Should Judges Use Passes?
(From the Chicago Daily News.)
Members of the bar and citizens generally may congratulate themselves that some of the judges do not look upon the accepting of passes as being proper. Judge Altgeld not only refuses to accept them, but believes that the entire system is radically wrong. A reporter for the Daily News asked:
"Judge, do the railroads send you many passes?"
"No, not now," was the reply. "Several years ago, when I went onto the bench, they sent me more than a dozen for myself and wife."
"May I ask what you did with them?"
"I sent them all back."
"Why did you send them back?"
"Well, on principle. I do not believe in accepting something for nothing, and then I do not think that a judge should accept favors from parties who either are or may become litigants in his court, and who would not offer him a pass if he were not judge. Even if it did not influence him, it tends to make the public and even the bar feel a little distrustful, and to that extent weakens his usefulness. If a livery stable keeper, who had cases in court, were to offer a judge the free use of his horses and buggies, a judge would feel that he could not accept it; for in offering him something which was not offered to the public, it was fair to assume that there was a special motive for the act, and the same rule will apply to railroads — at least the public think so — and to make the administration of justice effective, it is necessary that the public should, at least, have confidence in its integrity and impartiality."
"Then you don't use passes, Judge."
"No, sir; I have always paid my way, just like other people have to do."