holden in the respective Grand Divisions, and to provide that appeals shall be taken to, and writs of error sued out to, the next succeeding term after taking or suing out the same. While some objections might be suggested to this plan, it would still be a vast improvement on the present system. It is possible it could be so provided, either by statute or rules of practice, that the beneficial results it is thought would be obtained by the one term plan suggested, could also be secured by the two or more term system. But how that can be done is not quite apparent. All this, and more of the details, however, are within the legislative discretion as shall be deemed best for the public interests. It is apparent, however, there should be but one court and one clerk. The theory of the constitution is, there is but one Supreme Court in the State, and whether holding its sessions at different localities, it is always the same court, It is an anomaly in our present system that one court should have three distinct clerks, each independent of the other. In this matter, private interest, if any exists, should give way to public welfare. Whatever plan would best conserve public convenence should be adopted. The great end to be attained in the administration of the law is to secure equal and exact justice to all citizens, and that as speedily as can be done consistently always with due deliberation and careful consideration. To enable them to accomplish this great work, the judges of the Supreme Court should be afforded every possible convenience, and whatever hinders or has a tendency to hinder their labors should be swept away.
There is another thing that may be suggested in this connection. If the Supreme Court should be required to hold its sessions at only one place, of course it should be at the capital of the State. In that event it would add greatly to the convenience for the transacting of public business, if a separate building should be constructed for the exclusive use of the Supreme Court, in which good rooms might be provided for each judge of the court, and where rooms thoroughly fire proof might be provided, for the safe keeping of the records and transcripts and other files now in the several divisions, and such as may accumulate hereafter. Much more space for this purpose is needed than has ever been set apart, in either division. No one who has never examined the matter has any idea of the immense amount of records,