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chances of the individual applying for the writ of certiorari against the government applying for that writ are not to be mentioned in the same breath.
And finally, if I may say so as a native born and life-long resident of that community, we have a Bar that for respectability and for learning and for fidelity to the law yields the palm to none, and, whereas in the earlier days the practice before that high court was confined almost entirely to us, it has gone from us in view of the greater ease of communication that exists throughout the country now, until there is today among us a growing number of younger members of the Bar who will never have an opportunity to become acquainted with that great tribunal as lawyers practicing before it except in cases of appeal going up from our District; and with the clamor, which I thoroughly echo, of the threatened decadence of our profession from the high standards of learning and idealism that ought to characterize it, and thus far, thank God, have characterized it, I say it is of the utmost importance that this Association consider carefully whether it will deprive that portion of a very respectable Bar of the opportunity of the uplifting and the education and the holding up of the ideals of our profession that are to be acquired from contact with that great body—the Supreme Court of the United States.
I sincerely and earnestly trust, sir, speaking for my Bar as a unit, that this Association will declare that it is not within its function to adopt this report.
Is there further discussion upon this question, which is upon the adoption of the report of the Committee on Judicial Administration and Remedial Procedure?
Chapin Brown, of the District of Columbia :
I desire to add a few words to what has been so well said by my colleague from the District of Columbia, in order to show the Association the interest that the lawyers and the Bar Association of the District of Columbia manifest in this subject. Three dele
gates were appointed from the Bar Association of the District of Columbia to oppose the passage of the resolution recommended by this committee. As Mr. Davis has well said, it is a matter that requires careful and mature consideration. The report itself shows that the committee has not given the matter sufficient consideration to enable this Association to act intelligently upon the subject. Why, sir, the committee by this report is attempting to change a practice that has existed from the time of the foundation of the government at the City of Washington. From 1801, when the government was moved to the District of Columbia, this right of appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States and the right to have the Supreme Court of the United States interpret our laws has always existed. It has been suggested time and again that a change should be made, but such suggestions have always been made by those who have not known the conditions that surround litigation in the City of Washington. This report shows that it is ill-advised, because if this resolution is adopted it will broaden and not lessen appeals to the Supreme Court of the United States. Under the District code recently adopted full consideration was given by both houses of Congress to the question whether or not we should preserve the appeals to the Supreme Court of the United States. What have we here? We have a committee appointed for a special duty coming back to the Association and saying that they are not prepared to report upon the duty confided to them. And only five out of a committee of fifteen are making a report to this Association on a matter that was not referred to them. And what do they say? Without giving a hearing to those who are interested, and without notice to them this committee springs upon us at the last moment a proposed bill with the object of limiting our jurisdiction, and yet in effect really broadening it, for by the last part of the proposed act they say, “such writ of error or appeal shall be allowed in all cases where the Constitution of the United States or a treaty thereof or an act of Congress is brought in question and the right claimed is denied.” Without consideration they have said that where “an act of Congress is brought in question
and the right claimed is denied ” there shall be an appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States. If they had stopped to think they would have known that every statute in force in the District of Columbia is an act of Congress. Why, sir, this proposed bill would give us an appeal in almost every case. The act of Congress that adopted the laws of Maryland as in force in 1801 was an act of Congress, and, although it was a broad way of adopting those laws from Maryland, yet it was an act of Congress, and would entitle litigants to an appeal under the proposed bill, if any of the Maryland statutes thus adopted were brought in question or a right claimed thereunder were denied.
The change of a law so thoroughly established is a matter that should be very thoroughly considered. The law says now that in cases “in which is drawn in question the validity of a treaty or statute of, or an authority exercised under, the United States," then the right of appeal exists. That is, you have to attack the validity of it before you can appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States, which is a very difficult thing to do; and, in order to sustain your appeal, you have to do that. But, as has been well said, the District of Columbia is unique. It is unique in this, that it is United States territory. Congress has absolute jurisdiction over it. It has been said: “What is the Constitution among friends ? " Why, gentlemen, the Constitution does not apply to the District of Columbia as it does to the citizens of the states. Those provisions and amendments of the Constitution that apply to the states do not apply to the citizens of the District of Columbia, and many of the provisions and amendments which were intended to apply to citizens generally, do not apply to citizens of the District of Columbia. The Congress of the United States is given plenary powers over the District of Columbia. Here is one branch of the government, the Congressional branch, the legislative branch, passing the laws for the capital of the nation. Certainly it is fit and proper that the other branch of the government, the judicial branch, the Supreme Court of the United States, should pass upon those laws.
I could talk upon this subject indefinitely, and show why this report should not be adopted, but I will not trespass upon your time; I will simply say that it is impossible to give this subject the consideration it deserves in the limited time at our disposal at this meeting. I, therefore, move that the report be recommitted to the committee without recommendation by this Association.
The motion to recommit was seconded.
I submit that the question is not whether we are to take away from the Bar of the District of Columbia or the courts of the District any of the powers which they now have. If that were the question, it would be difficult for us in this Association to understand why appeals from the courts of the District of Columbia to the Supreme Court of the United States should stand on any different footing from that of appeals of inferior courts anywhere in the union to the Supreme Court of the United States. Already there are over fifty cases upon the docket of the Supreme Court of the United States, as I am informed, from the District of Columbia, thus interfering with the docket that concerns all the rest of the Union; and not one of those cases would have had any right upon that docket if it had been a case coming up from any other place in the United States.
All that this report does is to say that that question is of enough importance to demand consideration, and, therefore, recommends that it go to the Special Committee of Fifteen, a committee already appointed, who have it in their power to take up the question for consideration and solution.
I respectfully submit that the report of the committee is right and should be approved.
Henry E. Davis, of the District of Columbia :
I have been asked since I took my seat a question, the answer to which comes very appropriately after the remarks of the gentleman from Missouri, namely: What is the history of appeals of the kind that we are here considering in the Supreme Court of the United States as to number? During the sixteen years of the existence of our Court of Appeals there have been disposed of by the Supreme Court one hundred and fifty-three cases, an average of fewer than ten a year, and, allowing them the usually allotted time, they have occupied less than one week of each session of the Supreme Court of the United States.
But that, I respectfully submit, is not a matter that ought to influence this body of brother lawyers. I say that year in and year out we have successfully met this proposition or similar ones on our own heath. The reasons that we have advanced to the Congress of the United States and which have been persuasive, time forbids me from giving to you; but as one of you, a brother lawyer, I ask that you do not throw against us the weight of this Association—and this I say with all deference-in your ignorance of our situation, when we stand for a century right.
to recommit the report to the committee without any recommendation on the part of the Association. Is there further discussion of that question ?
Henry D. Estabrook, of New York:
It does not seem to me that our friends from the District of Columbia quite comprehend the nature of this report. I think Judge Spencer has stated it very moderately when he says that the sole purport of it is to call the attention of this Association to an important matter, a matter sufficiently important to be referred to the Special Committee of Fifteen, which has been chosen to consider this entire subject of the relief of the courts, especially in the matter of congested dockets. It seems to me that to that Special Committee of Fifteen could be more properly addressed the arguments that we have listened to here against the adoption of this report. Then, if that Committee of Fifteen shall report at the next annual meeting, recommending the passage of a bill in substance such as has been suggested here, why we can occupy the time to our hearts' content with debating whether or not the circumstances of the District of Columbia are sufficiently peculiar to warrant the extraordinary exception now made in its