Page:The Green Bag (1889–1914), Volume 25.pdf/85

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The Green Bag

essays and reports by legal authorities — practitioners, committees of bar asso ciations, and professors of law; but I was requested to report the observa tions and reflections of the unprofes sional public on this difficult and very serious subject, and to give as clear an account as possible of the anxieties, apprehensions and discontent of the ordinary person, intelligent arid patriotic, but ignorant about law and courts in view of the widening gap between the moral and material results of present

legal practice and procedure and the public conscience. This ordinary per son is not always wise, or always in a good mood; but in a democracy his state of mind needs to be carefully con sidered. I hope that I have correctly interpreted his opinions, his alarms, and his assurance of deliverance through the slow but sure working of free institu tions. The immediate duty of the American bar is to lead the way to a great legal reform.

Jurisprudence Not an Objective Science By the Editor AS Mr. Joseph W. Bingham says in the current issue of the Michigan Law Review, blurring of the notion of the nature of law is a hindrance to the betterment of our jurisprudence as well as to clear thinking on legal subjects. His examination of the question, "What is the Law?" 1 is an interesting attempt to clarify the subject, and is a strik ing recent contribution to the higher jurisprudence in this country. Believ ing as we do that the object of philo sophical investigation is to purge our thinking of visionary speculative con ceptions, rather than to indulge the dogmatizing tendency to which every human mind is predisposed, we feel ceive that Mr. someBingham's discussion.views may well rer Mr. Bingham contends that "the law" consists of actual and potential governmental sequences, of concrete phenomena which may be generalized into rules and principles. Law is thus '11 Michigan Law Review, 1 (Nov.). 109 (Dec), see 25 Green Bag 28.

the concrete operations and effects of government, and these are to be studied "by observation, report, inductive and deductive reasoning, and the other imple ments of scientific investigation." Law is thus conceived of as something objec tive, as a certain aspect of human society in action, and the jurist's attitude toward his special field would not be unlike that of the biologist or the naturalist. There is a want of precision in such a definition, but it is not to be accepted as a complete statement of its author's views. For he includes in his definition of law not only the foregoing objective material, but also past judi cial generalizations concerning the phe nomena. He conceives of laws as men tal processes in this sense, inasmuch, it would appear, as they are merely the reflection of the concrete sequences de scribed. Other generalizations than these actual ones of the past he excludes. It is apparent, on examination, that in treating past judicial generalizations as