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November 27, 1897


JAMA. 1897;XXIX(22):1122-1123. doi:10.1001/jama.1897.02440480038006

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The Supreme Court decision in the Illinois case of Dr. Dixon furnishes one of the many instances where Supreme Courts support the dignity of inferior courts at the expense of general principles of law by deciding on an inferior point in such a way as to settle temporarily a general principle unconnected with the inferior issue. The Dixon case turned on two elements; in one, Dr. Dixon was a fact witness and could be compelled to testify without compensation as such witness. He was asked his opinion, which a pettifogger might easily regard, under the circumstances, as the opinion of an non-expert and treat accordingly. Had Dr. Dixon declined to testify at all, a clear case of expert opinion would have been made out. It is exceedingly doubtful whether even in its excessive desire to preserve the sacred right of government by injunction, the Supreme Court would then have dared

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