The Charlotte News

Tuesday, June 30, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via John Randolph, that Sabre jets had shot down 15 enemy MIG-15s this date, raising the June kill to 74, suddenly smashing the previous monthly record of 63 established the prior September. The toll had been rung up without a single lost Sabre during the month. During the previous 75 days, 143 of the enemy jets had been shot down with only a single Sabre lost, that having been during May, when 55 MIGs were shot down. This date's total also topped the previous single day record of 13, set on July 4, 1952. Two Communist nuisance raiders had also been shot down the previous night, 50 miles south of Seoul, believed to be the deepest penetration into South Korea of enemy aircraft during the war.

The intensity of the air battles enabled the battered infantrymen on the western front to rest momentarily after two weeks of consistent fighting. The ground war dwindled to principally probes and skirmishes. The enemy had fired a record 1.5 million artillery and mortar shells during the entire month, more than double that in any previous month of the war.

The North Korean Communist radio broadcast this date a rejection of the U.N. Command's offer to sign an armistice on terms previously agreed. The broadcast charged that the letter sent from U.N. supreme commander General Mark Clark to the Communist military leaders the previous day had lacked "sincerity" and was "inconsistent" with the facts. It said that there was "connivance" between the U.N. Command and South Korea in the order of South Korean President Rhee to release on June 18 27,000 North Korean prisoners who refused repatriation. It also found the letter not to provide any guarantee on the future conduct of the South Korean Government in accepting and abiding by the truce. The letter had indicated that the U.N. allies would undertake every effort to ensure that South Korea did accord the terms. Shortly afterward, Assistant Secretary of State Walter Robertson, special emissary of the President, indicated that President Rhee had also persisted in his refusal to accept the truce, despite optimism indicated the previous day that he was likely to cooperate. Mr. Robertson said that he and President Rhee were seeking a solution to the issues, acceptable to both governments while not sacrificing the principles of either.

Senate Minority Leader Lyndon Johnson of Texas pleaded for foreign policy unity this date in the face of an attack by Senator William Langer of North Dakota on the Administration's 5.3 billion dollar foreign aid bill. Senator Johnson said in an interview that he knew of no "crippling" amendments to be offered by Democrats to the measure to continue the Mutual Security Adminstration, responsible for foreign aid. He said that the less partisanship displayed in the matter, the better it would be for the country, for if ever it needed unity on foreign policy, it was at the present. The Senate was entering its second day of debate on the bill. The House had approved not quite five billion dollars for foreign aid, with a billion held back in reserve, to be withheld from countries who did not properly provide for their own defense, primarily aimed at the six NATO countries forming the European Defense Community, establishing a unified army, thus far only West Germany having ratified the treaties. Senator Johnson said that he and Senator Taft had agreed to co-sponsor an amendment aimed at eliminating the House provision to withhold the billion dollars, and that a similar amendment to the Senate bill would leave the matter entirely up to the discretion of the President. Senator Langer had said before the Senate the previous day that the foreign aid bill was a "fraud on the credulity of the American people", as the allies had selfishly recognized "right and duty only to themselves". He said that Secretary of State Dulles had "played the part of a big bluff Santa Claus" during his tour of Europe, and that the U.S. had been placed in a position of supporting European colonial policy in Asia, causing some Asiatic areas to regard the Russians as their liberators from such policies. Senator Langer had traditionally opposed what he called giveaway programs. Senate leaders were confident that the measure would pass by a substantial majority. Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Alexander Wiley of Wisconsin had said the previous day that with Russian control of the European satellites "crumbling", it was no time for the U.S. to retrench on foreign aid. The Foreign Relations Committee approved an amendment under which 400 million dollars in aid to Indochina would return to the Treasury should the war with the Communists in that country end.

What will that be in 1975 dollars?

Correspondent John Scali reports that Secretary of State Dulles this date said at a news conference that the French Government had approved of holding a Big Three foreign ministers conference in Washington on July 10, as a prelude to the scheduled conference in Bermuda of the heads of state of the Big Three, France, Britain and the U.S. Britain had proposed the previous day that the foreign ministers conference take place in advance of the meeting of the heads of state. Secretary Dulles told the press conference that one of the principal reasons for a three-power meeting would be to draft a united Western position toward Germany. He said that the general unrest in East Germany and other Soviet satellite problems would also be discussed. Mr. Scali indicates that Far Eastern problems would also undoubtedly be on the agenda, especially the wars in Korea and Indochina. It was also believed that the British-Egyptian quarrel over the Suez Canal Zone and the NATO defense problems would be discussed as well.

The Eisenhower Administration, following weeks of bitter infighting with Republicans on the House Ways & Means Committee, appeared this date to have cleared the hurdle for obtaining a six-month extension for the excess profits tax, scheduled to expire this date otherwise. Working behind the scenes, Administration forces had managed to put the quietus on the rebellion by House Ways & Means Committee chairman Daniel Reed, who had previously blocked action on the bill. Both Republican and Democratic members of that Committee had said this date that they firmly expected the extension bill to pass to the House floor, where it would easily pass. It was also expected to pass quickly in the Senate.

General Hoyt Vandenberg retired as chief of staff of the Air Force, receiving the Distinguished Service Medal, and then was honored by a flight of jet planes and marching troops at his farewell this date. The Medal was for the General's "exceptionally meritorious performance of duties as chief of staff" between April 30, 1948 and this date. The General had been an Air Force officer for 30 years. General Nathan Twining, who would become chairman of the Joint Chiefs in 1957, would succeed General Vandenberg as chief of staff.

In Montgomery, Ala., the beginning of an experimental inoculation of 30,000 children with a polio vaccine, in an attempt to end an epidemic, would take place in the ensuing four days. The National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis had shipped 67 gallons of the serum, along with 30,000 hypodermic needles, 15,000 syringes and other necessary equipment for the vaccination. The community had seen the rate of polio cases climb to 81 per day, and volunteers would participate in providing the inoculations. The gamma globulin vaccine did not provide permanent immunity from polio, but experts believed that the month of protection it afforded would at least halt the epidemic through the worst of the hot-weather polio season. Researchers had ordered the Atlanta headquarters of the polio Foundation to stand by for a rush request of additional iron lungs, rocking beds and other life-saving equipment should the outbreak continue unchecked.

In Durban, South Africa, a large bush fire in a Northern Zululand native reservation had caused the death of two Africans, burned down kraals, destroyed crops and killed cattle and goats.

In Charlotte, a Solicitations Review Board, consisting of 5 to 15 persons, would be set up at a meeting the following Thursday, at which nominations for the Board would be made at a meeting of a 70-member Solicitations Information Committee, established by the Chamber of Commerce. A study committee, consisting of News editor Pete McKnight and two other men, had made suggestions for the set-up of the Board, designed to assist public and private agencies in detecting and eliminating fraudulent charity campaigns, and to seek maximum support for fundraising drives by encouraging reasonable quotas, eliminating duplication of efforts among the various agencies and cutting of overlapping campaigns.

Tom Fesperman of The News indicates that former Senator and president of UNC Frank Porter Graham had told him during a visit in Charlotte that he planned to remain at work as mediator in the India-Pakistan dispute as long as he was needed or wanted, possibly more than two years into the future. He provided no details on the India and Pakistan dispute over the territory of Kashmir, ongoing for five years, but said that even after settlements were reached, there would have to be plebiscites in both countries, overseen by the U.N. He had no comment on North Carolina politics. Mr. Graham was visiting relatives in Charlotte for a few days of rest. (Incidentally, The News and other news organizations fairly consistently provided the title of "Dr." to Mr. Graham, on the assumption that as a former history professor at UNC, he had earned a PhD., but in fact he had never gotten his doctorate. He was, however, a lawyer and had obtained a master's degree from Columbia, as well as having undertaken other graduate study.)

In St. Louis, the Frisco Railroad received five dollars from a man who had taken a free 100-mile ride in 1902, the man saying that he had taken deliberate advantage of a confused conductor on a train running late, and was able to ride from Lenea, Kans., to Springfield, Mo., without a ticket. He thanked the railroad for the favor, saying that he had been short of cash at the time. What about the interest?

On the editorial page, "An Adroit Display of Presidential Talent" quotes from "Old Tarleton's Song", first printed in London in 1642, saying that for awhile the previous day, it appeared as the new theme song of the Eisenhower Administration. Administration leaders in the House had bypassed Daniel Reed's Ways & Means Committee and were prepared to force a floor vote on a Rules Committee bill to extend the excess profits tax for an additional six months, as sought by the President. Then, they decided not to force the issue, but rather to allow the Ways & Means Committee to have another chance to force a vote on the bill over the objections of its cantankerous chairman, Mr. Reed. They had obtained, it appeared, enough votes on the Committee to assure a favorable outcome. It hopes so, as it would be disastrous to the Administration's goal of balancing the budget to have the excess profits tax end, as currently scheduled on this date, making the deficit even larger for the coming fiscal year. It would also demean the new Administration's prestige, given that Congress was controlled by the same party.

It indicates that it was amazing that the committee system still functioned in such manner to give the chairman the enormous power to block committee action on a matter of such importance. A committee chairman could negate the votes of all of the other 434 Representatives, and, effectively, the entire Senate membership, simply by blocking a bill from being sent to the floor for debate and vote.

And, such still goes on, with a Senate Majority Leader who is incapable of understanding bipartisan fairness and the necessity for such cooperation in governing the country, consistently, even for a good part of the time during the national pandemic, placing partisan politics above the interests and good of the country. We hope that the Democrats, when they return to power in the Senate and the White House come January, will understand the necessity to undo as quickly and efficiently as possible the mess which has been done to the country for the past four years, including the 2016 debacle, orchestrated by Mr. McConnell and his fellow Senate Republicans, preventing, for the first time in the country's history, occurrence of any hearings on a President's Supreme Court nominee. There has never been, in the entire history of the country, such a partisan attitude displayed by persons in Government leadership roles. It has done, quite obviously, great damage to the country.

"The Governor Names His Selections" indicates that North Carolinians would get a good measure of satisfaction from the gubernatorial appointments which had been announced by Governor William B. Umstead in Raleigh the previous day, renaming Eugene Shaw as commissioner of revenue, underscoring the Governor's policy of keeping men in government who were doing a good job, Mr. Shaw having been appointed by former Governor Kerr Scott and having impressed State Government observers with his ability and diligence. Also appointed was Edwin Gill, who would return to State Government as Treasurer, having been a former legislator and secretary to the late Governor O. Max Gardner, and later serving as commissioner of revenue and commissioner of paroles. The Governor had also appointed several special Superior Court judges, two of whom had already served two-year terms, including Judge Susie Sharp of Reidsville, later to be appointed as the first female Justice of the State Supreme Court, subsequently becoming Chief.

The Governor had mentioned that he had not been able to get his first choice for some of the judgeships, as he had offered them to outstanding lawyers in the state, who had declined. It suggests that the reason was that the two-year term for the special judges had caused many successful lawyers to hesitate giving up established practices when the job might end in two years. It suggests that the remedy was statewide redistricting to increase the number of regular judges with eight-year terms, but it doubts that such a plan would ever be approved by the politics-ridden General Assembly.

"Challenge" indicates that Methodist Bishop G. Bromley Oxnam of Washington had answered a statement by Representative Donald Jackson of California that the Bishop worked for the Lord on Sunday and for the Communist front the rest of the week, by saying that he challenged critics of the church to name a single clergyman who held a position of great responsibility in any Protestant church and was also a member of the Communist Party. The piece suggests therefore that it was now up to Congressman Jackson to name one.

"Talk Means Little in Drought Area" indicates that the drought experienced in the Southwestern United States had been building up for several weeks and had become the worst in that region's history, with cattle dying of starvation and some stockmen selling their cattle for as low as four cents per pound on the hoof, for being unable to afford the cost of feed while cattle were selling at that price. The previous week, Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson had spent several days in the region examining the situation and discussing with the cattlemen proposed measures for providing them aid, and the previous day, the Government had issued to 192 Texas and Oklahoma counties eight million dollars in emergency relief, making feed available to the stockmen at a level somewhat below the support price. The President also would ask the Interstate Commerce Commission to permit railroads to reduce freight rates in the drought area.

It indicates that at such times, plans, talk and surveys meant little and that what was needed was swift action in cutting of bureaucratic red tape. Such a policy could serve the nation's strength, as surely the death or sale at cheap prices of the foundation herds in the Southwest would cost the nation more than would all the feed which the cattle could consume until the rains would come.

But, the President cannot issue executive orders to appropriate money unilaterally, as the present White House occupant just did, for purely political theater, as that presents a President out of control, trying to substitute himself for Congress, with his poll numbers in the basement three months before the national election. It is merely a cheap maneuver to try to get your vote. Don't be fooled. If it had not been for this fool in the White House, this second aid package likely would have been unnecessary or at least not to the same extent. It is a totally incompetent White House, built magically out of thin air with very little previous Government experience in many of the most critical policy-making roles, reflective of the guy at the top, who came to the White House, for the first time in the history of the nation, without any prior experience at any level of government, a ridiculous situation which the nation hopefully will never repeat. While it has been said that the Presidency has no training academy, there is always much to be said for prior Senate or executive experience as a governor, or in a few limited cases, at least solid government-oriented administrative experience, such as that of President Grant, whose Administration was full of graft and corruption, and of President Eisenhower, who had considerable administrative experience in relation to the Government before undertaking the top job, as supreme commander of the European forces in advance of D-Day, as Army chief of staff, and as supreme commander of NATO.

But the idea of bringing in a businessman, who had never even been so much as a city councilman, as the nation's chief executive was ludicrous in its premises. And the results are there for everyone to see, probably the most disastrous Administration in the entire history of the country, at least since the Hoover Administration. We shall be lucky to survive these last four years. We are quite lucky that no foreign nation has undertaken to take advantage of the country's considerably weakened state, with complete incompetence, obviously, at the head of Government to handle emergencies, combined with a weak-kneed Senate leadership kowtowing to nearly every whim of His Majesty for the sake of packing the Federal courts with his appointees and for absolutely no other reason.

You must now ask yourself, honestly and objectively, whether that is the type of Government you would like to see for another four years. If the answer is no, then you should, by all means, vote for former Vice-President Biden, who has plenty of experience in the Government, probably more so than any other prospective President in the country's history. We can think of no prior President who had been both Vice-President for eight years, with a major role as Vice-President, and before that as Senator for 36 years, for a good portion of that time, chairman of the all-important Senate Judiciary Committee. One would have to go back to the Founders to find someone with that kind of prior experience and knowledge of both how the Government works and how to motivate others to get it to work before entering the White House.

It is a unique time in the history of the United States, with the pandemic having taken the lives of 165,000 Americans during the past five months, and we need unique leadership in that chief executive role to get the country out of the confused morass and malaise in which it is stuck. Mr. Biden seems ideal for the time, both in terms of his own leadership abilities and his proven ability to select others around him who will get their appointed jobs done within the law, ethically and fairly.

Right now, we do not need experiment, but rather active government which will take charge and get things done for a change in an ameliorative and uniting manner, abiding by the law and Constitution rather than taking considerable liberties with both in violation of the Presidential oath of office, with the advice and consent and active support of a majority of Congress, with at least some bipartisan unity in the process. Think before you vote, but by all means, vote, come November. Your life, this time, not merely your livelihood, may literally depend on it.

A piece from the High Point Enterprise, titled "Nucleomitotophobia", indicates that in Baltimore, a doctor had developed a hobby of coining words to describe illnesses accurately, in the instance of the title word, the physician describing it as the fear of atomic bombs. "Mitoto" meant mitosis or splitting, and inserted between "nucleo" and "phobia", the formation became complete.

The same doctor called Clark Gable a "sempervivant" because he always performed in a living role, "semper" in Latin meaning "always". A person who suffered from getting rich too quick was a "fortunatocrapulent", meaning "sick from excess of success". A coed opposed to kissing, who desired a word to battle persistent suitors, could use "misomatologist", "miso" meaning "dislike" and the remainder of the word meaning "one who kisses".

The piece indicates that it would like to hear the doctor's name for straining a gnat to swallow a camel.

Drew Pearson indicates that Prime Minister Churchill had secretly offered to give Gibraltar to NATO to bolster the defense of Europe, having discussed it privately with U.S. officials and being prepared to make a formal presentation of that famed British fortress at the upcoming Bermuda Big Three conference. At present, there was no indication that the British would demand anything in return for Gibraltar, though it was possible that there would be payments for it. It was believed that the Prime Minister would have considerable support from other British leaders based on British hostility to the proposed U.S. connection with Generalissimo Francisco Franco of Spain, as having Gibraltar as a NATO base would eliminate the need for bases in Spain.

General Eisenhower and John Foster Dulles, during the 1952 campaign, had both emphasized the importance of generating revolt behind the Iron Curtain, at one point during the campaign, Governor Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic nominee, having expressed a difference of opinion on the matter. During the previous three weeks, first Czechs and then East Germans had engaged in violent rioting against Soviet rule, the most significant opposition thus far exhibited behind the Iron Curtain. The State Department had sought to bolster the courage of the dissidents in both countries, but thus far had not received support from the White House. The Yalta pact of February, 1945 provided for free elections within the satellite nations behind the Iron Curtain, then not yet Soviet satellites per se, and so, Mr. Pearson suggests, it would be an obvious move for the U.S. to emphasize that point at present.

The U.S. had several million tons of surplus wheat and warehouses of butter and other foods, some of which would spoil if not used during the present year If, however, the food could be shipped to Berlin for use, the effect on the Russians would be devastating, as East Berlin was half-starved and the Russians would have difficulty in refusing such an offer of desperately needed food, placing them on the spot more than ever if they did refuse. But efforts to get the Agricultural Department to move forward on the matter had failed, and CARE had limited stocks of food in West Berlin to offer. So, he suggests, donations through that organization would be one way Americans could push the Government to move forward on the issue of taking advantage of the weakness presently of the Soviets within the East German satellite.

Future Governor of New York and future Vice-President Nelson Rockefeller, grandson of John D. Rockefeller, founder of the Standard Oil empire, had been in several Government positions during the Roosevelt and Truman Administrations, primarily in the State Department related to Latin America, but now appeared to be set to receive his greatest reward from the Republican Administration. The Rockefeller family had donated $85,000 to the Eisenhower campaign, getting around campaign finance law limitations per donor by stretching out the contributions among the family members. Mr. Rockefeller's uncle, Winthrop Aldrich, was made Ambassador to England by President Eisenhower, and Nelson was offered various jobs in the State Department which he had turned down. He had, however, accepted the somewhat obscure new post of Undersecretary of Health, Education and Welfare, as the top aide to Secretary Oveta Culp Hobby. The Rockefeller family had done an outstanding job in medical research and Ms. Hobby was expected to resign from the Cabinet to run to become Governor of Texas.

The president of Fairchild Aircraft, the night after the Air Force canceled Kaiser-Frazer's multimillion-dollar military transport plane contracts, gave an elaborate party for Air Force officials and other Pentagon brass, Fairchild having been the company which had initially developed the transports in question, and which had been providing them to the Government at a much cheaper price than Kaiser. Air Force regulation 30-30, he informs, stated that no officer could "accept any favor or gratuity … where such favor or gratuity might influence" a contract. Mr. Pearson indicates that since the party was held on the terrace of the Shoreham Hotel, there was nothing devious about it, but that it would be interesting to see if Fairchild now received all of Kaiser's canceled contracts.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop discuss Congressman Noah Mason of the House Ways & Means Committee, who believed that President Eisenhower was a great President, but was also fighting him on every single piece of legislation submitted by the Administration which was not overwhelmingly supported in Congress. Those bills included the extension of the excess profits tax for six months, all of the "giveaway programs", which embraced foreign aid, renewal of the President's government reorganization powers, the Pakistan wheat bill providing surplus wheat to starving Pakistan, the one-year extension of the Reciprocal Trade Act, and statehood for Hawaii. The Alsops indicate that upon inquiry, Mr. Mason could not think of any bill which the President favored and which had been argued at all in the House, for which he had voted.

They conclude therefore that while he was a rock-ribbed Republican from the same kind of district, he had a continuous record of opposition to the first Republican Administration in 20 years. He was not alone, as many other members of the House from the Midwest and rural districts of the East, were likewise oriented.

By way of some explanation, they provide Mr. Mason's background, having emigrated from Wales when a child, a childhood which was hard, and receiving a haphazard education but able to become a small town schoolteacher in Illinois, eventually becoming superintendent of the schools, then town commissioner, State Senator, and finally a member of the House.

He believed in keeping America American. He had stressed taxation, wanting to "relieve the overtaxed by taxing the untaxed", meaning reducing income and corporate taxes while levying the manufacturers' sales tax, taxing agricultural co-operatives and depriving the churches, charitable foundations and universities of most of their existing tax-exempt status. He wished to repeal every item of social and economic legislation of the New Deal and Fair Deal years. He wanted to balance the budget by selling all Government power projects on the open market, was completely protectionist and isolationist, his twin heroes being Senator McCarthy and General MacArthur. He also believed that the Communist threat from within was much worse than the threat from without.

Chalmers M. Roberts, who covered the Supreme Court for the Washington Post, writing in the American Newspaper Guild Reporter, examines the Supreme Court's scheduling of additional oral argument for the following October in Brown v. Board of Education, having heard oral arguments initially the prior December in the case. The new arguments would permit the Court to receive additional insight into whether, if it did overturn Plessy v. Ferguson and its "separate but equal" doctrine as applied to public school segregation, it could legally order integration to take place gradually rather than all at once, and to obtain some understanding of what impact such an order of desegregation would have on the 17 states of the nation which had complete segregation in the public schools and the four other states with partial segregation, plus the District of Columbia, which also had a dual system. The Court had also asked the Attorney General, Herbert Brownell, to join in the fall argument. Mr. Brownell, having been a prior adviser to Governor Dewey of New York, who had taken a lead in that state in providing, for instance, an equal employment opportunity commission, was thus likely to follow the lead of the Truman Administration in seeking an end to the Plessy doctrine. If the Administration, however, took that position, it would alienate the Southern support for President Eisenhower which he had obtained in the 1952 election.

By inviting the legal representative of the Government, the Court would be able to discern what enforcement the Government would be able to lend to such a decision ending segregation in the schools. Mr. Roberts believes that the five questions the Court had asked in setting the new round of oral arguments suggested that a majority of the Court wanted to move forward but that there was as yet no majority for a complete overruling of the "separate but equal" doctrine. He indicates that there were serious legal and Constitutional problems and questions regarding whether the Court could order a gradual end to segregation, but that those issues were not insurmountable, provided the Court became convinced that there was strong Administration and public support for its position. He believes that the Justices were in search of that confirmation before finally issuing a decision in the five cases subsumed under Brown, the principal case out of Kansas, plus the others from South Carolina, Virginia, Delaware and the District of Columbia.

There has, incidentally, been for awhile some speculation, which we believe to be in error, that the death of Chief Justice Fred Vinson in September, 1953, just a month before the start of the fall term of the Court, and the following appointment of Governor Earl Warren as the new Chief, provided a different cast to the Brown decision, and that but for that fortuity, the decision would have been markedly different. As we have commented previously, the unanimity of that decision might have been somewhat different under Chief Justice Vinson, but the flow and the trend of cases after Sweatt v. Painter in 1950, which ordered the desegregation of the University of Texas Law School for the failure of the State of Texas to provide a substantially equal black law school, thus violative of the Fourteenth Amendment for not satisfying "separate but equal" doctrine under Plessy, clearly were, on a case-by-case basis, moving toward overturning of Plessy as not having fulfilled its task since it was first enunciated by the Supreme Court in 1896. Plessy, itself, was not concerned with the public schools but rather with public transportation, specifically railroad cars. But that is beside the point. It appears by that trend line, and by the very fact of the Court requesting further oral arguments, that there likely was a consensus on the Court, if not unanimity, to overturn Plessy, with the chief concern being the ending of segregation in the public schools without creating enormous backlash, especially in the Deep South, where feelings were especially intense on preservation of segregation, largely based on inherited superstition and nonsense, but nevertheless quite real and palpable when reduced to specific cases, as would be demonstrated in the wake of Brown in many jurisdictions over the course of the ensuing 16 years, and even further into the mid-1970's, specifically in Boston and Louisville, when it came to busing issues to bring about racial balance, that latter issue having been exploited especially by George Wallace in his 1968 and 1972 campaigns for the presidency, until the latter was ended by a would-be assassin's bullet.

A chief and quite authoritative source for the argument that the outcome would have been 5 to 4 against unconstitutionality and overruling of Plessy in 1953, but for the reargument in the fall term, comes from Justice William O. Douglas's volume of his autobiography, The Court Years, in which he states at page 113 that had the Court decided the case in 1952 or in early 1953, that would have been the result, as Chief Justice Vinson and Justice Robert Jackson believed that the states should be given time to work out equality in the schools and that the Court should thus continue to analyze matters on a case-by-case basis, as in Sweatt, unanimously delivered by Chief Justice Vinson, as to whether the particular case involved a failure to meet the test of substantially equal facilities. Justice Jackson, at a time when William Rehnquist was one of his law clerks, believed, according to Justice Douglas, that it would be "bad for the Negroes" to force them to attend schools with white students. Justice Tom Clark, who would later, in 1964, deliver the equally landmark Heart of Atlanta opinion, upholding the Constitutionality of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, held the opinion that since the Court had led the states to believe segregation was constitutionally acceptable, they should be left to work out the problems for themselves. Justice Stanley Reed believed that segregation was "on the way out and over the years would disappear", while Justice Felix Frankfurter believed it unconstitutional to treat black people differently from white people, and that the Brown cases should be reargued in fall, 1953. Justices Douglas, Hugo Black, Sherman Minton and Harold Burton were, at that time in 1953, the only four definitely in favor of overruling Plessy.

While we would not wish to beg to differ too much with the authoritative insight of Justice Douglas, who was there and understood well the various personalities of the other members of the Court at the time, it appears by his own rendition that a likely decisive fifth vote for overruling Plessy might have come from Justice Frankfurter. From there, with the need for unanimity of decision on such a potentially explosive matter, the dynamic may have proceeded to produce the same unanimity present in Sweatt but instead directed at overruling of Plessy to provide uniformity, albeit with separate concurring opinions, perhaps, as none of the Justices believed that segregation was a good thing and should continue unabated, but rather, at a minimum, had to be limited and controlled by Sweatt-type decisions at least in the lower Federal courts, and all of the members appeared subject to being convinced that overruling Plessy, at least as a practical matter, to avoid continued case-by-case litigation, was the better option, with implementation accomplished gradually, as was the eventual course followed. All of that analysis is, of course, speculation, even to a degree by that of Justice Douglas, but the vote for reargument, pre-dating the death of Chief Justice Vinson by three months, gives the primary hint that the Court was moving toward overruling Plessy, and that the delay would provide the states some time to begin to prepare for that eventuality. It also must be borne in mind that Justice Douglas wrote at least some part of the last volume of his memoirs after his late 1974 stroke and retirement from the Court in 1975, published in 1980 shortly after his death early that year, even if the bulk of it had been completed by 1973, and appeared sometimes a little hazy or imprecise on certain historical details, such as his recollection regarding the time of the Rosenberg stay controversy of June 17-19, 1953, to which we recently linked, that Stalin was still in power in Russia, though he had died on March 5, 1953, three weeks after the President had denied clemency to the Rosenbergs and more than a month after the Court had denied review for what appeared then to be the last time. As with all authors and researchers in the age predating the advent of word processors and computer search engines in the 1980's and the internet, as we know it, in the latter 1990's, he had only his notes, his memory and the library by which to double-check the logical consistency of matters as he related them.

But, we shall get to those matters in due course. For right now, suffice it to keep in mind as we move along toward the Brown decision in the following year, that it is quite unlikely that the death of Chief Justice Vinson changed the actual outcome of the case, including the 1955 implementing decision which was notoriously famous for its "with all deliberate speed" schedule of desegregation, though there is little doubt historically that Chief Justice Warren had a lot to do with constructing unanimity in the decisions. And unanimity was considered a key to providing a basis for enforcement, so that particular attorneys general of particular states would not be able to use the excuse that a dissenting opinion had issued, demonstrating that reasonable minds could differ as to the need for complete desegregation of the schools.

A letter writer indicates that as a spectator at the Miss Charlotte contest, she had been disappointed at the absence of beautiful girls. Her husband was from Texas and constantly boasted of the beauty of Texas girls. She had defended her hometown of Charlotte until she saw the contest. She still believed that there were pretty girls in Charlotte but that they were obviously not encouraged to enter the beauty contest. Her sister-in-law from Texas had four children and any one of them could put the Charlotte contestants to shame, including the winner. She wonders if the Charlotte single beauties were just modest or, in the words of her mother-in-law, a woman never gained her full beauty until she became a mother.

A letter writer from Pinehurst indicates that since his last letter had been published, a number of editorials had been printed regarding the Administration, all of which he had read with interest, some mildly critical, others severely critical, two of which were from June 22, "On Rereading Banned Books", and June 24, "What Happened to 'Liberation' Policy?" He asks, based on the closing paragraphs of each, whether the newspaper still was of the opinion, expressed previously, that the President had isolated Senator McCarthy from much of his previous Senate support. The letter writer indicates that he had hoped to see Governor Stevenson win the Presidency and had consoled himself after the election on the basis that President Eisenhower would provide strong leadership, even though along lines with which some would disagree. He indicates that the newspaper had never pulled its punches when discussing Senator McCarthy, never providing him with grudging approval for at least awakening the country to the danger of Communism, as did other publications. He also indicates that he had read with interest the letters to the editor on the issue of continuing the Bible-study program within the public schools, in the face of objection by 26 Baptist ministers that the program violated the principle of separation of church and state, finding that the number of "fine letters" in that regard had caused him to wonder at the apparent apathy of the people concerning such a "terrifying matter as 'Creeping McCarthyism'". He thinks that if there were half the number of letters regarding the dangers of McCarthyism as there had been regarding the Bible-teaching debate, it would be an encouraging phenomenon. Other than his own letters, he had seen only one letter in recent months on the subject, on June 23.

A letter writer from Pittsboro comments on a June 25 editorial, "A Better Social Security Plan", saying that since its beginning, he had been opposed to the concept and philosophy of social security and as it grew, he was even more opposed to it. "If this nation is to go the way of other welfare state experiments, I prefer that it go suddenly and not by way of creeping paralysis."

Well, as the cost of living and medical costs will rise with time, you may come to view things quite differently down the road apiece, 25-30 years from now and beyond. We suppose you would favor shoving the older part of the population, who could not find employment after a certain age, out into the cold to starve, or force them to live off relatives, certainly a hallmark of a civilized society.

Framed Edition
[Return to Links
Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i><i><i>—</i></i></i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date Links-Subj.