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REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON JUDICIAL
ADMINISTRATION AND LEGAL REFORM.
To The Ohio State Bar Association:
The Executive Committee has referred two questions to this committee for its consideration:
1. “Should the law for the non-partisan election of judges be repealed?"
The committee submits this question to the Association without recommendation.
At the time a separate ballot for judicial candidates became the law, nominations for all offices, executive, legislative and judicial, in state, county and municipal elections, were made by party conventions and the claim was made that party bosses dictated the nominations of our judges, as well as of all other officers. The opinion prevailed that this was true and so the separate ballot for judges was adopted.
Since that time all party conventions for nomination of candidates have been abolished and it is claimed that the reason for a separate ballot has passed away.
The argument is now made that the present system for the election of judges compels candidates for judicial office to take much more active part in campaigning than it did before. That “hustling” and publicity are required and qualifications for the office count little, for the studious, hard working lawyer with judicial temperament will not, ordinarily, go through a personal campaign to secure a judgeship, which, indeed, brings much honor and dignity, but ordinary remuneration.
Under the present system there is no responsibility for the selection of our judges—nobody to vouch for the candidates. This amounts to little in a small electorate, but in our congested districts, with numerous candidates, there is, necessarily, an unintelligent choice; the candidates are unknown to the great body of electors.
Those who favor a change in the law propose that names of judicial candidates be placed upon the regular party tickets, with a separate column for non-partisan candidates. Parties now nominate judges and it is claimed there is no good reason why their candidates should not go on the ticket as such. Likewise, non-partisan judicial candidates should be privileged to indicate on the ballot what they stand for.
2. “Should the jurisdiction of the State Supreme Court be enlarged and more accurately defined?"
We answer this question, “yes,” and suggest that the jurisdiction under the former constitution be restored so that the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction as now provided and “such appellate jurisdiction as may be provided by law.”
To this end we suggest the appointment of a committee to draft such amendment to be submitted to the people under Section 1-a of Article II of the Constitution, said committee to take charge of procuring signatures to the Initiative Petition.
3. We also recommend that a committee be appointed to draft and present to the next session of the legislature a bill providing for broadening and extending the supervising power of the chief justice of the supreme court over the various courts of the state to the end that there may be efficiency and uniformity in the administration of justice in Ohio. Respectfully submitted,
N. B. BILLINGSLEY,
THE PRESIDENT:—Under the rules this report will be laid over for discussion until tomorrow afternoon.
SIMEON M. JOHNSON, of Cincinnati:—I know Judge Winch is not to blame, but I think this is the first occasion as I recall that we have ever had a report from the Committee on Judicial Administration and Legal Reform that has not been printed, and I do trust that our Secretary, or whoever may have it in charge, will see to it that we have it printed in the future. There can be no intelligent discussion of any question unless there is the fullest possible publication of all the questions presented. The only way to get it and the only way to secure attendance at the Association meetings is to present vital, living questions before the Association, and the way to do that is to print the report of this Committee. I hope we may have in the future a printed report.
THE SECRETARY:—I do not know that there is anything before the House for discussion, but inasmuch as Mr. Johnson has referred to the Secretary, I want to say this: The Secretary cannot print any report unless a copy of the report comes to him. He is ready to print the report of any Committee at any time, even if he has only three or four days notice. My understanding is, however, that the Chairman of this particular Committee had great difficulty in getting the Committee together on several occasions and as a result the report was not ready so that it could be in the hands of your Secretary for printing. That is the reason that it has not been printed this year.
SIMEON M. JOHNSON:—I do not say it is chargeable to the Secretary. I do not think it is.
THE PRESIDENT: I think the statement of your Secretary is correct, for I personally have knowledge of those facts. Judge Billingsley lives not very far from me, and he has been away from home a great deal of the time.
The Committee on Legislation is next in order, Mr. C. C. Middleswart, Chairman.
THE SECRETARY:—The Chairman sent his report to me and it reads as follows:
REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON LEGISLATION.
To The Ohio State Bar Association:
SIRS—The following is a detailed report of the meetings had, business transacted and work done by your Committee since its appointment in August, 1918:
FIRST MEETING. Its first meeting was held at the Neil House, Columbus, Ohio, Saturday, November 30, 1918, at which, after some discussion of the different proposed legislation heretofore recommended by the State Bar Association, it was unanimously decided that the Committee use its best efforts to secure the passage at the coming session of the General Assembly of the following recommendation of the Association, adopted at its annual meeting in July, 1917, found in its annual report for that year, Volume XXXVIII, at pages 57 and 58, which recommendation is as follows:
We recommend that the Attorney General be empowered to supervise legislation and, in order to secure that result, that so much of Section 342-3 of the General Code (enacted 101 O. L., 144; repealed, 103 0. L., 860) as was embraced in the following quotation therefrom be re-enacted:
“At the convening of the General Assembly, and at such other times as he shall deem proper, the attorney-general shall make reports to the General Assembly of all acts that may have been found by him to be incorrect, or that may have been inconsistent with other acts, and also report acts that have been held unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. He shall prepare and submit to the General Assembly bills codifying such parts of the statutes as he shall deem necessary, and he shall make such other recommendations as to the codification of the laws as he shall deem to be for the best interests of the state.”
Further that the following provision be added to the proposed section:
“He shall at the request of any standing or special committee of either house of the General Assembly, or joint committee of both houses, forthwith examine any bill which may have been favorably considered by such committee with a view to recommending the passage thereof, and all amendments determined upon by such committee, and shall report to such committee such changes or amendments in the language of the General Code section numbers thereof as he may deem advisable in order to render such bill correct in phraseology, and consistent in substance with the laws which would remain in force if the bill as amended should become a law, as well as consistent in code numbering and chapter headings with the framework and arrangement of the General Code.
It was thought best to attempt to secure the enactment of the foregoing legislation into law for the reason that the same will be of great benefit to both lawyer and layman.
Hon. Freeman T. Eagleson, of Columbus, Ohio, former Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, was appointed as a committee of one, both to take up the enactment of the proposed legislation with the incoming Attorney General and to draft and secure the introduction and passage of a bill embodying the same.
Hon. U. C. DeFord, of Youngstown, Ohio, read a very interesting paper on the subject of amending the present corporation laws of this state so as to permit the organization of business corporations without fixing a par value for their capital stock, and for doing away with, whenever so desired, the words “The' and “Company,” which are now required to be used whenever an Ohio corporation is organized.
While this may appear new legislation in Ohio, yet in many states, corporations are permitted to be organized along the lines suggested, and in keeping with the modern trend of corporate legislation.
At present, many corporations that would like to organize in Ohio without fixing a par value for their capital stock are compelled to go to other states where this is permitted, and the Committee would be glad to have any suggestions or criticisms along the line of this contemplated legislation.
SECOND MEETING. Pursuant to the call of the Secretary of the Committee on Legislation of the Ohio State Bar Association, Hon. U. C. DeFord, the second meeting of said Committee was held at Room No. 15, the Neil House, Columbus, Ohio, at 7:00 P. M., Friday, January 10th, 1919.
The following members of the Committee were present: C. C. Middleswart, Chairman; U. C. DeFord, Secretary; Judge E. B. King, Judge Frank S. Taggart, and Hon. Freeman T. Eagleson.
The minutes of the last meeting of this Committee, held November 30, 1918, were read and approved.
Hon. Freeman T. Eagleson, who was appointed as a Committee of one, both to take up the enactment of the proposed legislation endorsed by this Committee at its last meeting, with the incoming Attorney General, and to draft and secure the introduction and passage of the Bill embodying the same, submitted to the Committee a Bill embodying the proposed legislation. Each member of the Committee was given a copy of the Bill, and after some discussion, it was decided that each member of the Committee present should write Eagleson any criticisms that he might have in regard to the Bill, and that as soon as the criticisms had been received by Eagleson, he would incorporate the same in a new Bill and have it introduced.
It was decided that this could not be done just now, for the reason that no announcement had been made of the personnel of the different Committees of the General Assembly.
In addition to the members of the Committee present, there were also present, Attorney General John G. Price, Assistant Attorney General Joseph I. Eagleson, Ensign N. Brown, President of the Ohio State Bar Association; Charles E. Blanchard, Secretary of the Ohio State Bar Association; Hon. Frank F. Dinsmore, of Cincinnati, Ohio and Hon. D. W. Iddings, of Dayton, Ohio.
Mr. Iddings, who is Chairman of the Committee to secure fewer law publications of the Ohio State Bar Association, reported that tentative arrangements had been made between the Ohio Law Reporter Company, the publishers of the Weekly Law Bulletin, Bobbs-Merrill Company, and The W. H. Anderson Company, whereby the reports of the Circuit Courts of Appeals of Ohio that are now being published by the Ohio Law Reporter