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question as to whether, in the selection of our highest and most important officers, we shall not place upon the bench Judges whose very character and capacity shall render unimportant the discussion of the question of judicial recall. If we choose judges whose character and capacity command the confidence and the allegiance of the entire community, the question of their recall will not be presented, but only a question about their re-election. Gentlemen, may we not hope that such a result may be obtained by and through the wise, harmonious, non-political cooperation of the entire Bar of the State? Have we a higher duty to perform than that of advising the community as to the capacity and character of judicial candidates, as to which, of course, no one can pretend to have the knowledge or the ability to advise that may be possessed by the Bar as a whole? By this I do not mean to say or to suggest that individual lawyers are without the ability or without the experience necessary to give suitable or influential advice as to the character of candidates. That is just our trouble. A man said to me the other day that government by lawyers had disappeared. I said, “Oh, no, that has not disappeared." If you go before committees, especially if you go before the committees of Congress, and especially if you go before the committee of the Senate of the United States, where our honored President has so distinguished himself, our State and our Association, you will there find lawyers, almost exclusively able lawyers. The idea that the representation of the people in the national Congress has deteriorated, in my opinion, is a great mistake. But these able and impressive lawyers exercise their influence individually, and because of their individual ability. The lawyers have not lost their part in government, but the Bar has. That lost influence of the
Bar is what we wish to restore. We wish to restore to its proper position of leadership our learned profession. In late years great progress has been made through the action of the American Bar Association, the State Bar Association that I have the honor to address, and the City Bar Association, which your President and I are glad to recognize, led the way before the formation of any other Bar Association. Now, can we not come together through our proper committees as a Bar to exercise our influence, not as lawyers alone, but as a Bar, to bring about a result which we must concede to be most desirable? If we are to exercise that influence we have got to exercise it before nominations are made. Let us have our part in the initiative, let us see that the germ of the idea is communicated to the several nominating bodies, and before anything has developed to interfere with its proper growth. I did not catch in the report whether the resolution was attached to it
Richard L. Hand, of Elizabethtown:
No, merely a desire for the opinion of the Association.
Francis Lynde Stetson, of New York:
I move that the Committee on Selection of Judicial Officers be authorized to communicate and to confer with the judiciary committee of the Bar Association of the City of York and with other organizations throughout the State with reference to the selection and the nomination of suitable judicial candidates.
Gentlemen, will you permit me, without leaving the chair, to suggest one practical consideration bearing upon this
subject. I do it because I happen to have been the presiding officer of the Republican State Convention last year, or 1910, and at that time there were two places about to become vacant in the Court of Appeals. One Democrat and one Republican were about to go out, and there was a universal disposition to settle amicably upon a succession of one Democrat and one Republican, and it was quite easy because of the two coming at the same time, and it was arranged with perfect simplicity by having the Republican convention nominate a Republican candidate and authorizing the chairman to appoint a committee with power to make the other nomination. So that some little time after the convention, when the Democratic convention met, they nominated a man of high character and ability to fill the other vacancy, and the committee of the Republican convention nominated the same man. Now, that was simple because everything was immediate. Now we have a situation where two Republicans, Judge Vann and Judge Haight, go out this year; Judge Gray and Judge Cullen next year, two Democrats, and while I do not doubt that the general disposition is to follow the same wise course, it is going to require some arrangement. It is going to require some discussion and meeting of minds upon a program which the two parties on whose tickets the candidates will probably be placed and elected, can adopt. If a program can be arranged it would seem as if the Bar itself is best adapted to lead the way in bringing the minds together and an assent to such a program. The interposition of the Bar may furnish the opportunity for doing what everyone, or almost everyone, is desirous of doing, but which would fail because without the interposition of the Bar there would not be anybody who had authority to go on and make the necessary arrangements.
William P. Goodelle, of Syracuse:
Mr. President, the question arises as to whether, under the constitution of this body, we have the power to criticise or take action until after the nomination has been actually made. My understanding is, and my understanding of Mr. Hand's report is, that he desires the expression of this body as to whether or not the committee shall take action before nominations have been actually made, because, as has been suggested, the time is always very short in which to take action after nomination is made and before election, and it is extremely desirable, it seems to me, to give that committee the power, that this convention at this meeting express itself by resolution, or by amendment to the constitution, that it shall take preliminary steps before any nominations have been made.
Francis Lynde Stetson, of New York:
My motion, if it may be read, distinctly states it shall be made before. I may say, that there may be no misunderstanding, that the committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York is going to begin right off and desires to confer with the Bar generally through the State. In 1881 we appointed a committee which sometimes acted before and sometimes after, but we made it perfectly clear this year. Our association is going on, and when I say ours, I am speaking of the Association of the City of New York, and it desires to act in co-operation with the Bar of the State of New York.
Richard L. Hand, of Elizabethtown:
Mr. President, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, as I understand it, has taken action. At least I have the report of its committee, which I suppose was
adopted. It is suggested that the judiciary committee be directed and empowered to communicate on its behalf and in its name with the New York State Bar Association, and other organizations, upon the subject of nominees for the Court of Appeals and for Justices of the Supreme Court and other judicial officers in this department (I suppose it is limited to the First Department and its judicial officers, because the city association would not be authorized to interfere outside of the city), and to conduct a thorough and systematic investigation of the qualifications of Judges and lawyers. That being the attitude of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, we are very glad it has taken that position, and would be very happy indeed to have the benefit of consultation and concerted action, and will proceed to take advantage of the opportunity thus afforded as a committee of the State Bar Association. What was in the mind of your committee in making this report was not at all the case where it had become practically the law of the State that proved, able, efficient judicial officers who are available for further term of service should be, almost uniformly, universally and as a matter of course, renominated by some arrangement and our influence exercised in that direction without fail, but now we are confronted by an entirely different class of cases, and as to which we very strongly desire the advice of the Association. This committee, I think I may say for it, has proved in the past that it has the courage of its convictions. This committee is ready and willing to assume any duties that may be imposed upon it; but the embarrassment arises from the fact, that when you attempt to interfere with the selection of judicial candidates, forestalling party conventions or their nominations, you get into a sea of trouble, it seems to me. If that, however, is the desire of the Asso