An Organized American Bar

Critical re-examination of the structure of the American Bar Association is a manifestation of the bar's anxiety for its collective welfare. The same sense of insecurity as to the profession's future has initiated in every state movements to strengthen bar associations either by incorporation or by federation of existing voluntary bodies. Bar association speeches drop the old tone of self approval and take on a tone of apprehension and uneasiness.

The Proposed Revision of Corporate Taxes

The honor and pleasure of speaking to the Young Democratic Club leads me to put aside the temptation to make the usual political speech and instead to present my personal views of President Roosevelt's proposed revision of the Federal tax on corporations. It is a living and important subject upon which there is much public confusion and not a little loose talking.

Business Confidence and Government Policy

I want to talk about one thing only tonight and to talk of that in the plain terms the subject calls for. I am going to speak of the responsibilities of the government, in its relations with business, for the general well-being of the country. We hear much of the willingness of business to cooperate with government. We hear also of the desire of business that the government take steps to promote business confidence.

Progress in Federal Judicial Administration

We have heard much discussion about the declining of prestige of the bar, and about the proper place of the lawyer in the leadership of his community, state, and nation. But there can be no denial that it is the duty of the lawyers to lead in affairs affecting the courts of the land. The lawyer is peculiarly qualified to judge their work and to deal out criticism where it is due- and to do it with fairness.

The Federal Prosecutor

It would probably be within the range of that exaggeration permitted in Washington to saw that assembled in this room is one of the most powerful peace-time forces known to our country. The prosecutor has more control over life, liberty, and reputation than any other person in America. His discretion is tremendous. He can have citizens investigated and, if he is that kind of person, he can have this done to the tune of public statements and veiled or unveiled intimations.

Commencement Address at Albany Law School

It was a generation ago when the Albany Law School charitably honored me with a diploma of graduation. The school was then housed in an ancient State Street building, reputed once to have been consecrated as a church. Its façade suggested a piety that was not fully sustained by the student body. It is a matter of pride to us, who will always remain in debt to the Albany Law School, that its intervening years have been marked by steadily improving facilities and advancing standards.

Full Faith and Credit

A namesake lecture in memory of Mr. Justice Cardozo is an undertaking of more than ordinary challenge to a Justice of a succeeding generation. Even choice of a fitting subject has difficulties. One related to the work of the Court on which he and I both have served might seem appropriate. But Judge Cardozo's most significant contributions to the law are not to be found in the reports of the Supreme Court. He was preeminently a devotee of the common law, while the Supreme Court has never been distinguished as a source of common law and during his time renounced independence of judgment as to what the common law is or should be in the class of cases that most often invoked it.(n2) Its preoccupation with constitutional law and statutory construction caused him some discontent which was not always concealed. He once said to me, "If you have a chance to go on the New York Court of Appeals, by all means do so. It is a great common law court, its problems are lawyers' problems. But the Supreme Court is occupied chiefly with statutory construction-which no man can make interesting-and with politics." Politics, I hasten to say, was used in the sense of policy, not of partisanship, and had no derogatory implications.

Jamestown High School Dedication

On Friday evening, November 15, 1935, Robert Jackson spoke at the dedication of the newly-constructed Jamestown High School building. His speech is contained in his papers in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., Box 32.

Statecraft Under a Written Constitution

On Tuesday evening, November 11, 1941 (Armistice Day), Justice Jackson delivered a lecture to assembled schoolboys in the Edith Memorial Chapel at The Lawrenceville School, a boarding school in central New Jersey. Jackson’s topics included the constitutional system in the United States of state and national governments, the importance of citizens understanding that complex federal system, and the role of public opinion in determining how government will function. Jackson’s speech demonstrates that he was still optimistic at this time, which turned out to be only one month before Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor and Germany’s declaration of war on the United States, that public opinion could exert control over any government (even Hitler’s) and prevent further war-making. Jackson’s speech, which “was generally acclaimed as the best heard here in a long time” according to the Lawrenceville School newspaper, subsequently was published in Men of Tomorrow: Nine Leaders Discuss the Problems of American Youth 51-67 (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1942) (Thomas H. Johnson, ed.). This collection contains, in addition to Jackson’s, Lawrenceville Forum lectures by Samuel Eliot Morison, Herbert Agar, Reinhold Niebuhr, James Phinney Baxter, John Erskine, Earnest A. Hooton, Arthur Krock and Pearl S. Buck.

Address to the Daughters of the American Revolution

It is interesting to see so many uncompromising conservatives assembled in memory of a revolution and to see many who a year ago almost shuddered at the thought of a mere change of administration gathered here to commemorate the birth of Washington, who overthrew the established government by bloodshed to give the American of his day a "New Deal". It is one of those strange traits of human nature that very often those strongest for ancestral revolts are strongest against present ones, those more ardent for the first revolution are most cold to the latest one.