Law and Politics: Occasional Papers of Felix Frankfurter, 1913-1938

By Archibald MacLeish; E. F. Prichard Jr. et al. | Go to book overview

Labor Injunctions Must Go

This selection appeared as an unsigned editorial in the New Republicfor September 27, 1922. It followed the issuance of a sweeping injunction by Judge James H. Wilkerson, of the United States District Court in Chicago, against the railway shopmen's strike.

NEVER in American history has an appeal by the government to the courts, ostensibly on behalf of "law and order," been received with such widespread condemnation as the injunction granted to Attorney General Daugherty at Chicago. Criticism does not abate with time nor with reflection. And never, to such an extent, have conservative organs like the New York Times and the Journal of Commerce joined in the outcry. That so powerful and responsible a paper as the New York World should deem Mr. Daugherty's conduct plausible ground for urging his impeachment is a measure of the depth to which the Attorney General has outraged American feeling. When it comes to criticism of its own, the legal profession, so far at least as represented by "the leaders of the bar," is a reticent priesthood. But so far as legal opinion has become articulate, it supports the popular condemnation. Senator Borah, himself a distinguished lawyer, voices publicly volumes of private legal protest. We have little doubt but that if the President of the American Bar Association, Mr. John W. Davis, were to take the public into his confidence, we should hear some pretty plain speaking.

Such wide and powerful condemnation, obviously, must be deeply grounded. No mere technical differences of opinion, no merely doubtful exercise of discretion can so fiercely and so abidingly stir public and professional feeling. The New York Times

-218-

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