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

By Felix Frankfurter; E. F. Prichard Jr. et al. | Go to book overview

The Same Mr. Taft

This selection appeared as an unsigned editorial in the New Republic for January 18, 1922.

The press greets Mr. Taft's appointment with almost universal acclaim. . . . The New Republic does not begrudge Mr. Taft this outpour of good-will. But the Chief Justiceship . . . is not a subject for mere good-nature. . . . Cases involving the social control allowed the states under the Fourteenth Amendment . . . will soon again call forth a clash of differing conceptions of policy and of the proper scope of the Court's ultimate veto power. Mr. Taft, even before he was one of its members, has been rather obsessed by the notion that the Supreme Court is a sacred priesthood immune from profane criticism. He is not likely to be more hospitable to criticism as the presiding Justice of the Court. But the New Republic cannot emphasize too often that the only safeguard against the terrible powers vested in the Supreme Court lies in continuous, informed and responsible criticism of the work of the Court. Only thus will it be able to function as a living organ of the national will and not as an obstructive force of scholastic legislation.

New Republic, July 27, 1921

ARIZONA became a state in 1912. Its first legislature was confronted with the task of formulating a civil code properly adapted to the needs of the people of Arizona. One of the most insistent and delicate problems was the just and effective settlement of industrial controversies. In case of a conflict between employer and employees what "legal rights" may be asserted and how should those rights be enforced? How much should be left to the pressure of public opinion, to enlightened self-interest, to the competition of economic forces, and how much should be dealt with by law, and what machinery should the law utilize

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