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NOTE.-Addresses by the Attorney General, the President of the American Bar Association, and the Chief Justice were entertained. The Court then proceeded to admit seven attorneys to practice as members of the bar and to hear certain motions and arguments of counsel in cases.

Proclamation being made the Court is adjourned until tomorrow at 12 o'clock.

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The bar of the Supreme Court, including those who here represent the executive branch of the government, desires to observe with you the one hundred fiftieth anniversary of this court's service. We do so in a spirit of rededication to the great principles of freedom and order which come to life in your judgments.

The court, as we know it, could hardly have been foreseen from its beginnings. When it first convened, no one seemed in immediate need of its appellate process, and it adjourned to await the perpetration of errors by lower courts. Errors were, of course, soon forthcoming. The justices who sat upon the bench, although not themselves aged, were older than the court itself. The duration of an argument was then measured in days instead of hours. All questions were open ones, and neither the statesmanship of the justices nor the imagination of the advocate was confined by the ruling case. Some philosophers have so feared the weight of tradition as to assert that happy are a people who have no history. We, however, may at least believe that there was some happiness in belonging to a bar that had little occasion to distinguish precedents or in sitting. upon a court that could not be invited to overrule itself. Few tribunals have had greater opportunity for original and constructive work, and none ever seized opportunity with more daring and wisdom.

From the very beginning the duties of the court required it, by interpretation of the Constitution, to settle doubts which the framers themselves had been unable to resolve. Luther Martin in his great plea in McCulloch v. Maryland was not only an advocate but a witness of what had been and a prophet of things to come. He said: “The whole of this subject of taxation is full of difficulties, which the Convention found it impossible to solve in a manner entirely satisfactory.” Thus, controversies so delicate that the framers would have risked their unity if an answer had been forced were bequeathed to this court. During its early days it had the aid of counsel who expounded the Constitution from intimate and personal experience in its making. They knew that to get acceptance of its fundamental design for government many controversial details were left to be filled in from time to time by the wisdom of those who were to follow. This knowledge made them bold.

The passing of John Marshall marked the passing of that phase of the court's experience. Thereafter the Constitution became less a living and contemporary thing more and more a tradition. The work of the court became less an exposition of its text and setting and purposes and became more largely a study of what later men had said about it. The Constitution was less resorted to for deciding cases, and cases were more resorted to for deciding about the Constitution. This was the inevitable consequence of accumulating a body of judicial experience and opinion which the legal profession would regard as precedents.

It would, I am persuaded, be a mistake to regard the work of the court of our own time as either less important or less constructive than that of its earlier days. It is perhaps more difficult to revise an old doctrine to fit changed conditions than to write a new doctrine on a clean slate. But, as the underlying structure of society shifts,


ATTORNEY GENERAL Jackson's Address

721 its law must be reviewed and rewritten in terms of current conditions if it is not to be a dead science.

In this sense, this age is one of founding fathers to those who follow. Of course, they will reexamine the work of this day, and some will be rejected. Time will no doubt disclose that sometimes when our generation thinks it is correcting a mistake of the past, it is really only substituting one of its own. But the greater number of your judgments become a part of the basic philosophy on which a future society will adjust its conflicts.

We who strive at your bar venture to think ourselves also in some measure consecreated to the task of administering justice. Recent opinions have reminded us that the initiative in reconsidering legal doctrine should come from an adequate challenge by counsel. Lawyers are close to the concrete consequences upon daily life of the pronouncements of this court. It is for us to bring the cases and to present for your corrective action any wrongs and injustices that result from operation of the law.

However well the court and its bar may discharge their tasks, the destiny of this court is inseparably linked to the fate of our democratic system of representative government. Judicial functions, as we have evolved them, can be discharged only in that kind of society which is willing to submit its conflicts to adjudication and to subordinate power to reason. The future of the court may depend more upon the competence of the executive and legislative branches of government to solve their problems adequately and in time than upon the merit which is its own. There seems no likelihood that the tensions and conflicts of our society are to decrease. Time increases the disparity between underlying economic and social conditions, in response to which our federation was fashioned, and those in which it must function. Adjustment grows more urgent, more extensive, and more delicate. I see no reason to doubt that the problems of the next half century will test the wisdom and courage of this court as severely as any half century of its existence.

In a system which makes legal questions of many matters that other nations treat as policy questions, the bench and the bar share an inescapable responsibility for fostering social and cultural attitudes which sustain a free and just government. Our jurisprudence is distinctive in that every great movement in American history has produced a leading case in this court. Ultimately, in some form of litigation, each underlying opposition and unrest in our society finds its way to this judgment seat. Here, conflicts were reconciled or, sometimes, unhappily, intensified. In this forum will be heard the



unending contentions between liberty and authority, between progress and stability, between property rights and personal rights, and between those forces defined by James Bryce as centrifugal and centripetal, and whose struggle he declared made up most of history. The judgments and opinions of this court deeply penetrate the intellectual life of the nation. This court is more than an arbiter of cases and controversies. It is the custodian of a culture and is the protector of a philosophy of equal rights, of civil liberty, of tolerance, and of trusteeship of political and economic power, general acceptance of which gives us a basic national unity. Without it our representative system would be impossible.

Lord Balfour made an observation about British government, equally applicable to American, and expressed a hope that we may well share, when he wrote: “Our alternating Cabinets, though belonging to different parties, have never differed about the foundation of society, and it is evident that our whole political machinery presupposes a people so fundamentally as one that they can afford to bicker; and so sure of their own moderation that they are not dangerously disturbed by the never-ending din of political conflict. May it al

ways be so.”




I appreciate this opportunity, which has been accorded to me as the representative of the American Bar Association, to participate in this commemoration of the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the first session of this honorable court.

It is most fitting that this event should be commemorated. Its commemoration may well serve to recall to the minds of the American people the purposes of the founders of our national government, and the part, in the fulfillment of those purposes, that this court was intended to take, has taken, and will take in the years to come. And this commemoration may well serve, further, to challenge the American people to dedicate themselves anew to the fulfillment of those purposes.

In the preamble of our Constitution, its framers recited the purposes to attain which the Constitution was to be ordained and established. In this recital, the purpose to “establish Justice” is second only to the purpose "to form a more perfect Union.”




Daniel Webster reminds us that justice is "the ligament that holds civilized beings together,” and “the greatest interest of man on earth.” To the end that they might “establish Justice,” to the end that they might provide "the ligament that holds civilized beings together," to the end that they might strengthen the foundation of civilization on the North American continent, and to the end that they might serve “the greatest interest of man on earth,” the framers of the Constitution provided therein for a federal judiciary, with this court as its head, to administer "justice" under and pursuant to law. In the words of President Washington this court was intended to be “the keystone of our political fabric.” And it was intended to be the protector of our Constitution and of the inalienable rights of a free people.

Gladstone's characterization of our Constitution as "the most wonderful product ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man” is justified by the fact that, for 150 years, this court has approached, as near as any human institution might well be expected to approach, the fulfillment of the purpose of the framers of the Constitution, to "establish Justice" for the American people. We may properly take pride in the extent to which this court has approached that fulfillment, realizing as we do, as Addison reminds us that to be just "to the utmost of our abilities is the glory of man,” and that “to be perfectly just is an attribute of the Divine nature."

Not only is it permissible on this occasion for us to recall that this court is a human institution, but it is also desirable for the American people to recall on this occasion that this human institution will endure, and that justice, under and pursuant to law, will be preserved for the American people, only so long as the American people, by their alertness, fidelity, and sanity, cause them to be preserved and to endure. For there are forces at work in the world today that are inimical to the continued fulfillment by this court of the purpose for which it was created.

As a result of the workings of these forces in substantial parts of the world, national temples of justice are no longer honored or worthy of honor, and international morality and law are giving ground to international immorality and anarchy. And many hundreds of millions of people are engaged in war, seeking to settle their differences not according to justice but by force—by the use of a means that is calculated to bring victory to the strongest or to the most unscrupulous of the contending peoples, wholly regardless of justice.

And even within our own borders, there are forces at work that

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