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Kentucky Lawyer

Kentucky Lawyer

Mac Swinford
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 136
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  • Book Info
    Kentucky Lawyer
    Book Description:

    Judge Mac Swinford was one of the longest-serving federal judges in United States history. During his lengthy tenure in the Kentucky courts, he came to know and appreciate the deep complexity of the law, understanding that it could be solid and fluid, broad and narrow, kind and harsh, changeless yet always evolving. In this service to the state and to the law, he felt that it was often his fellow lawyers who touched and educated him most. Kentucky Lawyer presents the most humorous, enlightening, and poignant moments of a remarkable fifty-year career. Judge Swinford offers a unique Kentucky history, recounting instances of the drama and romance of the Kentucky bar. In "A Kentucky Ghost Story," he takes readers to the banks of Crooked Creek in Harrison County, where the spirit of a wrongfully accused man still affects judicial decisions. "Cost of Love" recalls a trial in Carlisle County in which a scorned lover files suit against her ex-fiancé for breach of promise, claiming ten thousand dollars for a broken heart. Remembering some of Kentucky's most revered and respected jurists, Judge Swinford relates American culture in its most intimate and significant sense, through the acts and expressions of local leaders in the everyday affairs of life. His stories of humble commitment highlight the lives of men such as Henry Clay, Lieutenant Governor Rodes K. Myers, and Senator Joe C.S. Blackburn, who championed unpopular cases and stood on the forefront of government and community affairs. Kentucky Lawyer pays tribute to some of Kentucky's "truly great men," with the hope that legend will preserve them for us in memory. Now back in print, this classic book illuminates the varied work and world of the twentieth-century lawyer with elegance and humor.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-2926-6
    Subjects: History, Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Eugene E. Siler Jr.

    I first met Judge Mac Swinford when he and Judge Bernard T. Moynahan Jr. administered my oath of office as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky in January 1970. Of course, like all lawyers in Kentucky, I had heard many legends about Judge Swinford. The more I was around him, the more I admired him as a judge and as a person.

    Judge Swinford and I had similar backgrounds, although he was a Presbyterian Democrat and I was a Baptist Republican. We both came from small towns where our families had lived in our respective counties for many...

  4. Preface
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    Mac Swinford
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-2)

    Someone has well said that the memory of its great men is a nation’s most cherished inheritance. The term “great” is not always properly used. Greatness is a relative thing, and when speaking of great men we are inclined to think only of public men who hold high office and who are immortalized in history books as national or state political leaders, or men of science or achievement in some field of endeavor that is mentioned in the press or periodicals of the day. But all too frequently true greatness goes unnoticed and unrecorded.

    American culture in its most intimate...

  6. No comment
    (pp. 2-4)

    In referring to Kentuckians, Harlan, Vinson and Reed, who became members of the Supreme Court of the United States, I am reminded of a very fine statement I heard Judge Ale P. Humphrey of Louisville make many years ago. I had just been admitted to the bar and the Kentucky State Bar Association was having its annual meeting at Estill Springs near Irvine. That was in the days of the old voluntary association and long before the integrated bar. I would not want to supplant the present system, but the old voluntary bar association is a pleasant memory. There were...

  7. Voices in the night
    (pp. 4-8)

    The Estill Springs meeting calls to mind another incident that occurred there, but which I did not hear about until some years later from Mr. John P. McCartny of Flemingsburg. Mr. McCartny was a very able lawyer; his home and main offices were in Flemingsburg, but he had partners or associates in Carlisle and Mt. Olivet. He also practiced extensively in Mason, Bracken and Bourbon Counties. He was of medium height, of slender build, and never showed the slightest trace of vexation—even when things were going against him in hearings on motions or in the trial of a case....

  8. Attributes of the Kentucky lawyer
    (pp. 9-10)

    Kentucky may be said to be divided into five main regions: the Mountains, the Blue Grass, the Bear Grass, the “Pennyrile,” and the Purchase. There are, of course, colloquialisms in these respective sections which might be said to be marks of identification; but the line of demarcation is so fine that it hardly warrants comment. My years of travel in all parts of the state in conducting the business of the federal courts have given me an opportunity to become acquainted with Kentucky lawyers at first hand. I have had probably a better opportunity to know and observe them than...

  9. An “overspeaking” judge
    (pp. 10-11)

    Sir Francis Bacon in his essay on the judiciary said: “An overspeaking judge is no well-tuned cymbal.” Those of our profession who occupy the bench should be constantly aware of this striking metaphor. It is very tempting at times for a judge to make witty or sarcastic remarks to the delight of the spectators; however, a judge should always remember that such speech is beneath the dignity of the court and always at the expense of someone who cannot answer back. The situation is something like that of a boxer who hits a handcuffed opponent. Repartee can be delightful and...

  10. According to law or instructions
    (pp. 11-12)

    While, generally speaking, judges are shielded from the real sentiments of those before them in the courtroom, there are occasions when the truth comes from the naive. A friend of mine serving on the federal bench in a neighboring state has told me of an e perience he had with a juror. At the conclusion of the evidence and arguments he had charged the jury on the law of the case and sent it to the jury room for its deliberations. About half an hour later the marshal appeared and advised the judge that the jury wanted to see him...

  11. Namesake
    (pp. 12-13)

    While he was not a Kentuckian by birth but a native of our sister state of Tennessee, Judge George Taylor of Knoxville was a kindred spirit with Kentuckians in his fine sense of humor and ability to see the ridiculous side of courtroom instances, even when they involved himself. He told of an occasion at Greenville when a woman was before him with a plea of guilty for operating a moon-shine still. Judge Taylor examined the probation officer’s report and saw that the defendant was the mother of ten children. He looked up at her standing quietly as she...

  12. Sturdy oak
    (pp. 13-19)

    While it may be said that some judges affect a false air of importance and endeavor to establish themselves as legendary figures, there are others whose very presence and natural demeanor impress those with whom they come in contact, both on and off the bench, with their dignity and professional erudition. Such a one was the Honorable A. M. J. Cochran of Maysville, United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Kentucky, from the time of its establishment at the turn of the twentieth century until his death in 1934.

    Judge Cochran was a graduate of Centre College and...

  13. “Less sympathy—more consideration”
    (pp. 19-21)

    Another of the interesting stories concerning Judge Cochran occurred during World War I while he was holding court at Covington. The times required certain emergency legislation, presumably to protect the men in the armed forces from vice and its consequences. There was an act of Congress which made it a misdemeanor to run a house of prostitution within three miles of an army post. A notorious madam by the name of Alice Karris of Newport either had not heard of the law or had decided to presume upon the laxness of war times; and with an eye to business she...

  14. Helping the judge
    (pp. 21-22)

    Another interesting incident in the judicial career of Judge Cochran occurred at Catlettsburg Court. Two attorneys were arguing very strenuously over a demurrer to the petition (motion to dismiss the complaint). The judge, apparently impressed with the position of the movant, was asking the plaintiff’s attorney pointed questions that he was finding it difficult to answer and was presenting reasons which were giving the draftsman of the pleading obvious discomfort in anticipation of having his case dismissed. Not satisfied, however, with the way things were going, the attorney, on whose side of the question the judge was leaning, kept interrupting...

  15. “Pass the sugar”
    (pp. 22-26)

    One of the most colorful and brilliant characters ever at the Kentucky bar was the late Judge Edward C. O’Rear of Mt. Sterling and Frankfort. His career reads like a storybook, and he became, while yet living and actually practicing law, a legend of our profession and of our state. I recently heard that the combined lives of Judge O’Rear and his father covered a part of the term of every President of the United States from the time of George Washington down to John F. Kennedy.

    Judge O’Rear was born in Montgomery County near the village of Camargo. His...

  16. University of Camargo
    (pp. 26-28)

    The judge was engaged in the trial of a very important lawsuit in Chicago. Numerous eminent lawyers from Chicago, New York, and Detroit were representing the respective sides. The trial was prolonged and ran for several weeks. During conferences in preparation for the trial, the attorneys associated with Judge O’Rear perceived that the Kentuckian knew more about the law, the facts and method of procedure and had a greater grasp of the issues than any of his associates. He was selected to take the lead as chief counsel for his side.

    By his superior knowledge, evidence of erudition and grace...

  17. Importance of the law
    (pp. 28-30)

    While the law cannot be said to be an exact science, it should be acknowledged as the most important of all the sciences. This does not detract in any sense from the sciences of medicine, engineering, physics, electronics, astronomy, agriculture, pedagogy or any of the endeavors of man in his continuing effort to build a better world. All of them have contributed tremendously in our advance. It must be recognized as a fact, however, that no scientific discoveries or improvements could have been effectively brought about except in the atmosphere of an orderly society. Such a society is the business...

  18. Dedication of the Kentucky lawyer
    (pp. 30-31)

    Those bearing the name of lawyer are by their profession, like plumed knights, committed to its preservation and defense in the finest sense.

    A small percentage of the whole membership of the bar achieves material riches, many others become financially independent; but the great majority of those who practice in Kentucky never even approach either of these categories of economic security. They are dependent upon their everyday effort, in their offices, in the courts, on the streets and highways, practicing their profession; sometimes receiving substantial fees but most of the time representing clients who have no means with which to...

  19. All the way
    (pp. 31-32)

    In some instances, however, the case suggests to the court that an attorney of greater experience should be called upon. I recall on one occasion in Bowling Green, a defendant was charged with bank robbery; he was totally without friends or funds. The nature of the case was such that I knew he would very likely receive a substantial sentence if convicted. I have always considered former Lieutenant Governor Rodes K. Myers of the Bowling Green bar one of the outstanding criminal lawyers of this state. He was generally recognized for his ability as a trial lawyer and had had...

  20. Amicus curiae
    (pp. 32-35)

    One of the best accounts of an attorney’s unselfish service to an indigent defendant comes from Honorable H. Church Ford, United States Judge for the Eastern District of Kentucky. Judge Ford was a Kentucky circuit judge before his appointment to the federal bench in 193 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

    While on the state bench and when holding a term of court at Frankfort, the judge had appear before him a man from the Craw section of the city of Frankfort. The charge was wilful murder. Craw was a slum section of our capital city where many of the families...

  21. Boredom
    (pp. 35-39)

    Many of the humorous stories on lawyers come from the lawyer who may himself be the butt of the joke. One of these classics is from the late United States Senator Joe C. S. Blackburn of Versailles. As the story goes, when Senator Blackburn was a very young lawyer he announced his candidacy for the office of county attorney of Woodford County. He was opposed by another ambitious young man, and Blackburn seemed to be getting the worst of it.

    While the race was in progress, Joe was employed by a young defendant who had been indicted for murder. A...

  22. Juries usually arrive at correct decision
    (pp. 39-41)

    Many times cases take a turn that could not possibly have been anticipated by any of the participants, and yet there is very infrequently a real miscarriage of justice. Occasionally, however, there is a mistake in what issue is to be decided by the jury and for that matter by the judge. Jurors have to be informed by the attorneys and the court on what the issues to be decided are. Nothing can be taken for granted.

    I have always been of the opinion that if a case was properly presented by both sides, the jury would reach a correct...

  23. Wrong man on trial
    (pp. 42-42)

    It is a recognized practice of skillful criminal lawyers to put the prosecuting witnesses on trial in order to get the jury’s mind off the action of the defendant. These artists of rhetoric and masters of deception will cross-examine the witnesses presented by the prosecution and attempt to discredit their testimony by inference and innuendo and have the jury completely confused as to who is the offender.

    It is said that Mr. W. A. Daugherty, a leading criminal lawyer in the upper Big Sandy valley for half a century, was so skillful in this respect that on one occasion he...

  24. No kiss for Uncle Harry
    (pp. 42-46)

    One of these actors of an earlier day was the Honorable Andrew Harrison Ward of the Cynthiana bar in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Uncle Harry, as he was affectionately called in Cynthiana and other central Kentucky towns where he practiced, was truly a giant of the old school in forensic debate before a jury. My father said he was the greatest natural lawyer he had ever known. He was the member of a prominent family, well educated in the profession and steeped in the classics.

    He was of short, stocky stature, with massive head and shoulders. A...

  25. The case of the diamond ring
    (pp. 47-49)

    A striking incident of this was demonstrated in the federal court at Pikeville on one occasion. Without reciting all the details of the case, the trial had reached a place where the former wife of the defendant in a civil action was testifying. The action was in the nature of discovery to establish title to property which the defendant was supposed to have owned and which he was alleged to have transferred to his present wife in order to avoid paying a substantial judgment.

    The defendant was sitting at the counsel table with his attorney, Mr. Ervin Sanders, of the...

  26. Battle of San Juan Hill
    (pp. 49-51)

    The following story, while not exactly identified with the profession, is about one of the most important functionaries and office holders in the legal system, the county jailer. These men of each community are almost in a class by themselves. As a rule they are rather vivid personalities whose chief claim to qualification for office is their wide acquaintanceship and friendly nature. Formerly it was not a bad office to hold. The emoluments included a house to live in, a steady income from the county for the care and maintenance of the courthouse and a per diem for all prisoners....

  27. The League of Nations
    (pp. 51-52)

    The jailer is many times the party wheelhorse and is powerful and useful in a very practical way in the interest of his party at election time when he is not a candidate. The late A. B. Rouse, former Congressman from the Fifth District, and who served with credit as Clerk of the United States District Court for Eastern Kentucky for many years, told this story. It was during the presidential election of 1920 when Warren G. Harding, Republican, was running against James M. Cox, Democrat. The big issue in the campaign was the League of Nations which Woodrow Wilson’s...

  28. The prohibition era
    (pp. 52-55)

    In the days of national prohibition, in what is now referred to as the roaring twenties, the federal courts were crowded with cases growing out of violations of the generally unpopular law. Racketeers and gangsters, with money derived from the illicit liquor traffic, conducted an invisible government. Law enforcement was confronted with the most difficult, if not impossible, task of any time in the history of our land, either before or since.

    The most celebrated hoodlum was “Scar Face” Al Capone, a thug whose headquarters were in Chicago. This king of vice and crime, it was said, had his henchmen,...

  29. The Purchase
    (pp. 55-56)

    One of the most delightful and interesting parts of the state of Kentucky is the far western portion known as the Jackson Purchase. The Purchase needs no word from me to recall its charm and rich historical background and the tremendous contribution its native sons have made to the dignity and glory of our state in all fields. Such names as Irvin S. Cobb and Alben W. Barkley would lead a list of numerous distinguished men and women whose names readily come to mind.

    Since I have referred to the two prize storytellers and platform or literary entertainers, it may...

  30. Cost of love
    (pp. 57-60)

    Judge Gardner told me of his first trial as a state circuit judge. The first term of court he held after taking office was at Bardwell in Carlisle County and the first civil case on the docket was an action to recover damages for breach of promise. The plaintiff was represented by two of Kentucky’s more respected and revered attorneys, Judge J. E. Robbins and Judge Gus Thomas of Mayfield. The defendant was represented by Mr. John Shelbourne, a prominent lawyer of western Kentucky and father of U.S. District Judge Roy M. Shelbourne of Louisville. The plaintiff, a local schoolteacher,...

  31. A plea for mercy
    (pp. 60-62)

    Judge Gardner said he had had the honor of holding many political offices, among them county attorney, circuit judge, attorney for the R. F. C. and United States Attorney, but he believed the most interesting of all and the one he enjoyed most was the office of Police Judge of Mayfield. He pointed out that in that capacity he saw a full cross-section of crime in rural America and had more opportunity to study psychology firsthand than at any time in his life. He said as an example, there was a well-known local police court character by the name of...

  32. Trial of prohibition violators
    (pp. 62-63)

    Prohibition had its staunch adherents and its open violators. It was a failure but not because of the attitudes of either of these extremes. The weakness of the law was inherent. Whatever popularity it enjoyed at the height of the experiment was short lived. The people generally of all sections of our country finally lost respect for it and it became almost impossible to get a conviction of violators either in the state or federal courts.

    I was United States Attorney for the last year of its existence and tried conscientiously to enforce the law. We had a great many...

  33. Santa Claus
    (pp. 63-66)

    I heard the late Judge Dick Thomas of Bowling Green tell this story of a famous lawyer of Brownsville, Edmonson County, of a generation ago. His name was Milton Wright and he was one of those delightful small town lawyers, scholars and seers, who, I must regretfully say, are rapidly passing from our scene, but who, we hope, legend will preserve for us in memory a few more years. Brownsville and its citizens of overwhelming Baptist and Methodist persuasion still jealously held on to the moral side of the law on the question of prohibition. Do not misunderstand me. This...

  34. Some confusion
    (pp. 66-68)

    One of Kentucky’s most illustrious sons was the Honorable John G. Carlisle of Covington. Mr. Carlisle had a distinguished career at the bar and in the public service. He practiced extensively throughout northern and central Kentucky for several years and was a friend and associate in various cases of my father who admired him so much he named his first born son for him. Mr. Carlisle served in various governmental capacities and was a member of the Cabinet as Secretary of the Treasury under President Grover Cleveland.

    Notwithstanding his eminence, he had a failing which was not uncommon to the...

  35. Lawyers and politics
    (pp. 68-69)

    Most lawyers because of their training are interested in politics. The very fact that their minds turn toward government and law as a chosen profession indicates that there is a bent to hold office or at least to participate actively in political battles for their friends or for leaders whom they admire. They are as a class militantly partisan and adhere to their own political party with dogged loyalty even when issues may turn away those of less steadfast faith. Formerly, probably to a greater extent than at present, it was looked upon as the unpardonable sin for a Democrat...

  36. “Yellow dog Democrat?”
    (pp. 69-70)

    One of the chief leaders of the revolt against the nominee and therefore a “bolter” of the Democratic party was Theodore Hallam, referred to above. Mr. Hallam took the stump and campaigned vigorously against Goebel, whom he heartily disliked and distrusted. While speaking in western Kentucky he was asked by the “loyal” Democrats to divide time or share his platform with Judge John Rhea of Russellville. This was a method of debate which was for a time popular in Kentucky politics. Hallam accepted and before a large audience these two skillful political artisans eloquently extolled the virtues of their respective...

  37. Two of a kind
    (pp. 70-72)

    My father was actively interested in politics throughout his long life. I have heard him say that Judge John Rhea of Russellville was the greatest political orator he had ever heard. At the time of the incident just related, he was in his prime. At the conclusion of Hallam’s speech, Judge Rhea arose and addressed the crowd of wildly cheering Democrats.

    “Ladies and gentlemen,” he said, “you have just heard an address by one of Kentucky’s most eloquent and illustrious sons. A man favored by nature to fill positions of leadership both in his profession as a lawyer and his...

  38. A Kentucky ghost story
    (pp. 72-78)

    No accumulation of the legends and actions of Kentuckians would be complete without a ghost story. This romantic land, with its rivers, hills, valleys and wooded bluegrass pastures, lends itself to mystery. The following story illustrates a gross miscarriage of justice and its consequences.

    In the hills of eastern Harrison County in a country churchyard stands a small monument of native limestone. It is covered with moss, and the stone itself seems to have aged far more than the near century and a quarter it has marked the final resting place of a lovely young Kentucky woman. Blackened by time,...

  39. Aftermath
    (pp. 78-83)

    But this was not the end of David Sheely for the people of Cynthiana and Harrison County. Later events were to establish beyond doubt that he had been convicted and executed for a crime he did not commit. To add to the wrong of taking an innocent life, the physicians of the county in the interest of science subjected his body to dissection and preserved his skeleton for enlightenment of the medical profession; thus compounding the community’s mistake by adding the disrespect of disinterring the remains and carving them up. Such treatment of the departed was practiced only upon criminals....

  40. Lawyers as jurors
    (pp. 84-85)

    Loquacity of Kentucky lawyers is traditional and can be carried to extremes. The late Ruby Laffoon, Governor of the state from 1932 to 1936 told me of an experience he had as a former circuit judge in one of the courts over which he presided in western Kentucky. He said the court was coming to the end of its trial docket, and but one jury case remained to be tried. The jury in the preceding trial was considering the case in the jury room. For various reasons many jurors had been excused throughout the term. When the case was called...

  41. Great teacher
    (pp. 85-86)

    Many members of the bar of Kentucky attended the Law School of the University of Virginia. It is said that any lasting, worthwhile institution is but the lengthening shadow of some one man. It might be said of this law school that it is to a large degree the product of the mind, heart, and effort of its revered teacher, John B. Minor. “He taught the law and the reason therefor” at Virginia from 1845 until his death in 1895. For half a century this dedicated scholar and instructor impressed upon the minds of his students the basic fundamentals of...

  42. Giant and dwarf
    (pp. 86-88)

    Humorous instances in hearings before appellate courts, while not so numerous as in trial courts, do occur, and without materially impairing the dignity of the court. The following story which was told to me and attributed to the late John Holt of West Virginia may be a stock story, but I have always felt it presented a truly philosophical approach to an apparently hopeless courtroom situation. Since West Virginia is our sister state on the east and many of her fine lawyers practice in the federal courts at Catlettsburg and Pikeville, I will give this account of the resourcefulness of...

  43. Naturalization hearings
    (pp. 88-89)

    One of the more pleasant and inspiring duties of my judicial service has been in the conduct of naturalization hearings. It has been my purpose to hold these sessions within reasonable bounds and not yield to a public demand that they be more greatly exploited. I have felt that for a person to forever renounce his fidelity to his native land and swear allegiance to an adopted country calls for something more than the perfunctory taking of an oath. On the other hand, to subject the new-made citizens to pageantry and unwarranted ceremony is to give them a false sense...

  44. Whose America is this?
    (pp. 89-92)

    This fact was brought home to me during the war when I was conducting a naturalization class at a term of court at Pikeville. There were about forty petitioners, the great majority of whom were coal miners and their families. Following our accustomed practice of having the naturalization agent engage each petitioner in a short examination, a woman of about sixty years of age was asked to stand. I shall call her Mrs. Kolinsky from Hungary, the wife of a coal miner who lived in a remote coal camp in Pike County. She was large and ill kept in appearance....

  45. No striped pants
    (pp. 92-93)

    Colonel William Colston of the Cincinnati law firm of Harmon, Colston, Goldsmith and Hoadly, was a well known attorney in Kentucky. He was a Confederate veteran and, I am told, lost an arm in the service of the Southern cause. He was counsel for the Southern Railway System for many years. At one time when he had a case to argue before the United States Supreme Court, he took the president of the company to Washington with him. While they were waiting for their case to be heard, the client wandered about the building, inquiring of the habits and practices...

  46. Rules of court
    (pp. 94-94)

    Speaking of rules of court, it has always been my belief that the fewer rules a court has the less difficulty it has in dispatching business. This applies particularly to local rules. It is the purpose of both the Civil and Criminal Rules of Federal Procedure to make the practice throughout the country uniform so that lawyers from distant places will not be hampered with local requirements entirely foreign to their accustomed practice. I heard Judge Cochran say that the only time he knew he had a rule was when someone cited his own rule to him to keep him...

  47. Obligations of the judiciary
    (pp. 94-97)

    Sir Francis Bacon said of judges, “They should imitate God in whose seat they sit.” I was discussing this statement with a judge friend of mine one time. He remarked that that was impossible, which, of course, it is; but I suggested that maybe we could be more like God than we are or at least we might strengthen our characters in that direction by our awareness of the statement of one scholar and thinker.

    The idealism of our judicial calling, with special emphasis on the trial judge, is eloquently expressed in the following words of Josiah Quincy:

    “The more...

  48. Umbrellas
    (pp. 97-98)

    One of the most interesting and entertaining lawyers I have known is Mr. Abraham Berkowitz of the Birmingham, Alabama bar. He was before me in the trial of a case in Louisville, and in his closing argument told one of the most humorous stories, by way of illustration, I have heard. He was impressing the jury with the fact that it was so easy to be misunderstood and that many times evidence of obvious facts was entirely foreign to the actual facts of the situation.

    He said some years ago when he was about to leave home for his office...

  49. Solid foundation
    (pp. 99-103)

    Orie S. Ware of Covington is a lawyer of ability and an excellent storyteller. He gives the following story which, to my mind, is one of the real gems of Kentucky courthouse lore.

    It seems that the owner of a large Covington office building near the banks of the Ohio River sold it to an investor. The building sat on a fill of new made ground and, according to best engineering practices, required a foundation of particular specifications in quantity of steel and cement. The seller had, according to the complainant, warranted the building as having the necessary underpinning. Shortly...

  50. Old-fashioned orator
    (pp. 103-105)

    All Kentuckians who knew him personally and who had intimate association with him had a genuine affection for the late Governor Edwin P. Morrow of Somerset. He was a man of warm and friendly disposition, a gifted orator, and a very resourceful lawyer when occasion demanded.

    I recall quite well the last time I saw him. It was in the federal courtroom in Lexington where he was defending an elderly doctor charged with violation of the narcotic law. I, as United States Attorney, was putting forth every effort to get a conviction of what I sincerely felt was a serious...

  51. “Old Ring”
    (pp. 105-109)

    Notwithstanding his many courthouse battles and his wide law practice for a generation throughout Kentucky, Governor Morrow is probably best remembered for his famous “Old Ring” speech delivered in practically every courthouse in Kentucky from the Big Sandy at the West Virginia border to Mills Point on the Mississippi in his race for governor against James D. Black, the Democratic nominee, in 1919.

    Back in those days, there wasn’t much issue between the Democratic and Republican parties in local Kentucky politics. The Democratic party was dominant, of course, and when united was unbeatable; but it had been split asunder for...

  52. Sho’ ’nuf bad weather
    (pp. 109-110)

    One of the best storytellers I have ever known is U.S. District Judge Leslie Darr of the Eastern District of Tennessee, Chattanooga Division. Before going on the federal bench, Judge Darr was a state circuit judge and relates many instances that occurred while serving in that office.

    On an occasion of severe winter weather, the court was engaged in the trial of a lawsuit in which a leading doctor in the rural town where court was sitting was a main witness. The inclement weather had produced widespread sickness and because of an almost overwhelming schedule of calls on his patients,...

  53. Henry Clay
    (pp. 110-111)

    The stories of the exploits at the bar of Kentucky’s distinguished forensic giant, Henry Clay, are myriad, but I heard one many years ago which I cannot recall having ever seen in print. At least I am confident many of the younger generations of lawyers have not heard it. It was told by one of our state’s most illustrious and brilliant lawyers, Thomas F. Marshall of Lexington and Woodford County.

    Marshall was much younger than Clay and when he came to the bar, Clay, then a member of Congress, was regarded as the outstanding trial lawyer of Kentucky. Marshall, very...

  54. Look to the hills
    (pp. 112-118)

    The instances of the drama and romance of the bar of Kentucky are confined to no section or part. All have their local and colloquial tales and accounts of the prowess, humor and skill of their orators and lawyers.

    One section, however, may have been somewhat neglected in the matter of record and exploitation because of lack of roads and the usual means of communication and intercourse with the rest of Kentucky. I refer to that charming, historical and vast territory known as the mountains. For this part of our state and her attractive and intelligent people I have a...

  55. The ever-growing law
    (pp. 119-120)

    This effort to briefly record something of the color and romance of the bar of Kentucky as observed these many years must of course be incomplete. The law itself, with its complex, many sidedness, makes a full history of these years impossible. A student of the law is constantly confronted with its paradoxical nature. Solid and fluid, broad and narrow, kind and harsh, changeless and yet ever changing; but as we here in America have learned, it is always eminently fair and impartial. The statue of the blind goddess with evenly balanced scales is no myth but an ever present...

  56. Conclusion
    (pp. 121-122)

    I have given only a glimpse of the Kentucky Lawyer. His is a way of life, an ideal of service, a contribution in the best sense.

    “Be noble, and the nobleness that lies

    In other men, sleeping but never dead

    Will rise, in majesty, to meet thine own.”