Skip to main content

Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

See other formats

manent relation can be established between them as electors
and the judge as elected.
The term and tenure of office are equally if not more im-
Term of judge's portant.    It is now so fixed a principle that the
office-               -judge shall hold office qitamdiuse bene gesserit>
and not durante bene placito—a principle which has been de-
monstrated as far as experience can demonstrate, by English
history—that we may spare all words on the subject. He is
indeed responsible for the use of his power of decision and
for the motives of his judicial acts; and every misdeed com-
mitted by him ought to be punishable more heavily than
those of any other public officers. He should be subject to
impeachment, degradation from office, or loss of citizenship;
while heavier crimes, such as bribery, might well bring on him
a heavier penalty, such as perpetual imprisonment. For he
of all public officers knows best what crime is, and has to do
continually with moral principles-.
The question arises here whether there ought to be a super-
annuation for a judge, or term of age beyond which he can-
not serve. And here two considerations meet us, the first
that judgment, the quality most important for the judge, is one
of the last powers to fail, and the other that different men
begin to fail at different periods of life. There has been no
time fixed in the provisions of state constitutions for superan-
nuation as there is none in the constitutions of different men.
In most of the United States seventy, in a few, sixty years
have closed a judicial life ; in the general constitution there is
no term at all. It is a curious circumstance that one of the
greatest jurists we have ever had in the United States, Chan-
cellor Kent, became superannuated at sixty under the then
existing constitution of New York, after which he fulfilled the
duties of a professor of law and wrote his four volumes of
commentaries. That was fcertainly a happy constitutional
folly which forced him into a sphere where he was to become
the instructor of thousands in all the states of the union.
On the whole, considering that the tendency of old age is
to cling to the past, and to be slow to receive improvements