Contempt of Court in Labor Injunction Cases

By Cleon Oliphant Swayzee | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI
SUGGESTIONS AND CONCLUSION

The Case for Reclassification and Revision . If we assume that the power to punish for contempt is not "a mystical emanation inhering in the unique nature of the court",1 and if we assume also that there is a very real danger, as expressed in the case of Craig v. Hecht,2 that the courts contemned may abuse their power to punish, a suggestion for re-classification of contempts and revision of contempt procedure may not be out of order.

The present classification of contempts is unsatisfactory because the basis for the classification, i. e., the party to whom the injury is done, allows no sharp lines of distinction to be drawn between the two classes. The present procedure is unsatisfactory because it allows the determination of guilt to rest with one man, in many cases the one whose order is alleged to have been contemned, a practice running counter to early common law procedure and against the rights and interests of parties whose liberty and property may be endangered.

Reverting then to something more nearly like the practice in the purely common law period and more in harmony with American institutions, all contempts might better be treated as misdemeanors, and within this broad class two subdivisions made on the basis of the place at which the contempt was committed. Obviously the treatment of contempts committed within the actual view of the courts might

____________________
1
Frankfurter and Landis, "Power to Regulate Contempts," 37 Harvard Law Review, 1022, ( June 1924).
2
263 U. S. 255, ( 1923).

-111-

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