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Thomas E. Barkworth

Thomas E. Barkworth image
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jTo Ilon. John Mlnev. president, ;ml Hou. Chas. A. Waril, secretary, lemeratic State conveuüon: Iu accepting the nomination for jnstk-e oí' the süpreme court, tendered by the recent state convent ion. I do not (leem it jrnpróper to coniiüeüt upon eertain phases of the contest thus inaugnrated and as far as I may be able in a brief spáce to outline nty views pespeeting the proper limit of divefgent economie policies as ftffecting thé exercise of judicial funetions. Let me. however, first thank the convention for the honor conferred by the nomination. This is no wise lessened by the high mental and moral attainuients of nij' distinguisbed opponent. But vmless our eonstitution is fundameutally defective, the personal cháracteristies of the candida te do not fiirnish the only mensure of his ness. The views of the people ou economie subjects are just as certainly refleeted in the decisíoñs of our eourts as iu legislative eüactmeats or executive decrees, Opposing schools of thought lind expressiou in the application of old mies to new coiulHions. Xot in cUsregard of precedent, nor in coutravention of those basic principies of justiee whieh. uo lionest .iiulire will disregard, but in 1he blazlng of new paths made necessary by the ever increasing complications of our social and industrial systems. To quote Trom the argument of Judge Gfrant, l'avoring the establishment of an intermedíate coúrt: '"The popnlatlon of the state has largely incr.eased and new and vital questjons of governnient have come up. The rapid incyease in miles of railroads. elettric railways, telegraph and telephone lines, has given rise to new questions of law and lias creatly increased lltigatlon." I think it will be universally conceded ttaat in addition to this statement it' can be truthfully said that great íions of capital seeking to monopolize, m a manner heretoforé unknown, nearly all the industrial resources of r.he land, aro heing rapidly formed. That these tnonopolistic trusts are ereated and must be controlíed by tlie aw. That new jprecédents musí be established and rulos laid down for their regulation. That whctht-r thoy shall be used to promote jfhe comuion prosperity or to un.jusdy divert the rewards of labor wili be iargely depeüdeut upou the coiiriK. Thnt loone class of our pcople 1 líese trusts presen! do meuace but are an encouingiiií: siun of real progress, lo lie Eostered and lided as a grcat oconoiiiy in industrial processes. That to nuptüer, clas-s UndevelopmcDt of tliese agencies preents a problein propnant with exceedngly dangerous possihilities. It cannot be said tliat this diver.srince pre.ents a wtiolly páríísán miesion, for very many of those díft'eriiiií 'rom us ou otlier points are ín enire accord with us ín adhereuce to tlie atter idea, while doubtless memjiers of oiïr party are. oa thé other lïrtuü, desirous th.-u tender epiiKideraüon sliall toe üsefl toward" these uions. But the party i to be cotrgrVmiited on the positiye declaratioas made y the cpiivention on tliis subject. I lave no hesit;iii-y 11 placiug niyself mequivocally nmong tliose wlío ïook vith graxe concern u])on tliesé iinjusty aggressire movements. I cutmot rinjc niyself to view witli couiplaeency the rapirt advance of tlie dor-trine, of prosjierity by peiolilioh! "1 believe that tlie absoluto control rf our industrial aetmties by a few individuáis will in tlíe eud mean their ltixurious existence wfiile the prodiuing masses sustain life under .1 luimUJating patronage. . I.anded feulalism ivith ifa vassalacie aiifl senii-slavory will be practically re-produeed in a like (.ondition of industrial .serídoin. If this shall bc the end of 'corpóiate endeavor the ppople ttÏÏI' be self onslaved. The laws of trade. are not superior to the laws of man in this conneetion. Every step in securing tlie advantage of capital has been by ular contant. The caréless enactmeitt, the easy construct on, the loose enforcement of the law havo made it possible. Will wqrn out issues and party traditions continue to aid oppression and foster (nequality? But is this argument pertinent to the issue involved. viz., tile élec.tion of a state judicial officer? ir opinions may properly affect the uterpi-etation of the law, we must aduiit iis pertiuency. And üpon ihis point there can bc rio dispute. Judgo C'ooley. certainly an authority on the eonstitutional powers of the courts. says: "Those beneficia] maxlms of the co"iiimon law whicli guard person and propeity have grown and expanded vratll they mean vastly more to us thaii they did to ancestors. and are more minute, particular, and pervading in their protections; and we may eonfidently look forward in the Allure to still furtber niocHfications. Public sentiment and action effect sucli changos and the courts rocognize them." The niaxims alluded 1o by tne eminent autiior are those unwritten provisious whicta are peculiar!? within the keeping of the toiirts. Which direction shall the trend of authority takeV Toward the proteetion of the individual, wbose privileges and opportunities are b'elbg trenched pon, or to the enlargemeol of the iield of eonqnest in wbicli the advanee of eorporate dominion is marked by dopreciated manhood and diminishing opportunity? Let the test of free suffrage decide. The use of genera!, Instead of special, laws forthe creation of corporations has within the last fifty years Increaaed the duties of the courts in connection with the powers of these artificial beings. The change corrocted very great evils arising from improvident legislaüon, but the pressure for greater udvantagoi was not lessened. Botn coirrts and legislatures are constaatly urged in dlsregard of the spirit oL the cotumon law to assimilate tho powors of thest orgíiimations to tTiocp of natural persons. Indeed in soine nntíinoep superior rights are claiiaed tfiul yielded. The nature f eorporatious and tlic vastness of the pwer tliey sonietimes oxert justify the rule of strict construct ion ;is uecessary to the prstectipn of the public interest, lf Is diftínctively i matter of state rather tha-n ii;Uioii:il interest. W'liilc wilh souir issues our siaii ti'lbuiinls Iimvc no concern, (lic privileges and pestrjctions of corpora t io ns. bullí dómestio and ftit'eign. are aluiost eutirel.v witüifl stn.ic control. Xo matter wlíere eharterwl, no rights ilian those f property and ordíüary Bomuierce t'Nt save as conCcrrcTl by the Rtatlltps and .iudicial decísious oí tbc stilte wht'iv operatioüi? are sougjit to be ponduoted. Whetlier mlndfuj ni frccdoin or subservient tu a subtle alia 'aggressive foe, our status is within our power to lix. The soim-e of our store oí maxinis is the coriimon law of England. Does anvone tion tliat the sentiment wbieli proi duced and applied these iuaxiins there, ; approved emphatically and porsistenilv of the friendly attitude firsi mentioned? ls i ho sentiment obtaíning in that plutocratiír'land'tüe giuding star for Michigan interpretación? ín like manner the relation lietweeu eniployer and employé might be discussed. ln England ;is late as thé ejghteenth i century laws were in forcé prohibling I employers from paying more than an ' established wage to labor, and nntil 18(7 violattons of contract byeinployes Avcrc puuished by imprisonment. Can maxinis formulated ainid siu-h eqnditions furnish safe guidanee in deyelöpïng the industrial systena of frée America? Ought favor to be giveri to the soulless personatity organized to ■ago an unequal comba t or the pulsáting lieart of a man? Yit the law is rightly solicitous for one or the otlicr, and the courts in iiüs t-ontest, accoi'ding to Judge Cooley, properly rcileci public s.entímen( in the grovth xu expansión of its protection? 1 un glád tlïai no profestations of nihic are nèéded tp determine my rela i ion to Tiiose questjons. My record in the politics of the state can be eönftdently appealed to iiy my friends. Believing in tho propio, jealous of aiiy attack upon individual liberty. T liavo soughi to sulimii tó tlio arbitrainent of cönstitutional riiriit ev.ery qüéstion aiffectilig tlirongb my action Üie social or industrial status of the citlzea. If elevated by tlie súffrage oí the people to this responsible position 1 sliall endeavor to know no distinctlon of person but aliko to ï-ich and poor méte out even liandod justice. But 1 sliall surely recógnize the rapidty erystalizing sentiment against further exténding power and privilege to the artificial creatures who have sö nearly outgrown thelr creator. Wlxatevér the result of the canvasg I enter it witli Jionorable desire tav the welfare of the state and hope to emorgo i'roin it witli au increased nieasure of yonr respect. Very respect fully.