The Yale Law Journal (v. 5)
Book format: An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.
Publisher: Date:8/5/2009 - General Books LLC
By: JSTOR (Organization)
Excerpt from book: YALE LAW JOURNAL VOL V DECEMBER, 1895 No. 2 THE DOCTRINE OF THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT OF PROPERTY AFFECTED BY A PUBLIC INTEREST, AND ITS TENDENCIES. John A. Porter Prize Essay. The student of law who undertakes to examine the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in Munn v. Illinois, 94 U. S. 113, and to discuss its tendencies, must possess more than the ordinary amount of that assurance which is supposed to accompany ignorance if he does not feel hesitation in analyzing and diffidence in expressing his conclusions upon this difficult and important question. His examination of the authorities to which he is accustomed to turn for sure guidance in complicated and far-reaching matters leaves him in doubt whether language of cautious generality should be interpreted as giving a hesitating support to, or as veiling a respectful dissent from, the principles upon which this decision is based. For the questions involved are much more than mere legal ones turning upon the application of generally conceded legal principles, or the construction of doubtful phrases. They put in issue the deep underlying matters of political economy which are agitating the whole civilized world of our day. The gist of the decision is an endeavor to give to the indefinite economic ideas of the present time the support of definite legal principles: or, in other words, to attempt to give to these definite legal principles a force and extent which, in the minds of many experienced jurists, they cannot be made legitimately to sustain. Hence the doubt and dissent with which the decision has been received. And in face of this uncertainty of theleaders of the legal profession, the student must feel that, in entering upon a discussion of this subject, he is affording a new illustra...