Beelingo.com

English Audio Books

Philip Dru: Administrator

SPONSORED LINKS
<SPAN name="XXIX"></SPAN> <h1 align="center" style="margin-top: 2em;font-variant: small-caps">Chapter XXIX</h1> <h2 align="center" style="margin-top: 2em;font-variant: small-caps">The Reform of the Judiciary</h2> <p>Of his Council of Twelve, the Administrator placed one member in charge of each of the nine departments, and gave to the other three special work that was constantly arising.</p> <p>One of his advisers was a man of distinguished lineage, but who, in his early youth, had been compelled to struggle against those unhappy conditions that followed reconstruction in the South. His intellect and force of character had brought him success in his early manhood, and he was the masterful head of a university that, under his guidance, was soon to become one of the foremost in the world. He was a trained political economist, and had rare discernment in public affairs, therefore Dru leaned heavily upon him when he began to rehabilitate the Government.</p> <p>Dru used Selwyn&#8217;s unusual talents for organization and administration, in thoroughly overhauling the actual machinery of both Federal and State Governments. There was no doubt but that there was an enormous waste going on, and this he undertook to stop, for he felt sure that as much efficiency could be obtained at two-thirds the cost. One of his first acts as Administrator was to call together five great lawyers, who had no objectionable corporate or private practice, and give to them the task of defining the powers of all courts, both State and Federal.</p> <p>They were not only to remodel court procedure, but to eliminate such courts as were unnecessary. To this board he gave the further task of reconstructing the rules governing lawyers, their practice before the courts, their relations to their clients and the amount and character of their fees under given conditions.</p> <p>Under Dru&#8217;s instruction the commission was to limit the power of the courts to the extent that they could no longer pass upon the constitutionality of laws, their function being merely to decide, as between litigants, what the law was, as was the practice of all other civilized nations.</p> <p>Judges, both Federal and State, were to be appointed for life, subject to compulsory retirement at seventy, and to forced retirement at any time by a two-thirds vote of the House and a majority vote of the Senate. Their appointment was to be suggested by the President or Governor, as the case might be, and a majority vote of the House and a two-third vote of the Senate were necessary for confirmation.</p> <p>High salaries were to be paid, but the number of judges was to be largely decreased, perhaps by two-thirds. This would be possible, because the simplification of procedure and the curtailment of their powers would enormously lessen the amount of work to be done. Dru called the Board&#8217;s attention to the fact that England had about two hundred judges of all kinds, while there were some thirty-six hundred in the United States, and that the reversals by the English Courts were only about three per cent. of the reversals by the American Courts.</p> <p>The United States had, therefore, the most complicated, expensive and inadequate legal machinery of any civilized nation. Lawyers were no longer to be permitted to bring suits of doubtful character, and without facts and merit to sustain them. Hereafter it would be necessary for the attorney, and the client himself, to swear to the truth of the allegations submitted in their petitions of suits and briefs.</p> <p>If they could not show that they had good reason to believe that their cause was just, they would be subject to fines and imprisonment, besides being subject to damages by the defendant. Dru desired the Board on Legal Procedure and Judiciary to work out a fair and comprehensive system, based along the fundamental lines he had laid down, so that the people might be no longer ridden by either the law or the lawyer. It was his intention that no man was to be suggested for a judgeship or confirmed who was known to drink to excess, either regularly or periodically, or one who was known not to pay his personal debts, or had acted in a reprehensible manner either in private or in his public capacity as a lawyer.</p> <p>Any of these habits or actions occurring after appointment was to subject him to impeachment. Moreover, any judge who used his position to favor any individual or corporation, or who deviated from the path of even and exact justice for all, or who heckled a litigant, witness or attorney, or who treated them in an unnecessarily harsh or insulting manner, was to be, upon complaint duly attested to by reliable witnesses, tried for impeachment.</p> <p>The Administrator was positive in his determination to have the judiciary a most efficient bureau of the people, and to have it sufficiently well paid to obtain the best talent. He wanted it held in the highest esteem, and to have an appointment thereon considered one of the greatest honors of the Republic. To do this he knew it was necessary for its members to be able, honest, temperate and considerate.</p>
SPONSORED LINKS