The Charlotte News

Saturday, June 20, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Korea, the Communists this date had angrily told the allies that if the U.N. wanted a truce, it had to control South Korea's rebellious Government and recapture the 26,000 anti-Communist North Korean prisoners freed earlier in the week by South Korean President Syngman Rhee. The letter asked whether the U.N. Command was able to control the South Korean Government and its Army, and, if not, whether the armistice included the "Syngman Rhee clique", if not, what assurances could be given for implementing a truce. The Communist negotiators, however, did not rule out the impending armistice, agreement on the terms of which had been reached. The new terms they set forth regarding the capture of the released prisoners, however, appeared nearly impossible of accomplishment, as the prisoners had been given shelter in South Korean homes with the approval of the Government and had otherwise disappeared into the countryside. South Korea's acting Prime Minister, Y. T. Pyun, had made public a letter to U.N. supreme commander General Mark Clark, demanding freedom for the approximately 9,000 remaining anti-Communist Koreans held by the allies as prisoners. The letter had been drafted on Thursday, a few hours after the release of the other prisoners. The letter said that President Rhee did not regard the terms of the agreed prisoner exchange to be binding on South Korea and warned General Clark that saying or doing anything which might provoke passions of the masses in Korea might then prove hard to maintain under control. At about the same time, General Clark made public a letter written the same day, accusing President Rhee of breaking his recent assurances that South Korea would take no arbitrary action without consulting General Clark. This date's session at Panmunjom lasted 25 minutes, and the letter delivered by the Communist negotiators ended by saying they were awaiting the reply of the allies. The allied delegates made no answer and the meeting recessed indefinitely at the request of the Communists, subject to resumption by the request of either side. U.S. officials in Washington as yet had no comment.

Meanwhile, 300 more prisoners fled U.N. prison camps on Friday night and early Saturday, nine of which had been recaptured.

Four marching crowds of Koreans paraded through Seoul's downtown streets this date, celebrating the release of the prisoners. Allied soldiers, meanwhile, were conducting superficial searches for the prisoners.

A radio commentator, Frank Edwards of the Mutual Broadcasting System, said the previous night that General Clark had sought clearance from the Joint Chiefs and received permission to impose martial law in South Korea, but Pentagon officials this date said they had found no indication of any such action.

In the ground war, the Communists massed some 16,000 fresh troops along the east-central front, during the previous week the site of the greatest offensive since the start of the truce talks two years earlier. Two new enemy divisions were reported moving into the Pukhan River lines, where perhaps 40,000 enemy troops had pushed South Korean troops back as much as two miles the prior Sunday and Monday. Fighting this date, however, remained light, with the enemy push having slackened to platoon and company-sized assaults, as the enemy apparently was probing for weak spots in the South Korean lines.

The Air Force announced that allied air power had suffered its heaviest losses of the war during the previous week while helping to resist the Communist offensive, as 19 planes, including 12 Sabre jets, had been downed behind enemy lines, 14 lost to anti-aircraft guns and five to unexplained causes, but none in dogfights, in which Sabres had shot down 19 enemy MIG-15s. During the battles, U.N. warplanes, in record waves, had dropped bombs and napalm on enemy troops in a major effort to stem the drive. The worst previous allied loss of planes had been 16 during the week of February 5-11, 1952.

In East Berlin, East Germany's leading Communist newspaper admitted this date that the Soviet Zone had been rocked by strikes and disorders, that there were chaotic conditions and a food shortage because of transportation difficulties, the result of a zone-wide strike by railway workers. Under Soviet martial law, which had been declared in the zone, no more than three persons were allowed to meet in public, but the East German police radio reported illegal gatherings at eight points in East Berlin this date. The Communists also announced that many "paid provocateurs", who had been arrested during the riots, were facing Soviet military courts, with one putative leader of the riots, a worker out of West Berlin, having been summarily executed by a firing squad. Maj. General Thomas Timberman, the U.S. commander in West Berlin, said that the Russians had brought in major elements of two armored divisions, about 25,000 men, to quell the disturbances and "tamp down dynamite". He expressed certainty that the Russian gunners understood that their guns were no solution to the overall problem. The General confirmed that his reports showed that the uprisings were widespread, with one of the worst spots being a synthetic gasoline refinery near Halle, East Germany's largest single company, employing 23,000 workers, which had been engulfed by a huge fire.

An Associated Press story tells of the last moments of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, executed the previous night at Sing Sing Prison in New York at 8:00 p.m., after earlier in the day, at noon, the Supreme Court had overturned the stay issued by Justice William O. Douglas on Wednesday. Correspondent Relman Morin reports that neither of the condemned prisoners talked or attempted to talk as their last moments approached. They had separately entered the death chamber only a few moments apart, "with a firm step and a stony face." It had been the day after their 14th wedding anniversary, on which their execution in the electric chair had originally been scheduled, postponed to this date by the intervening stay. To the end, the warden kept two telephone lines open between his office and Washington, on the chance that either the White House or Attorney General Herbert Brownell might indicate a postponement or clemency. The couple had spent their last day together, talking from noon until 6:20 in the woman's wing of the prison, separated by a wire screen. The party of official witnesses to the execution had entered the observation room of the electric chair's chamber about an hour before the electrocutions. The room had been heavy with silence. Rabbi Irving Koslowe entered the chamber while reading from the 23rd Psalm, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…", followed immediately by Mr. Rosenberg. The executions had been arranged so that each spouse would not know when the other had gone down the corridor to the death chamber. Had Mrs. Rosenberg proceeded first, she would have passed her husband's cell. (It was also apparently hoped that the death first of the more culpable Mr. Rosenberg in the conspiracy might prompt Mrs. Rosenberg then to confess her part and thereby accept the Government's offer of commutation of the sentence to life imprisonment, after becoming aware of her husband's death. Both of the Rosenbergs had been offered commutations to life imprisonment by the Government if they confessed their roles in the conspiracy, both having insisted to the end on their innocence.) The story provides a further detailed account of the executions and the physical reactions of each.

A story by Ed Creagh of the Associated Press tells of a voice on the hotel room radio indicating that the two had been executed, prompting a furious response from Emanuel Bloch, defense attorney for the couple, slouched in a chair across the room, exclaiming, "America is shamed forever!" He had taken the news bitterly and defiantly, vowing that "we" would drive from power those who had failed to halt the electrocution, mentioning by name President Eisenhower and Attorney General Brownell. Earlier, police had some trouble keeping the anti-Rosenberg demonstrators away from Mr. Bloch when he had gone to the White House during the afternoon hours to deliver a letter again seeking clemency, previously denied by the President on February 11 and again quickly denied the previous afternoon. He told a group of reporters at his hotel room that the Attorney General had failed to protect American liberties and that the President would go down in history as "a cold-blooded murderer ... no, strike that out, will go down ingloriously in history as a President who countenanced these deaths."

Tessie Greenglass, mother of Ethel Rosenberg and David Greenglass, who had supplied the Government with the case against his sister and Julius Rosenberg at their trial in 1951, had collapsed the previous night when she heard of the death of her daughter and son-in-law, at which point a doctor rushed to her side. She had been sitting amid flickering candles, the ancient symbols of the Jewish Sabbath and of mourning, when she received the news.

Representative John Vorys of Ohio said this date that the House, by approving intact the nearly five billion dollar foreign aid program, nearly all of the budget proposed by the President, had given the President a two to one "vote of confidence to go out and make a record around the world." The Congressman had led the Administration's fight the previous day to prevent substantial cuts in the foreign aid program, approved by the House by a vote of 280 to 108 in a roll call vote, after seven hours of debate, with more Democrats than Republicans ultimately voting in favor of it, 160 Democrats versus 119 Republicans and one independent, with opposition coming from 81 Republicans and 27 Democrats. Both Speaker of the House Joseph Martin and the Majority Leader, former Speaker Sam Rayburn, urged support for the President's foreign aid budget. The measure would now go to the Senate, where it was anticipated that it would encounter less trouble than in the House, where a coalition the previous day of Midwestern Republicans and some Southern Democrats had sought to make cuts to the budget. The bill only authorized funds and actual appropriations had to be voted subsequently. The bill was for 2.6 billion dollars less than that recommended by the final budget of President Truman issued the prior January before he left office, and was 476 million dollars below that recommended by President Eisenhower.

Representative Daniel Reed, chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, had met with the President this date, but declined to say what they discussed, only indicating that it had been a very friendly visit, giving no indication of apparently weakening resolve to continue to bottle up the bill to extend until year's end the excess profits tax, set to expire on its own June 30, with the President having urged the six-month extension. Thus far, Mr. Reed had maintained the bill in Committee, refusing to allow it to come to a vote on the House floor, though he had never stated that he intended to maintain that course indefinitely.

In New York, the four-day tie-up of U.S. shipping in Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports ended the previous night when the National Maritime Union signed a new contract with the shipping companies.

Hot tropical winds from the Gulf of Mexico fanned blistering heat across the middle of the country this date, as temperatures headed for the 90's and higher, with some relief predicted for some areas the following day, the first official day of summer, as the hot air moved slowly eastward and generally warmer weather prevailed in the Eastern half of the nation. Chicago, recording 101.8 degrees, had its hottest temperature in nearly four years, establishing a record for the date. It was 103 in Kansas City, 105 in Fort Smith, Ark., an all-time high for June, and 102 in St. Louis, with readings of 100 or more throughout most of Texas, the high mark having been 107 at Laredo. At Mullen Pass, Mt., the temperature was 33.

It's all them atomic bombs they been explodin' out 'ere and the Martians comin' in to see what's goin' on that's got the heat up. But we got to have them bombs to keep the Commies out, so we'll just have to be hot.

In Detroit, 50 years earlier, a man had left his home in New York because, according to him, his wife had taken in a roomer and refused to make him move elsewhere, and now, at age 84, the man said that he wanted to be left alone to die in peace, after the Detroit police had located him at the request of his daughter who explained that her mother, also 84, had not heard from her father since the day he had left home and would still like to know whether he was still alive. The man indicated that he was fed up when he had departed 50 years earlier, had received a divorce by mail in Texas 17 years earlier, and did not want to see any of them.

Well, just be that way, you old goat.

In Nepal, Bhutia Tensing, the sherpa who had, along with Edmund Hillary, formed the first pair to attain the peak of Mount Everest on May 29, arrived home this date, expressing pain at the controversy regarding whether he or Mr. Hillary had been the first person to set foot on the peak, stating that the two had gone together, "were tied together and won together".

In San Francisco, the Federal-State Market News Service announced that California had set a record for honey production in 1952, with 48,974,000 pounds, 74 percent above the previous record set in 1951, maintaining California as "the sweetest state honeywise".

On the editorial page, "Veterans First, Citizens Second" indicates that the House Appropriations Committee had proposed that the Veterans Administration be given the power to verify statements of veterans with non-service-connected ailments, that they could not pay for the treatment, after the Government Accounting Office had recently determined in a spot check of cases that 62 of 336 veterans had earned adequate income to pay for the treatment, despite having averred to the contrary.

It had appeared for awhile that the House might stand up to the pressure of the veterans lobby and correct the abuse, for the prior Wednesday, the House had approved the proposal. But then on Thursday, a record vote was demanded, whereupon the recommendation of the Appropriations Committee to approve the measure was rejected by a vote of 217 to 180.

It meant that a veteran who could afford to pay for treatment at a VA hospital would be able to receive that treatment for free, despite the fact that there would be fewer facilities and less medical attention available to those who had service-related disabilities, who had "paid a price the nation can never repay."

"Bring on Those Mountain Boys" indicates that an Associated Press story appearing the prior Wednesday regarding the old Russian bi-planes being used to bomb Seoul, Kimpo Airport and Inchon harbor in Korea belonged to the "now we've heard everything" category. The story had pointed out that the old planes flew too slowly and too low to be attacked by the fast modern jets and, because they were made of wood and fabric, could not be picked up by modern radar. Pilots had been given instructions to use converted artillery shells and hand grenades dropped by hand from open cockpits to ward off the pesky intruders. The planes did not do much damage, but did set fires and destroyed an occasional home.

It suggests that the U.N. Command ought be able to figure out the problem fairly quickly, as there were thousands of World War I veterans who had become experts at taking shots at the German Fokkers of that war over France, learning to hug the dirt until the planes drifted by and then blasting away with their rifles from ground level, becoming pretty good at knocking them out of the sky. Or, the U.N. might rustle up some Piper Cubs, load them with Blue Ridge natives equipped with squirrel guns and send them aloft in pursuit of the old Russian-made PO2's. "These boys not only know how to lead a quarry just right; their timing is so good that they could probably shoot right through their own propellers."

The piece knows whereof it speaks. As we have previously related, we were once, along with a friend, building a rock wall during the summer of 1973, while the Watergate hearings were transpiring, in a somewhat remote location in the mountains of North Carolina, near Boone, when a young boy, probably ten years of age, walked up and began quizzing us about what we were doing, eventually, asking whether we believed he could hit that snake in the river, which we had to squint in the bright noontime sunlight even to see, whereupon we answered that we did not know, at which point he picked up a small pebble and cast it the 20 or so yards toward the snake, taking the snake's head completely off. We expressed amazement at the feat, one no doubt learned, perhaps partially passed on genetically, by living in the mountain terrain where such exploits were prized. Perhaps, all the U.N. Command really had to do was to equip the mountain boys with suitably sized rocks.

We did not, incidentally, ask the boy whether he might have a mind to attend a Presidential rally soon, perhaps equipped with suitably sized rocks. That would have come perilously close to aiding and abetting. And, it was becoming daily apparent by that July that the Administration was self-destructing anyway.

"File 13 for the Form Letter" indicates that recently the newspaper had received a letter signed by the publisher of the Marine News out of New York City, taking issue with one of the newspaper's recent editorials regarding porkbarrel politics by which rivers and harbors appropriations were made. It indicates that his disagreement was welcome but that his arguments sounded quite familiar, and so checking back through their files, they had found that he had written a letter to the newspaper in March, 1952, which had been virtually identical in its content, indicating both times that legislation was free from pork and economically sound. It had been surprised, however, by the fact that the efficient, well-financed engineer lobby, with a clipping service and provision for personal replies to editorials, had used a form letter to respond, as the smart public relations people had dropped the form letter long earlier, and so it had dropped the second letter into the wastebasket.

"What Can Be Done about the Weather?" indicates that there had been recent bills introduced in Congress to investigate the connection between artificial rainmaking and meteorological disturbances, and between the atomic tests in Nevada and the prevalence of late of tornadoes.

Rain, which could be good for one farmer's corn, might be bad for a neighbor's new-mown hay, causing manmade rainfall to be as whimsical in its effect as its natural counterpart. Anent the connection between atomic tests and tornadoes, there had actually been no greater incidence of tornadoes in the current year than during the previous 35 years, when there had been an average of 157 annually, with 132 having occurred thus far in 1953, the only difference having been that a small percentage of them had occurred in heavily populated areas, resulting in above normal death and destruction.

It finds it advisable to inquire into all types of meteorological phenomena but it was proper to maintain in mind also that scientific opinion held that there was no connection between the tornadoes and artificial rainmaking or atomic bomb tests. "Quite possibly, though, one of their byproducts is a lot of hot air."

A piece from the Sanford (N.C.) Herald, titled "No Foreign Ruler Here!" indicates that dewberries might be all right for those who liked them, according to the Greensboro Daily News, taking note of the Herald's nomination of the dewberry as the queen of berries, but votes instead for the raspberry. The Daily News had asked whether the readers had ever gone out and tasted them, newly picked from the bush "in all their pristine tastiness, lusciousness and flavor". The piece answers in the negative, that they had remained in the "same red clay and sandy loam country" where the editors had grown up and that their aunts and grandmothers had never raised raspberries, though "as a little shaver", the writer had picked raspberries at his Aunt Mame's in Virginia's Loudon County, an experience on which the piece expostulates at some length.

"Let England have her Elizabeth and Holland her Juliana and whatever sections that grow it their raspberry. But in the Sandhills we'll pay homage to the dewberry as queen."

Well, that is until it done gone again...

Drew Pearson indicates that scientists were loath to discuss publicly, while some were discussing privately, a potential connection between the atomic tests conducted at the Nevada test site and the unprecedented wave of tornadoes which had occurred across the nation in 1953. The few scientists who had commented publicly on the matter had reassured the country that there was no connection between the two events, while other scientists were not satisfied and wanted to see the subject thoroughly explored by a committee of expert meteorologists and nuclear physicists. One physicist had commented that it was known that a few handfuls of silver iodide, properly vaporized, could produce thousands of tons of rainfall by triggering a reaction in the clouds. He had indicated that following an atomic blast, the air becomes full of dust particles which were radioactively charged, practically the same type of charged dust used to trigger reactions in the experimental Wilson Cloud Chamber with silver iodide. He thus questioned whether it was not possible for a small trigger to produce large reactions in the atmosphere. He pointed out that the Eastman Kodak Co. could detect radiation on their photographic film at their headquarters in Rochester, N.Y., despite being nearly 3,000 miles distant from the Yucca Flat nuclear test site. Eastman authorities were warned in advance of each detonation so they could safeguard their film from the radioactive dust in the air. Thus, he had reasoned that such radioactive dust could produce tornadoes in remote locations, such as those which had recently occurred in Worcester, Mass., Flint, Mich., and Cleveland, O. He indicated that he was not saying flatly that there was a connection, but that there was enough evidence to examine the subject further.

Senator Karl Mundt of South Dakota had not counted on opposition when his wife had charmed Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield into seeking reversal of the elimination from the budget by the Budget Office of the money for the Oahe Dam in South Dakota, such that the 8.25 million dollars for the dam was restored to the budget on condition that Senator Mundt make up the difference by cutting the budget by the same amount otherwise, leading to his cut of 8.3 million dollars from the State Department's appropriations. Despite the effort, South Dakota farmers living along the Missouri River, who would be flooded by construction of the dam, were not happy, and the State Department was quite mad and determined to have its budget cut restored. There was also a growing tide of opposition from scientists and historians regarding the dam, pointing out that the waters of the Oahe Reservoir would flood some of the most priceless of prehistoric Indian ruins on the continent. Thus, it was still not clear whether the dam would be constructed.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that it was unprecedented for a mere magazine article to be considered by the National Security Council, but Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer's article titled, "Atomic Weapons and American Policy", appearing in the current issue of Foreign Affairs, had proved the first exception to that rule. The article by Dr. Oppenheimer, who had the largest responsibility for development of the atomic bomb which was dropped on Hiroshima, was based on an address he had delivered to a select group of students of foreign relations, an address which had caused concern among the staff of the NSC, thus prompting inquiry as to whether there would be any problem with publishing it in Foreign Affairs for a larger audience. In the end, the Council gave it neither approval nor disapproval, but cleared it for publication.

The author had begun by giving his rough guess as to Soviet atomic progress, asserting that he believed it was about four years behind the U.S. and that its scale was not as big as was that of the U.S. four years earlier, perhaps half that big. But he also cautioned that it was no ground for comfort, as the Hiroshima bomb had killed 70,000 people, and thus a lead in atomic weaponry did not matter much when each side had enough bombs which were more destructive than the Hiroshima bomb to enable each power to destroy the other, with rather the capability of delivery and defense being uppermost in importance. He said that there had been relatively little done to secure the U.S. defense against the atom bomb and that it could be anticipated that the two powers would each be in a position in time to put an end to civilization and life of the other nation, though not without risking its own.

He recommended "the greatest attainable freedom of action" in the atomic field, requiring informing the people of the facts, informing allies of the facts, and doing what could be done to improve air defenses. The principal facts were known to the enemy. The workings of a free society required open information and debate to elicit informed public opinion, with a free society unable to survive if it were afraid of its own people.

Dr. Oppenheimer indicated that no air defense system presently conceived would constitute a permanent solution to the nuclear threat, but it was no excuse for not doing what was possible to improve the system.

The Alsops suggest that what he had said appeared to be no ground for getting anyone upset, but the truth was that telling the truth about the matter to the American people would require that something be done about the problem, interfering with the extant policy of sweeping the matter under the rug where it would grow in darkness.

Marquis Childs indicates that the Rosenberg case illustrated again the stresses on human institutions such as the Supreme Court, revelatory of an inner controversy among "The Brethren", in latter times a phrase for the nine Justices which was uttered with heavy sarcasm. The stay of execution granted the prior Wednesday by Justice William O. Douglas, had been overturned by the full Court on Friday, clearing the way that night for the execution of the Rosenbergs, following six petitions to the Court, the last of which having been presented to Justice Robert Jackson, who normally considered such matters out of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York. Justice Jackson had recommended oral argument before the full Court on the last day of the regular term, a recommendation also joined by Justices Harold Burton and Felix Frankfurter, with five assenting votes needed for setting the matter for oral argument on the motion for stay. Justice Hugo Black was in favor of a rehearing on the underlying issues, but since that was impossible, as the issues had already been before the Court, he joined with the other three to favor hearing the oral argument to stay the execution at least temporarily. The vote of Justice Douglas would have made the necessary fifth vote. The official report indicated that he would have granted a stay to hear the case on the merits, as he believed the petition for writ of certiorari and the petition for rehearing presented "substantial questions", but that since the Court had decided not to hear the underlying issues, there would be no end served by granting oral argument on the motion for stay, as the motion, itself, presented no new "substantial question" not previously presented by the petitions for certiorari and rehearing. Thus, he voted the prior Monday against hearing oral argument on the motion for the stay.

Two days later, on Wednesday, as he was preparing to leave the city after most of the other Justices had already departed, Justice Douglas had granted the stay—though confused by Mr. Childs with the original motion for stay presented by Emanuel Bloch, the retained counsel for the Rosenbergs, that which had been denied on Monday, as more fully developed in the two items of linked material regarding Justice Douglas of two days earlier. In fact, as the Court pointed out in its Friday decision overturning the stay, the stay granted on Wednesday by Justice Douglas was on motion by other counsel, for the "next friend" of the Rosenbergs, not retained by them, pertinent to a separate issue never raised by Mr. Bloch, and, indeed, a position against which Mr. Bloch argued as without merit at the time of oral argument on the motion for stay on Thursday, that being the issue of whether the penalty provisions of the 1946 Atomic Energy Act had superseded and supplanted the penalty provisions of the 1917 Espionage Act, under which the Rosenbergs were convicted and sentenced to death, the Court holding that there was no issue thereby presented which was significant, as there was no ground for making such an argument, based on the lack of Congressional intent expressed in the 1946 Act to supersede any part of the 1917 Act, and because the convictions of the Rosenbergs for conspiracy to provide atomic secrets to the Soviets had been principally predicated on acts occurring prior to the passage of the 1946 Act and thus not, in any event, subject to prosecution thereunder because of the ex post facto doctrine, prohibiting a subsequently passed law from being applied to prior acts of misconduct to make what was non-criminal at the time of commission, at least as to particular elements of the new crime, criminal, expressly prohibited in the Constitution.

Mr. Childs continues that the action by Justice Douglas in granting the stay on Wednesday had aroused old animosities on the Court, especially the old jealousy existing between Justice Jackson and Justice Douglas since 1946, when, at the time of the death of Chief Justice Harlan Stone, Justice Jackson was not named chief by President Truman, as he had hoped, for the reason of the need to establish better relations among the Justices—Justice Jackson, for one thing, having incurred resentment on the Court by being away for the full 1945-46 term as lead prosecutor in the Nuremberg trials, thereby increasing the workload of the remaining eight Justices. Thus, Fred Vinson, who had held several positions in Government, at the time of appointment being Secretary of Treasury, was named Chief. Mr. Childs suggests that the feeling within the Court was that the Rosenberg stay issue had been a new blow bringing on doubt and ridicule of the institution and weakening its authority, already suffering from dissension. He indicates that it was difficult to imagine that such "prejudices and predilections cut so deeply" within the formal setting of the Court, but that occasionally such did occur. "The concept of men dedicated to the law, more or less withdrawn from the controversies of day to day existence, seems even as an ideal to be discarded."

As a footnote, a young William Rehnquist, who would be confirmed as a Justice to the Court in early 1972 following appointment by President Nixon, becoming thereafter a regular dissenter as a Justice, until his appointment as Chief in 1986 by President Reagan, was a law clerk to Justice Jackson during this very term of the Court in 1952-53, Justice Jackson subsequently dying in October, 1954. Of course, Chief Justice Rehnquist remained in the position until his death in 2005, proving to be a less conservative Chief than he had been an Associate Justice, as the historical role of the Chief is wont to be, to preserve the historical moderation and balance of the Court as a whole institution. Those who imagine a heavily rightist agenda for the Supreme Court, therefore, are living in a dream land. Lawyers, at least those educated at accredited and modern law schools, those competent to serve, are not taught to be either right or left in their orientation, the popular wind to the contrary notwithstanding. That has been true at least since the 1960s, by which time most modern, accredited law schools had begun to follow the model of Harvard and adopt the Socratic method as a means of teaching law in most courses. That method, reliant as it is on probing questions rather than lecture as in college courses, cannot be used easily to indoctrinate a particular political point of view on the spectrum, or easily manipulated to lead students in a particular direction, without that direction being readily discernible to bright law students, who inevitably will resist same and rebel against any professor so attempting it. Once the public might understand the law school educational process better, it will likely understand better how the courts work and why particular Supreme Court Justices might, on occasion, disappoint those who had invested in a Justice their ideological wish list for decision-making by the high Court at the time the Justice was appointed. Any Supreme Court Justice who decides cases on the basis of ideology, rather than the law and Court precedent, except in those rare instances where precedent so shocks the modern conscience or has developed such a confusing system of jurisprudence in practice as to be cumbersome and unwieldy that it calls for modification or overruling, goes against the grain of the entire jurisprudential history of the country, notwithstanding the fact that individual dissents or, sometimes, concurring opinions, might express more individualized approaches to a particular principle being considered before the Court. The concept of a majority opinion hammered out among nine Justices necessitates a process of compromise to reach sufficient consensus on a given legal principle as applied to particular facts in a case before the Court, or, in some instances, a group of cases which seek the same basic relief, as in Brown v. Board of Education.

Without stability in the law through time, the institution of the law becomes fragile, with political winds bending it this way and that with constant sway, until no longer predictable by the people, leading only to despotism and chilled conduct as its effect, causing society itself to break down, potentially into violent revolution when one party or one creed is perceived as having taken over all three branches of government for a considerable length of time.

Indeed, as we have argued previously, it is long past time to have a Democratic-appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the last time that occurred having been Chief Justice Vinson in 1946, serving until his death in September, 1953. There have only been two Democratic-appointed Chiefs, including elevated Justice Stone by FDR in 1941, originally appointed by President Calvin Coolidge, a Republican, since Melville Fuller, appointed by President Grover Cleveland in 1888, though Chief Justice Edward White, appointed by Republican President William Howard Taft in 1910, had been until that point an Associate Justice, originally appointed by President Cleveland in 1894. (As pointed out previously, President Johnson's elevation of Justice Abe Fortas to Chief, in replacement of retiring Chief Justice Earl Warren in the summer of 1968, was blocked by a ridiculous filibuster led by South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond and joined by other segregationists and conservatives, especially absurd as Justice Fortas had been confirmed as a member of the Court just three years earlier, and, but for the filibuster, based on a test vote, would have been confirmed as Chief, to have been joined on the Court by his replacement, Associate Justice-designate, Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Homer Thornberry. That display of hubris-driven, ideologically-based politics led to President Nixon being able to appoint in his first year in office, as Chief Justice, Warren Earl Burger, and as Associate Justice, replacing Justice Fortas who resigned from the Court in disgust, Harry Blackmun, following two failed nominations for the latter seat, Clement Haynesworth and Harold Carswell—Mr. Nixon's undergarments having, however, been shown in the process to those who were attentive and especially nettled by the subject.)

Perhaps a better institution might develop were there to be a system adopted by Congress within the concept of the lifetime appointment of Federal judges, whereby the Chief serves on a rotating basis for a specific number of years, for instance five or ten, selected only from among the existing Associate Justices, either in order of their seniority or as elected by the other members of the Court, with no single Justice allowed to sit in rotation as Chief more than once until all other existing members had served—not dissimilar to the method by which Chief Judges are named on a rotating basis in the various Circuit Courts of Appeals. There is nothing in the Constitution which specifies that the Chief Justice has to serve in that role for life, only that the appointments to all Article III Federal courts are for life, that is "during good behavior". The modern trend, until Chief Justice Rehnquist, was for Chiefs to serve between about 10 and 15 years before retirement or death, from the time of Chief Justice White through Chief Justice Burger, the latter having served 17 years, the longest period of time since prior to Chief Justice White. It is quite unfair to have such a long lineage of Republican-appointed Chiefs, for 98 of the past 110 years, merely by the happenstance of death or retirement during the term of a Republican President, especially when that lineage has occurred during that 110-year period since 1910 when there have been 56 years of Democratic Presidents and 54 years of Republican Presidents—just as it is quite unfair to maintain a spare majority of the Court, based on a single ideological and party affiliation of the appointing President, for the past 50 years, the present majority being entirely dependent on politics, since the outrageously partisan spectacle of 2016 when Senator Mitch McConnell and his Republican Senate yes-men refused, without precedent in the nation's history, even to hold hearings on the nomination by President Obama of Justice-designate Merrick Garland, following the death in February of that year of Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the more tawdry episodes in the entire history of the country and one which should condemn Senator McConnell to the trash heap of history as a partisan hack for time and times into the future. Take away the appearance of fairness in the very constitution of the highest Court in the land and what are you going to have and reap in result but lawlessness in the streets?

We wish, incidentally, the best of health to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who has served the institution of the Supreme Court quite honorably since her appointment by President Clinton in 1993. You Republican arch-conservative witch-hunters need to get a life, and retract your heads from the drowning pool of macabre wish-thinking, hardly anything resemblant to the basic Judeo-Christian ethic of fair play and honor in all things.

A letter writer indicates that she had participated in the public school system's Bible study program while in high school two years earlier and finds it hard to believe that there were people such as the 26 Charlotte Baptist ministers, who had petitioned the City and County School Boards to end the program as a violation of the principle of separation of church and state, contained in the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. She says that she knew of several students who had been kept on the right track by the Bible study program and could remember no student who was spiritually weakened by it. She assures that there was no discrimination made between the students who took the course as an elective and those who did not. She also assures that she had never heard an instructor impart to the students their own church's beliefs, but even if that had been done to clear up a point of discussion, she finds that all Christians believed basically the same things and that it was better to learn something from the Bible than nothing at all.

But, as you proceed in life, if you have not already realized it, you will find that there are many people with whom you will come in contact in the society who do not accept Christ as Savior, and yet will hold steadfast to their religious or ethical principles, which are every bit endowed with as much salutary quality as are the basic principles of Christianity, and, sometimes, less freighted with the kind of emotional baggage which, unfortunately, leads many self-proclaimed Christians quite astray from those basic tenets in their hard-headed conceptions that they are "right" and that anyone who might disagree is therefore quite wrong, a "sinner", condemned to hell and damnation for the fact of being an "unbeliever". In other words, their entire Christian existence is premised on belief in Christ as Savior, and the rest of it be damned. They can behave as they damn well please and then acquire forgiveness for any untoward acts, especially acts against the damned, because they are "saved". We beg to differ. They read in the New Testament that which they want to read, which confirms their preconceived notions of Christianity, and damn the rest which might damn them for their self-righteous arrogance, judgment of others, and frowardness.

A letter writer from Mount Holly indicates praise for the newspaper for allowing public opinion to be expressed regarding the teaching of the Bible in the public schools, finding more sympathy toward those who supported the teaching after reading their points of view, though not changing her basic stand that the public schools were not the place for teaching religion. She recommends having those who wanted Bible teaching for their children to send them to church for an hour or two several days per week following school or on Saturday, as did some of the young Jewish children, attending Hebrew school. She indicates that a democratic community was sensible enough to solve the problem in some other way than having the Bible program wind up in a prolonged court test, involving time, expense and bitterness. She again expresses thanks to the newspaper, having become quite perturbed at being denied a forum on the matter in another publication.

A letter, not the first, from the president of the Friends of the Birds, Inc., in Santa Barbara, Calif., indicates that cats and human hunters had killed off birds which had fed off the army worm, an invasion of which had been made up by top ornithologists to protect the 43 species of such birds. She recounts of the William Beebe expedition into a wild jungle of Venezuela, never before visited by man, finding that the birds so protected the members of the expedition against insects that they did not need to carry anti-mosquito devices. Birds, she indicates, acted to repel insect pests. "Let birds continue to be slaughtered by cats and hunters, and all life will go to the bugs." She reports that cat lovers endlessly repeated the disproved alibi that unless cats were allowed to run loose, the country would be flooded with rats, but finds that it was flooded with both cats and rats.

But do the cats and rats wear hats in the flats, and don't the cats catch gnats?

A letter writer, the headmaster of Charlotte Country Day School, thanks the newspaper staff for its kindness in news coverage of the school during the previous year, indicating that he had received commendation from readers.

A letter writer from Los Angeles indicates succinctly: "Manner of living and manner of doing things are more likely to be the real reasons for discrimination than differences of religious beliefs or racial lines." The newspaper captions the brief missive, "'Nuff Said".

And, while it is not always the case, it is a sound thought worth keeping in daily life, so as not to be unduly reactive, especially to mere words, inducing one compulsively to jerk out one's smart phone to capture the latest incident of set-up, often provoked, "racism" or other ism, ism, ism, the presence of which in the age of YouTube, wherein one can start receiving the big bucks after a million views, having become so prevalent and so picayune in the presentation of supposed "proof" of the ascribed characteristic to reach the point of absurdity and obvious paranoia on the part of the poster. Not every expression of disapproval of the behavior of a person who happens to be of a different race or ethnic background or religion from that of the speaker is thereby necessarily overcast by the shadow of that difference, but may simply be an observation which the same person would make of any person, without such differences, acting under the same conditions and circumstances in the same manner, whether or not the observation, itself, appears overly judgmental or even absurdly picky as a general proposition.

Even if it seems apparent under the circumstances that the other is engaged in some form of stereotyping, whether it be based on mere clothing or length of hair or the like, a mutable characteristic, or an immutable one, rather than responding with some equally disturbing racial or other stereotype, such as branding the person a "Karen" or "cracker", a defensive device which implies that the person's remark has, as they hoped and intended, struck a raw nerve in the target, the better way is to rise above the mere words, either ignoring the statements and treating the person with complete silence and nonchalantly averted glance, as if they are quite crazy, and walk on, or saying, without fanfare in polite tone, "Thank you, Nice-Nelly" or, as the case might be, "Simon-Pure", and walk on. Such persons will probably take that as a compliment and also walk on, contented, which is fine. Butting heads with them in dueling stereotypes or, worse, smart-phone recordation, often mutual, is not conducive to better human relations, will only irritate and elevate the illogical, divisive mess, perpetuating stereotypes held on both sides of whatever divide is at issue, while also, in some instances, wasting police resources and potentially court resources on matters which are at worst minor annoyances in daily discourse, with which everyone has occasionally to endure from persons who are either quite nuts or perhaps temporarily under stress for unknown reasons. Ignore it, unless a confrontation becomes physical, and move on. Sticks and stones...

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