The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, May 26, 1911, Page 6, Image 6

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    ' CattUlWW'IAlWMJ'WiWMfe
marlcs of Justico Harlan, and not having yet
Boon tho opinion of the court in full, it is Im
possible to make any lengthy statement, -said
Mr. Elliott. , , , u.
"Tho full opinion must bo read and studied
by my associates and myself beforo it can bo
intelligently dealt with.
"It may, howovor, bo now said that the bianu
ard Oil company will obey tho decree of the
court, and that all the companies embraced In
tho court's decree will carry on their business
as usual under tho direction of their own ofu
cers and through their own corporato organiza
That death penalty imposed by tho supremo
court of tho United States upon tho Standard
Oil company of New Jersey seems to have had
in contemplation something like a blissful re
juvenation in anothor world.
Some skeptics have professed to marvel that
human beings weep and grieve over the death
of one of their number who may, from all the
traditions taught them, rely upon an awaken
ing in another world to tho enjoyment of bliss
eternal. It has always been something of a
mystery why friends can weep at the prospect
of such an accession to unonding joy, but they
do it.
Howovor, it is different with Standard Oil.
As soon as it was condemned by tho supremo
court to die, all of its friends perked up in
stantly. There was no weeping, no agony of
lamentation, no prostration of mental or phy
sical activities. Tho impeding death decreed
by tho court was somehow recognized by the
speculative public as an entrance into a career
of greater usefulness and profit to this seem
ingly deathless octopus.
It is interesting to peruse the market reports.
Wall street had expected a decision last Monday
in time to have it report on 'change before the
markets closed, and had messengers stationed
at the national capital to instantly flash the
decree of tho court to tho brokors on Wall street.
Every holder of, or dealer in, stocks of any of
tho great trusts knew that tho decision in the
Standard Oil case meant weal or woo to every
other trust. Here is how the reputed death sen
tence of Standard Oil by the supreme court
operated on 'change. Monday afternoon'B pa-
pors reported:
"Upon the announcement that the supremo
court would take a recess until 2:30, the mar
ket, which had been creeping slowly upward,'
fell into a state of utter stagnation, but prices
held firm."
The decision was handed down Monday after
noon, and the Tuesday market reportB read as
"Standard Oil opened at 675, a loss of 4
points, but a few moments later more than re
covered the loss, selling at 680.
"The largest gains of many months were
made this morning in tho stock market, whicli
Interpreted the Standard Oil decision as being
decidedly favorable from the Wall street view
point. The strength and activity of the market
were duo to no small extent to relief which was
felt that the decision had been rendered and
tho uncertainty for months was out of the way.
"In the first hour, moro than 400,000 shares
of stock were traded in, three times the amount
of business done at yesterday's entire session.
Later large amounts of stock changed hands at
still higher levels. One block of 7,500 shares
of United States Steel brought 78. Commis
sion houses reported a largo influx of outside
"A feature of tho trading was tho strength
Bhown by many Industrial properties. Ameri
can Tobacco jumped 15 points on the curb."
The market report of Wednesday described
a continuance of 'the joyous speculative festival
as follows:
"Further extensive gains were made in the
stock market this morning, the whole list ad
vancing in response to a persistent demand.
The feeling of confidence aroused by yesterday's
. reception of the Standard Oil decision was the
chief factor in the continued rise in prices.
"Speculative stocks reached a higher level,
particularly the motal issues. United States
Steel touched 80, and there was a good riso
In Amalgamated Copper and American Smelting.
Railroad stocks wore less active, but continued
very strong."
Note tho distinction. Railroad stocks did not
enjoy any increased activity. It was only trust
stocks, the securities of such corporations as
nad been condemned to death by the decree of
tho supreme court. Such remarkable optimism
in the face of imminent dissolution muBt surely
The Commoner
look like a rebuko to those who are cast down
by the shadow of tho grim spectre of whoso com
ing man knowoth not. ,,. f
Even the reported certainty of dea th brought
relief from tho harrowing uncertainty that hung
over "big business," and added value to tho
prospective corpse. Lincoln (Neb.) Star.
Chicago Record-Herald: The Husband--"Good!
The supremo court decides that tho
Standard Oil company must dissolve!"
The Wife "What! Again? I thought Judgo
Landis made them do it a long time ago?"
"Oh, no! Ho only fined them $29,000,000
for accepting rebates from tho railroads. In
this case the court "
"Judgo Landis?"
"No! No! the supreme court. Tho court has
decided, after long and careful deliberation, that
the company is breaking the law and must "
"Why did it take so long? Didn't tho judges
know the coaapany had been fined all that money
because it broke tho law?"
"Yes, of course, but "
"Well, I don't see why they had to decide it
all over again."
"But, as I explained before, that was an
other matter."
"Well, anyway, I suppose kerosene will be
much cheaper now."
"N-no, I don't believe it will."
"Well, then, why did you say it was a good
thing? I don't see "
"Great Scott! I've got to run if I'm going
to get the 7:20!"
Washington dispatch via Associated Press:
In nine great trust cases and almost as many
smaller prosecutions, pending or planned, under
the Sherman anti-trust act, the government has
had its work almost doubled by the ruling of
the supreme court in the Standard Oil case that
a combination in restraint of trade must be
proved "unreasonable."
Work done by special agents from the depart
ment of justice will have to be done over again,
to a laTgo extent. Evidence of the restraint of
trade which the government has gathered and
which until two days ago it considered sufficient
to secure convictions, has now been rendered
Incomplete. It is even possible that some cases
against smaller trusts may have to be abandoned.
Washington dispatch via Associated Press:
Representative Adamson of Georgia, says: "The
supreme court of the United States had no con
stitutional power to amend the Sherman law by
writing Into that statute the word 'unreason
able.' The trusts tried time and time again
to amend the law inUhat way, by the insertion
of that one word, but failed.
"That was Mark Hanna's plan; he wanted the
law to distinguish between good trusts and bad
trusts, but congress declined to make the dis
tinction. Now the supreme court takes on itself
the power of legislation, which was expressly
reserved to congress by the constitution, and'
proceeds to write into the law what congress
refused to consider."
Chicago Record-Herald (rep.): As now
defined and applied, the trust act covers
only "undue" restraint of trade. Indeed, the
word "undue" is deemed superfluous, for there
is no "restraint" where the degree of it is too
slight to warrant complaint, where the effects
of the alleged restraint, direct or indirect are
not seen, in "the light of reason," to be in
jurious and mischievous.
terdict is absolute. This Jaw was passed in
1890. At every session of congress from that
day to this, efforts have been made to amend
the law in such wise as to permit what aro
called "reasonable" restraints of trade. Con
gress has uniformly refused to make the de
sired amendment. But the supreme court in
this oil case has deliberately done what con
gress refused to do, has read into tho statutes
the words which congress refused to write; and
has declared that only "undue or unreasonable"
restraints of trade are prohibited by the Sher
man law. Justice Harlan considered this act of
the court an unwarranted usurpation of the
rights and powers of congress. The News is
constrained to agree with Justice Harlan. Grant
ing, for the sake of argument, that the words
"undue or unreasonable" should be in the anti
trust law, there is just one power -on the conti
nent which has the right to put them in the
law. That power is the congress of the United
States. Laws which need amendment should
be amended by congress, not by the courts. The
decision, in effect, makes, the court tho govern
ment; and vests it with any and all powers which
it needs or thinks it needs to administer jus
tice. Or, to put it another way, the decision is
a judicial declaration that there are good trusts
and bad trusts; and that the courts may separate
the sheep from the goats without regard to
congressional definitions. The possibilities of
official anarchy which lie hid in uch a decision
are all but limitless. It is almost on a par
with the lawlessness which permitted the steel
trust to absorb its only serious competitor, tho
Tennessee Coal and Iron company.
Sioux City (Iowa) Journal (rep.): If any
body is expecting to find the various Stand
ard Oil companies engaged in keen competition
with one another rs a result of this decision he
is doomed to disappointment. It probably is
true that in the long rnn such restoration of
competition would mearf" higher prices to the
consumer because of increased expense of opera
tion. The principle of centralization and Co
operation in interstate industry has gone too far
to be abandoned now. If accompanied by the
principle of regulation it should make for public
economy in tho long run.
Denver News (dem.): The Sherman law
prohibits all combinations in-, restraint of
trade. -The language is, sweeping, and.thein-
Omaha' World-Herald (dem.): There are two
things, we are convinced, that the country will
not tamely submit to. One is for the monopo
listic combines to sieze upon the Standard Oil
decision as an excuse for continuing or extend
ing their depredations under tho pretext that
they are now "out of danger." The other is
for the department of justice to adopt sub
stantially the same view and allow the anti-trast
campaign to falter.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch (ind): One thing
is clear, the Standard Oil organization is illegal
and there is no reason why the -gd'y.ernment
should not proceed, not only to dissolve all
monopoly combinations, but to enforce tho crimi
nal clause of the law against those -who violate
it. For the rest, if there is doubt of the nature
of combinations which are forbidden by the law,
congress can clarify the statute by amendment.
It can dissolve doubt.
Chicago Tribune (rep.): Reviewing the past,
it seems fairly safe to predict that under this
decision the Standard Oil company of New
Jersey will fade gracefully away and be suc
ceeded by a number of lawful companies, "po
tentially" capable of competition but far too
amiable to engage in such reprehensible conduct
in this era of universal peace. Like the chame
leon, the more the Standard changes the more
it is the same thing.
Kansas City Times (ind.) : To take the hand,
of the monopolist from the industries of the
country and restore conditions which will give
equal opportunity to all men is the great task
before the country.
Buffalo (New York) Times: - The Standard
Oil decision itself is not poramanding more
attention than the powerful dissenting opinion
in which Judge Harlan protests against the
court making a distinction between "reasonable"
and "unreasonable" restraints of trade. Mr.
Bryan points out that this clause is .a virtual
amendment of the anti-trust law, "by construing
it to prohibit, not all restraint of trade, but only
such restraint as the courts, after each lengthy
litigation, may decide to be unreasonable."
President Taft is said to be disappointed over
this feature of the decision. In his message a
year ago, he declared that there should be no
distinction between "reasonable" and "unreason
able" in restraint of trade. Restraint of trade,
under whatever form it presents itself, is a
menace. To hold that restraint of trade may
under some circumstances be permissible, and
under others not, is to leave the question open
which ought to be closed. Judge Harlan criti
cised the interpretation of the anti-trust law, in
the matter of restraint of trade, as amounting
to legislation, it is the opinion of this eminent
' wlmslf a member of the court which
decided the Standard Oil caBo, that the majority
views of the court place in tho law a meaning
wnicn is not there, and which -could only be. put
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