Our American Legal Philosophy

I am happy to share the hospitality of this occasion- not as a guest, but more nearly as a returned prodigal. When, over a quarter of a century ago, I became a member of this association, it was the expectation of serving for life at the bar of this state. I was lured away for a time from that strict course, although I cannot saw that I did much to prevent my seduction.

Rule of Law Among Nations

On April 13, 1945, Justice Robert H. Jackson delivered a speech at the annual meeting of the American Society of International Law in Washington D.C. This speech was given the day after the death of President Roosevelt. In the speech, The Rule of Law Among Nations, Jackson urged that any war crimes trials following the war be genuine, informed by due process and the rule of law, and not pruned proceedings, contrived to reach a designed end.

What Price “Due Process”

The  ease with which the foreign corporation is "doing business" within our state for the purpose of trade, and at the same time manages not to be doing business so as to be sued here, is attested by the number of cases in which service of process is nullified. How many cases are abandoned by counsel before suit can only be guessed at.

A Progressive Democracy

On Sunday evening, January 19, 1941 (Inauguration Eve), Attorney General Robert H. Jackson was scheduled to give the following keynote speech at a Washington, D.C., gala dinner for the presidential electors. The Democratic Party sought to feature Jackson, one of its brightest young (age 48) stars and future presidential prospects, before this large, particularly significant national political audience. Jackson, assigned to speak about “A Progressive Democracy,” wrote his own speech for the occasion – as he almost always did – but when the evening arrived, Jackson could not participate due to illness. His friend and colleague, Solicitor General Francis Biddle, instead delivered Jackson’s speech at Washington’s Mayflower Hotel to a crowd of more than 1,500 guests, including the 531 electors, Cabinet members, Members of Congress and State Governors. A Department of Justice press release copy of Jackson’s speech is contained in his papers in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., Box 41.

Introductory Address to the Bureau of Internal Revenue Legal Office

In first the meeting the entire legal staff of what is said to be the largest law office in the world, I must make a confession and perhaps do penance. I have never before been in the Government service and have never specialized in the practice of law before its Executive of Legislative Departments. I confess I have had the conventional attitude among those who are rather far removed from the government service. It seemed to me that the government service was a place where all matters met with interminable delay without much effort to close them up; where the character of the service they received was of doubtful competency and indifferent character.  

Address to the New York State Democratic Party

It is appropriate that the National Administration should be considered here because New York State has been the very cradle of progressive, liberal and humanitarian democracy. That cradle has been rocked by three great governors, and it has been an inspiration to the party throughout the nation to throw off the forces of reaction and to move toward a progress that would have significance to the average man.

Your Business and Your Government

I am glad to discuss the relations of business and government before business men of Rochester because the experience of no city better illustrates what I want to talk about. There is no better illustration of the kind of business which this nation ought to foster than the kind of business you have fostered here. And there is no better illustration of the kind of business that is a menace to the United States than the kind of business which you do not encourage in Rochester.

Briefless Barristers and Lawyerless Clients

No greater misfortune can befall us than to have our leading lawyers become so preoccupied with individual practice that they fail to recognize difficulties gathering for the whole profession. Something like this has happened to the medical profession and may well be happening to lawyers.

Business and Government Have Worked Together

I once knew a smart lawyer who always took his well-to-do clients to court dressed up in their old clothes. He thought that got sympathy from the jury. I recognize the same tactics in some of the smart lawyer-candidates who are trying to dress up their political contributors in old clothes to get the sympathy of the voters this fall.

Indifference to Our History

While the daily conduct of the war is not within the special competence of lawyers and judges, the factors that have slowed the democratic response to the challenge of war is something with which we may usefully concern ourselves.