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portioning the opinion work among seven men, might be able to dispose of the litigation of this state.
I only throw this out as a suggestion as this matter ought to be considered and discussed. I do not like the idea of having a departmental system at all. The greatest fault, it seems to me, to which Judge Burns gave expression, grows out of the nature of cases that can be taken to the Court of Appeals and the unnecessarily bulky records which now prevail. If we had a system like the Federal system, we could very much reduce the work of the appellate court.
I have not given the subject sufficient consideration to enable me to express an opinion on it.
Edward C. Stimson:
I wonder if it would not be possible to avoid some of the things that confront lawyers and litigants by giving the district judges together or in groups appellate jurisdiction in certain classes of cases. Was that considered at all in the committee?
Edward C. Stimson:
It has occurred to me that there are certain classes of cases that need not go into the court of last resort, but where there should be some provision for a review by a certain number of the district judges.
Henry F. May:
Yes, but it might do away with some of the objections that have been raised here if the two could go along together.
I would like to make this suggestion—now in some of the states, like New York, where there are divisions of the courts of appeal, there will be two special judges in one division, or three in another, or five, and they would be permanent divisions, departments. Now, there was, not exactly a rivalry, but a line of cases be decided by one division which would adhere to its opinions, and the same question perhaps in the other division decided somewhat differently and that division would adhere to its opinions, and in a certain sense a certain rivalry would arise and a certain chaotic condition as to what the law was would exist. Now this does not create departments in the sense that they are permanent divisions. We discussed this fully and I think this bill covers that point. In the hearing of a particular case it may be referred to a certain department that may consist of Judge Gabbert and Judge Goddard and Judge Campbell; the next case in that same department heard that same day may be heard by Judge Goddard, Judge Campbell and Judge Thompson, so that there is not a permanent division where one judge says “I belong to a certain department,” and a certain judge to a certain other department. It permits the court to get at its business in divisions. But it differs from all the departmental work referred to by Mr. Haynes.
Harry N. Haynes :
But in case three judges sit in a department, we will not have the judgment of seven men in that case.
We must assume that the Supreme Court will want to act in harmony with the theory of the bill, and that provides that rehearing on any important matters may be heard en banc. It simply permits the court to get through with a great number of cases. Now, there are a certain number of cases depending on the theory that the Supreme Court will not reverse the verdict of a jury if there is evidence to sustain it. Now all these things can as well be considered by the committee as by the whole court, and we
must assume that the court will in cases of magnitude or great public importance hear them en banc.
W. H. Bryant:
I will say in regard to Mr. IIaynes other suggestion about the New England states, the fact is that litigation in the New England states is on the decrease whereas in the western states it is on the increase, except here in our own county I understand it is on the decrease. In other states they seem to be adopting the department system; they have had it in New York for a number of years. They have it in Missouri, in California, and lately adopted it in Georgia, and it seems to work better than the intermediate appellate court, and that is the reason we thought this was the best recommendation we could make in this connection.
The new constitution of Kentucky prohibits intermediate appellate courts.
W. H. Bryant:
We leave it to the rule of the court because we think the court can do better for the bar than the legislature will do. If the bar finds fault with it the court will modify its rules.
The question is for the adoption of the report of the committee.
Motion put and carried unanimously.
Judge Gunter, chairman of the committee, requests me to suggest the propriety that a motion be carried authorizing the president to appoint a committee whose business it will be to attend to the getting of this bill before the legislature and securing its passage. I would therefore move that the chair appoint a committee of three to be hereafter named for that purpose, following out Judge Gunter's suggestion; and I will say in that connection that I suppose the bar generally will take an interest
in the matter, but that there ought to be somebody who shall have direct charge of that business.
Westbrook S. Decker:
I move to amend the motion by naming the Committee on Law Reform.
We have a provision now requiring the Supreme Court to deliver a written opinion on every point presented in a case. That requires a great deal of time it seems to me unnecessarily. A good many cases could go off without any opinion at all, and if this committee, when they come to present this matter to the legislature, would ask for the repeal of that provision of the code it seems to me that it would enable the court to expedite its business very much. Our constitution does not require it. There are constitutional provisions in some states. There are a great
. many cases where the only question is whether the verdict of the jury is sustained by the evidence. But it takes a great deal of time when there must be a written opinion in every case presented.
W. H. Bryant :
They could write an opinion in two lines if they wanted to. They could say, this case is controlled by such and such a case, and that would be the only opinion needed.
One of the bills that was before us had a provision in it that they might publish what opinions they wanted to and write opinions in such cases. We considered that and decided to let it remain as it is. My opinion was that the court ought to give a written opinion in every case, if it is not more than half a dozen lines. It directs attention to the point the case went off on in order to give attorneys an opportunity to review the opinions, al
though it may be a short line. I noticed one opinion delivered by Chief Justice Fuller of the United States Supreme Court, after stating some six or eight pages of facts, stated that "We ought not to be again called upon to pass upon this question,” citing numerous authorities. But we think the court ought to make a record of just what reasons operated in their mind. It does not follow that they should write an elaborate opinion. It doesn't need to be more than a dozen lines. That is the reason
we struck out that provision of the bill.
Lucius W. Hoyt:
This matter of law reform should be proceeded with in a conservative way, and therefore the committee have only presented this bill at this time. The committee does not think that this entirely covers the field; there is yet work for the Association to do in relieving the congested condition of the dockets of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals. At the next session of the legislature perhaps this association ought to present some legislative acts which will limit the right of appeal and in that way relieve the congested condition. But this is not to be undertaken at this time. It therefore seems to me, that if the members of the Association have ideas along that line, they should present them to our committee on law reform and let them in due time and with deliberation, be considering these matters and be prepared two years from now to present to the legislature some legislative acts that will help along in this movement. The action of to-day is only a step in the right direction.
If there is no further business I move we adjourn.
LUCIUS W. HOYT,