Interview on Judge Cooley.
Judge Cooley, of Michigan, president of the American Bar Association, in addressing that body at Saratoga, criticised Gov. Altgeld for protesting against the action of President Cleveland in sending federal troops to Chicago during the strikes. Upon being interviewed on the judge's criticism the governor replied as follows:
Judge Cooley's reputation is liable to have an injustice done it unless the people will discriminate between the real Cooley and the later Cooley. In addressing the bar association he was in the position of a fashionable preacher who, if he wished to be popular with his audience, must cater to its tastes. The American Bar Association is a small body of men, most of whom have corporations for clients. They are shrewd and able men who know where fat fees come from. A lawyer whose clients are poor could not afford to go to Saratoga
419and have a good time and attend a bar meeting. Judge Cooley's utterance there must be taken with some others recently made, and the question is, how much importance attaches to them simply because they come from Cooley? Nearly thirty years ago, when Judge Cooley was in his prime, when he was a teacher in the Ann Arbor law school, he wrote a book on constitutional law which was an able work and gave him a reputation. In this work he points out the limitations upon the federal government and calls attention to the constant danger that tree institutions are in from the encroachment of a central power through the agency of a standing army. Among other things he says:
A standing army is peculiarly obnoxious to any free government and is more dreaded by the people as an instrument of oppression than a tyrannical monarch of any foreign power. The alternative of a standing army is a well regulated militia.
But after writing this book, and while a member of the Supreme Court of the State, he established a reputation for being a corporation Judge, and made himself so obnoxious that when his term was up the people of Michigan arose and put an end to his career in that State. For some years he was out of a job. Then Congress created the interstate commerce board, and Cleveland during his first term as President, appointed the judge on this board, at a salary of $7,000 a year and expenses, which was princely in comparison with what he had been receiving. He held on to this place until a couple of years ago, when he retired on account of his old age, feeling, as he should, very grateful to Cleveland.
Recently, after the President had sent troops to Chicago, the judge's gratitude compelled him to rush into print with a letter greatly complimenting the President on his act, but among other things in that letter he uses this language: "I am especially gratified that a great and valuable lesson in constitutional construction has been settled for all time to come with remarkably little bloodshed," thus admitting that the Constitution did not clearly give the President the power to do what he had done, and that it had been necessary for the President to give a lesson in constitutional construction in order to do it; and the judge was gratified that this lesson in constitutional construction had been given with so little bloodshed. Had the constitution clearly given the power, neither a bloodshed construction nor any other construction would have been necessary.
The world has heard of constitutional construction by means of the military before. It has happened often. The operations were sometimes brilliant, but were always fatal to the patient. When Judge