Wednesday, June 19, 1946

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, June 19, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that, in response to the feud between Justice Black and Justice Jackson, Senators James Eastland of Mississippi and Styles Bridges of New Hampshire had introduced an amendment to the Constitution whereby no President could appoint more than three Supreme Court Justices, and that all sitting Justices who violated the rule would have to step down.

Those Justices would have included William O. Douglas, Frank Murphy, Robert Jackson, and Wiley Rutledge. President Truman, already having appointed two in his 14 months in office, would be able to appoint only one of the replacements and, until another President would take office, the other three empty seats would be appointed from the existing Federal bench by a vote of the House.

Notably, Justice Black would not have been affected as he was President Roosevelt's first appointment. Justice Stanley Reed was the second appointment and Felix Frankfurter, the third. So four of the eight sitting members would have been removed.

It was doubted by other Senators that the amendment had a chance to garner the necessary two-thirds vote of both houses or, if so, the necessary approval from three-quarters of the States.

Besides potentially running into conflict with Article III of the Constitution, prescribing service by Federal judges during "good behavior", interpreted to mean life tenure except as limited by voluntary retirement or impeachment, unless the amendment would carry language which specifically abrogated this provision as to Supreme Court justices, the amendment also would cause considerable instability on the Court. At the time, although proposed, there was not yet a term limitation on the presidency, also requiring amendment of the Constitution. If the Supreme Court amendment had been ratified and not the presidential term limit, then the prospect of having, as in the Roosevelt years, a Supreme Court with a turnover of eight seats, would have left only three or four permanent appointees on the Court, all things held equal, even if fewer retirements under such a system would be likely.

It would have impacted, since 1946, only the fourth appointment of President Truman, that of Justice Sherman Minton, a former Senator, and Presidents Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan, each of whom made more than three appointments, President Eisenhower making five and Presidents Nixon and Reagan each making four, in the case of President Reagan, three new appointments and the elevation of Justice William Rehnquist to be Chief in 1986. Justice Rehnquist, the last appointment of President Nixon, in 1972, would not have been allowed under the amendment. Nor would Justices Charles Whittaker and Potter Stewart under President Eisenhower, nor Justice Anthony Kennedy under President Reagan, assuming for the moment that President Reagan would have then opted for the prerogative of a double appointment when Chief Justice Warren Burger retired in 1986. Each of the other elected Presidents since President Truman have appointed two Justices, except for President Carter who is the only elected President in the history of the country to have served the entire term without making an appointment to the Court. President William Henry Harrison died during his first months in office without an appointment. President Andrew Johnson, who served a month short of four years, also made no appointments, though because Congress refused to allow him to do so by altering the size of the Court as vacancies occurred in two instances, one being a death of a Justice of the ten-member Court just 45 days after the assassination of President Lincoln. President Ford made one appointment—not named Chase, replacing Justice Douglas.

During the entire history of the Court, after its initial six appointments by President Washington plus five replacements, the only other Presidents to make more than three appointments were Andrew Jackson, with 6, Abraham Lincoln, 5, Ulyssses Grant, 4, Benjamin Harrison, 4, Grover Cleveland, 4, William Howard Taft, 5, himself, subsequently becoming Chief Justice, Warren Harding, 4, remarkable for his short tenure of 29 months in office before his death, and FDR, filling 8 seats with 9 appointments, Justice James Byrnes only having served for one term, in 1941-42, before leaving the Court to become Economic Stabilizer and then War Mobilizer, dubbed in that latter role "asssistant President". The only seat not filled by President Roosevelt was that of Justice Owen Roberts, who retired at the end of the 1945 term. President Roosevelt's appointments spanned a mere six years, from 1937 to 1943, following the controversial Court-packing plan promulgated by the President in 1937 and shot down by Congress the same year, a plan designed to neutralize the anti-New Deal voting bloc of the "nine old men" of the Court. Fully four of the Roosevelt appointees, however, Chief Justice Stone, Justices Frank Murphy, Wiley Rutledge, and Robert Jackson, would die by 1954. Justice Stanley Reed, after 19 years on the Court, would retire in 1957, leaving only Justices Felix Frankfurter, Hugo Black, and William O. Douglas among President Roosevelt's appointees to serve longer terms.

In terms of aggregate time on the Court, President Roosevelt's appointees, as expected, served the longest, 146 years. The six Jackson appointees served 138 years. President Lincoln's five appointees served 105 years. President Reagan's four appointees have thus far served 96 years, with two Justices still sitting. President Eisenhower's five appointees served 94 years. President Washington's eleven appointees served only an aggregate of 85 years.

Besides the controversial amendment to the Constitution, Senator Eastland was pushing for an investigation of the Court by calling all of the Justices to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Harold Ickes, in his column, suggests that the Supreme Court had been fair game for criticism since FDR had told the truth about it, that its decisions were heavily weighted to the side of money and property and against ordinary citizens.

Mr. Ickes expresses his deep regret that several of the Justices appointed by President Roosevelt with the confidence that they were liberal in viewpoint and would comprise a people's Court, had turned out conservative.

He had been an early supporter of Robert Jackson for the Court when he was Attorney General and had convinced him to accept the nomination for Justice in 1941 to replace Justice Stone, who was being elevated to the position of Chief, that President Roosevelt had assured Mr. Ickes that Justice Jackson would be elevated when Chief Justice Stone retired. Indeed, FDR, as Drew Pearson had reported the previous week, was considering Mr. Jackson, then Attorney General, for the appointment to Chief Justice in 1941. While the appointment of Fred Vinson to be Chief Justice Stone's replacement, opines Mr. Ickes, was a good appointment, it must have deeply disappointed Justice Jackson.

Justice Jackson had referred to a columnist who had written of the feud between Justice Black and Justice Jackson and perceived information made therein to have originated from Justice Black. But, Mr. Ickes assures, the information in the article was not furnished by Justice Black. Justice Jackson had simply misinterpreted the source, likely from his being out of the country for a year and under considerable stress at the Nuremberg trial.

Though Mr. Ickes had enjoyed a long friendship with Justice Jackson, he could not refrain from criticizing him for the damage he had done to the institution of the Court by his letter to the House and Senate judiciary committees critical of Justice Black. He should have thought first, says Mr. Ickes, of the institution rather than his own personal feelings.

At Nuremberg, Franz von Papen admitted helping to pressure the Austrian Government and Chancellor Schuschnigg, prior to Anschluss in 1938, to submit to Hitler's demands for annexation.

Georges Bidault, France's Foreign Minister, was elected President of the interim Government by the Constituent Assembly, pending approval of a new constitution. He was the third such interim President in a year and a half, succeeding Felix Gouin, a Socialist, who had replaced Gen. Charles De Gaulle when the latter had resigned in January. M. Bidault was a leader of the Popular Republican Movement Party.

It appeared that the Socialists were supporting Gen. De Gaulle's proposal for a bicameral legislature, a strong executive, and three separate branches of government for the Fourth Republic.

It was discovered that an additional British officer had been kidnapped the day before from a hotel officers club in Tel Aviv by members of the Jewish extremist group, Irgun Zvai Leumi, and another was possibly missing, bringing the total to five or six officers kidnapped. A manhunt was being conducted for the kidnappers and their victims.

Great Britain indicated its support for the proposal of Bernard Baruch to the Atomic Energy Commission of the U.N., that the United States would destroy its nuclear arsenal, agree not to manufacture further atomic bombs, and turn over the nuclear technology to an international authority, provided safeguards would be implemented, with proper sanctions, to provide checks on use of the technology for only peaceful purposes, and provided further that no unilateral veto would exist on the authority.

Russia vetoed the proposal of the British to the U.N. Security Council, supported by the United States, to send to the General Assembly the issue of severance of diplomatic relations with Franco's Spain.

Representative Walter Andrews, a member of the Senate-House conference to reconcile the draft bill, radioed his vote from the Pacific, on his way to view the Bikini atomic bomb test, breaking the deadlock, voting in favor of exemption of eighteen-year olds as a Senate compromise with the House bill which had exempted both eighteen and nineteen-year olds. Eighteen-year olds would be drafted only if absolutely needed to fill quotas.

Hal Boyle, in Zurich, tells of the Swiss bragging that the only unemployed person in the country was Mr. Zippel, the head of the Federal Unemployment Commission. In fact, the Swiss were short on laborers and so had sought to import 20,000 to 40,000 Italians to fill orders for textiles, chemicals, and machinery.

The country was short of raw materials as a third of its fine cotton normally came from England. The United States was the second largest trade customer, while Sweden was first.

Its embroidery industry, centered at St. Gall, had as a primary customer the American Army of occupation in Germany. The post exchanges bought nearly all of the Swiss handkerchiefs. Seventy-five percent of all women's handkerchiefs manufactured at St. Gall the previous year went to America.

Strikes were increasing in the textile industry, but there was no widespread labor unrest. Unions were organized in 75 percent of Swiss industry, with 70 percent of the employees being insured against accident and sickness and two-thirds having an old-age pension plan.

In Michigan, Republican Kim Sigler won the gubernatorial nomination. Former Governor Van Wagoner won the Democratic nomination.

In Miami, a 21-year old ex-Navy gunner who had admittedly killed his father, was deemed to have committed a justifiable homicide based on sibling testimony that the father had committed numerous acts of cruelty, including beatings.

The Kentucky couple who had wed the previous week, the groom being 18 and the bride, 79, had accepted as a gift a hundred-mile jeep ride to a Huntington, W. Va., amusement park. They turned down $400 for a two-week appearance at a New York nightclub because, said the bride, it would be "a heap o' time to be stayin' away from the chickens and the hogs."

On the editorial page, "Congress Ignores the Odds" comments on the report by the Federal Reserve Board that 40 percent of Americans had only $40 in savings, the equivalent of one percent of the liquid assets. The next 30 percent had only 11.5 percent of the assets, while the top 30 percent owned 87.5 percent.

While it was a strong era in terms of personal income, it appeared that any substantial rise in prices would dramatically impact the average consumer.

It recommends therefore that Congress study these statistics before taking the lid off price controls. There was adequate capital in the upper brackets to stimulate production without higher prices. An inflationary spiral would raise prices, according to the estimate of economists, by a minimum of 25 percent. The 70 percent living off their monthly income would be potentially harmed, unless their incomes rose along with prices, lending further impetus to inflation.

But, it predicts, the Federal Reserve Board's warnings would likely receive no wider recognition on Capitol Hill than had those of Chester Bowles, in predicting runaway inflation and disaster from removal of all price controls.

"Unfortunately, Nobody Likes Taxes" comments on the complaint of the Charlotte merchants that the City Council had imposed too much of the burden for increased revenue upon their shoulders by increasing the licensing fees. If the Council were to allow the merchants to get them to backtrack, however, then it would encourage other groups, such as property owners upset about the increase in ad valorem taxes, to protest as well.

"How Great Is the Disagreement?" discusses the apparent gulf between the Administration and Congress regarding labor legislation, finding it not so great as it had appeared. The President, in his veto message on the Case bill, had stated only that he favored temporary emergency legislation and proceeding more slowly, after careful study, with permanent legislation. Congressman Francis Case, himself, had introduced a proposal to study more closely the problems in advance of longer term legislation.

The President had also indicated his support of the Hobbs bill, designed to prevent racketeering in the form of extortion of employers to employ union members. It had arisen in response to the 1942 Supreme Court case involving the Teamsters in New York who seized incoming trucks and drove them to their destinations, forcing payment of wages from the recipients of the goods, a practice which the Court ruled was covered by the ordinary criminal laws of the state and that the Federal racketeering statute in question was originally promulgated to reach the illegal activities of gangsters, not those of unions. The Hobbs bill had passed the House and was headed for the Senate.

It suggested a good omen for finding ground of cooperation between the Congress and the White House. The President recognized that there were union abuses to be addressed and that the majority of the people desired some form of comprehensive labor legislation.

A piece from the Winston-Salem Sentinel, titled " Are We Now Morally Decadent?" comments on the moral decadence of the society which had contributed to the current economic and social unrest.

It cites as evidence the pair of columns of the previous week by Marquis Childs regarding abuses by employers in the training of veterans at Government expense. There was also substantial circumvention of OPA regulations, creating an extensive black market. Labor unions had demonstrated selfishness in the wave of strikes since the end of the war, while manufacturers and farmers had hoarded to create shortages in anticipation of higher prices after price controls were lifted.

The weakness of Government in failing to solve either the problems of domestic issues or foreign relations reflected on the society itself.

It wonders whether the American people could expect purity in government to come out of social corruption or for political strength to come from moral decadence.

Drew Pearson publishes a letter sent from President Roosevelt to Secretary of War Henry Stimson during the summer of 1944, making it clear that he favored a tough occupation policy for Germany, impressing upon the people that they were defeated and must never start another war. The President was not in favor of establishing New Deal-type programs for Germany to aid in its rebuilding. He believed, contrary to popular assumption, that the German people were responsible for Nazism and had to be treated accordingly.

In part because of a lack of Russian cooperation, in part because of the zeal of American commanders to make the American zone function, the President's plan had been set aside. Another part of the motivation to nix it may have come from business cartels which had operated successfully in Germany before the war.

Former Nazis were engaged in running the railroads and teaching in the schools, even administering de-Nazification in some instances. American authorities planned to revitalize the German currency. Both of these developments were problematic.

He next turns to the maritime strike settlement and reports that John Gibson, Assistant Secretary of Labor, had been instrumental in effecting the settlement, along with CIO president Philip Murray.

An inside fact was that there was a large division between Harry Bridges of the Longshoremen's International Union and Joseph Curran of the National Maritime Union, despite the show of solidarity between them during the negotiations. Mr. Murray supported Mr. Curran and had warned Mr. Bridges that if he staged a strike, Mr. Murray would seek ouster of the LIU from CIO and would publicly disown Mr. Bridges.

Herbert Asbury, in a piece from Collier's, discusses the efforts of the Drys in the country to restore prohibition. A third of the populace, according to a December, 1945 Gallup poll, approved of such a move. Kansas, Oklahoma, and Mississippi were completely dry of wine and liquor. About a third of the nation's counties, most of them in the South, had adopted prohibition by local option. About a third to a quarter of Minnesota, Maine, and Vermont were dry. There were a thousand dry towns in Illinois, 130 such voting precincts within Chicago. The same was true in New York, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, New Jersey, and Ohio.

There was little effort by the Drys to try to pass another constitutional amendment to enforce nationwide prohibition as in 1918 and 1919. The effort was directed instead toward individual states and Congressional districts.

They advocated regulation of the liquor traffic as one would regulate a rattlesnake: "Cut its head off! Trample it in the dust!"

Marquis Childs discusses the Baruch Report to the Atomic Energy Commission of the U.N., finding it to have stated unequivocally that America intended peaceful use of atomic energy and sharing it with the nations of the world, provided there would be abandonment of the unilateral veto on the proposed international authority and that there would be sanctions for misuse with adequate policing.

Mr. Childs finds the latter prospect unworkable, hearkening back to similar attempts with the airplane and battleship during the time between the wars. But the primary goal was to abandon the unilateral veto and have a constructive authority over the use and distribution of the technology.

There was still need of some clarification as to whether limitations on supplies of uranium and thorium would apply only to primary supplies or also to small amounts, such as those found in the gold of the Rand mines in South Africa. The issue remained whether the deposits would be under absolute ownership by the authority, as proposed by the report of David Lilienthal and Undersecretary of State Dean Acheson. That report, according to Mr. Acheson, however, favored ownership only of the primary deposits. The Baruch report disfavored such outright ownership.

Mr. Childs suggests that speed in implementation was essential and that cooperation of the Soviets would be the key. The desire of the United States was now firmly on record: peace and security.

Samuel Grafton, still in Los Angeles, also discusses the Baruch plan, stating that if the nations genuinely had good will for one another, the plan would have been received with dancing in the streets. The plan was a good one, against which no one ought register objection.

But the world was comprised of many nations which presently did not trust one another. And the proposed authority for control of nuclear energy would be dominated by Western nations. The United States would only gradually communicate its technological knowledge to the authority.

But while the plan looked good on paper, there was little to nourish hope for its becoming a workable solution to the problem of nuclear technology, given the track record thus far of the U.N. and the lack of cooperation among the major nations.

There was little sign that the Soviets would break the "circle of dismay".

"Mr. Baruch may find to his own surprise, that this plan may become another stone flung into the already rough waters, or to change the figure, that what the world awaits is the end of the storm, not just another set of rules for navigation within its heavy confines."


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