23 APRIL 1937, Page 30


Mr. Lawrence has written a tract (Appleton, -2s.) . against the Roosevelt judicial " reforms," a tract whose inco- herence and inconsistency should have been beneath the talents of one of the most eminent American journalists. Good points can be made against the Roosevelt scheme, but few are made by Mr. Lawrence, and he hardly seems to notice the most obvious implications of some of his own arguments. For example, he points out, what is trite, that judges do not vote necessarily according to party affiliations, and that they may and do adopt lines of policy that conflict with the views of their political nominators. But surely this is to assert that whatever Mr. Roosevelt may think, his appointees will do as their predecessors have done from Joseph Story to Benjamin Cardozo ? The main charge against the Supreme Court majority is not that -it is dis- honest, but that its decisions; in some cases, are political, not political in the narrow sense, but in the wider sense, that they involve a decision 'on the desirability of legislation. Mr. Lawrence may not believe this, but the reader of some judgements based on " due process " who fails to see that, rightly or wrongly, the judges do, decide on other than ,purely legal grounds is fit to be a member of the Libel* League.