Hal H. Smith


The Michigan Commission appointed by Governor Osborn to report upon Employers' Liability and Workmen's Compensation, and to present a law that would embody its conclusions, has formulated its report and laid the same before the Governor. The report deals with the subject from an economic standpoint in so far as it was found possible to divorce it from the legal problems that are so important to a practical and constitutional solution. Though the Commission has in its report made no particular reference to its views upon the legal questions involved, it is evident, that it must have arrived at a clearly defined conclusion thereon before it could undertake the task of making a draft of a proposed law. This article is not an attempt to discuss these legal problems from the standpoint of one who holds a brief in the controversy that is now being waged over the question of the practicability of the workmen's compensation and the constitutionality of the various forms of compensation acts that have been proposed. Nor is it an attempt to give more than a cursory review of the law upon the subject as the courts have interpreted, it. But the record of the development of the compensation principle in the United States, and of the action of the courts thereon to the present date, should be of some value in the further discussion of the subject, especially to those who either as legislators or as employers and employees may be called upon to sit in judgment over the feasibility and the legality of the bill proposed by the Commission.