The Charlotte News
Tuesday, January 28, 1941
Site Ed.Note: In "A Chance For Amends", Cash would indeed name the next Supreme Court Justice but not as the editorial intended. It would be Senator James Byrnes of South Carolina who would serve only a little over a year before joining the Administration to become director first of economic stabilization and then war mobilization. He became Secretary of State to Harry Truman in 1945 and in that capacity would have a principal impact on the direction of the Marshall Plan in rebuilding post-war Europe. While Byrnes, a moderate segregationist, was a Democrat, Roosevelt would take the advice issued here by Cash later in the year, when Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes resigned, and elevate a Republican in his stead, Harlan Fiske Stone, an appointee of Calvin Coolidge in 1925. Stone had consistently voted in favor of the constitutionality of New Deal legislation.
Cash's preference, Judge John J. Parker, served on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals from 1925 to 1958, as its chief judge after 1931. He also served on the Nuremberg tribunal in 1946.
Interestingly, Walter F. White, who would within days of this date issue a personal letter of congratulations to Cash on The Mind of the South, had been in 1930, as newly elected executive secretary of the N.A.A.C.P., instrumental in blocking the reputedly segregationist Parker from the Supreme Court when he was nominated for the post by Herbert Hoover, the position ultimately being filled by Owen Roberts who voted often, though not always, against the constitutionality of New Deal legislation contested before the Court. Whether Parker was a classic segregationist or a strict constructionist who rested his views on stare decisis or whether by 1941 he had ameliorated his position or, indeed, whether the 1930 charge was simply a bum wrap in the first instance is subject to argument.
Cash, a life-long Democrat and anything but a segregationist, looked first and foremost, however, to the character and intelligence of the individual when assessing matters such as fitness for public office. It is unlikely, too, that Cash would have so heartily recommended Parker as a "progressive" if he had been a stars and bars waving segregationist. Regardless, to recommend such an appointment, there was the positive lesson of Hugo Black, appointed in 1937, who had been for a short time a member of the Klan in the 1920's only to become one of the foremost proponents on the Court for civil liberties and racial justice.
For more on the retiring Justice James McReynolds, see "From the Past", January 23, 1941.
A Chance For Amends
Judge Parker Superlative Material for Supreme Court In All Ways, and Recognition Is His Due
There must be a number of judges and lawyers who could more than fill, and fill in the best tradition, the seat Justice McReynolds is vacating on the Supreme Court bench. It would be foolish of us to contend, knowing so little about them, that Judge John J. Parker is the one man in the United States who above all others is fitted for this place.
We cannot in candor so contend. Besides, if we really believed it and said as much, it would be discounted as hometown pride, much as the warm praise of the Greenville, South Carolina papers for Senator Jimmy Byrnes must be discounted. And, we may add, pardoned.
But, ah, masters, there are such good and unlocalized reasons to recommend the appointment of Judge Parker. In himself he has all the attributes--character, poise, intelligence, experience, progressiveness, patriotism, reputation, and again and above all character and intelligence.
In the circumstances of his party affiliation, which is Republican, lies another recommendation. Five vacancies on the court has the President filled with men of his own party. This sixth vacancy falls within his Administration solely because of considerations of the greatest national emergency impelled him to seek for a third time the crushing responsibilities of his office. The people were urged to put partisanship aside. The President is under that same obligation and has recognized it.
Again, it would be for the best interests of the court were the next appointee to come from other than political ranks. Black, Murphy, Reed, Douglas, Frankfurter--these had been allied at least in some measure with the President's own political household. The time has come to remember the judiciary. The Supreme Court, it is well to recall, is the court of last appeal in points of law, and not on political faiths. At present its roster contains the name of no single man who became Justice by first being judge--always excepting the police court experience of Justice Black in Alabama.
And while we have had to forego out of candor the assertion that Judge Parker is the one man in all the country who is qualified for this Supreme Court place, the fact remains that common fairness suggests his name above all others as the first deserving of consideration.
It was he, ten years ago, whom the Senate turned down for the same commission. The vote was 41 to 39. The Senate's reasons were, to put the kindest interpretation upon them, strained. The Senate frankly yielded to coercion, and thereby wronged a man in whom was no wrong.
That misjudgment needs rectifying and acknowledgement.
Clapper Hits Upon Manifest Failing of the President
Raymond Clapper is fast winning a name for himself as the most trustworthy, open-minded, objective Washington columnist of them all. And yesterday he said something that was so perceptive it deserves to be repeated and re-emphasized.
He was talking about the Lease-Lend Bill, as all Washington has been in a furious pitch ever since the President flung it into the pit. He spoke of the "dictatorship" charges which were being fired at the bill and the President--"the death of democratic government" and all that stuff--and he said it to remind him of the uproar along precisely the same lines which came about when the President proposed a couple of years ago, the highly controversial Reorganization Bill.
That too they called a move toward dictatorship, and worse, but the bill finally passed anyhow. And what happened?
This is the significant, definitive thing that Clapper said:
"If there is ground for complaint against Mr. Roosevelt (for seeking and obtaining the extraordinary powers contained in the Reorganization Bill) it seems to me and that it lies on the side that he did not make enough use of his power to tighten up the creaky Federal bureaucracy. He made a big fight for the power and then didn't do very much with it."
The President, as everybody knows, loves a fight, and is magnificent. But when it comes to the tedious, prosaic job of administering the workaday affairs of his vast Federal establishment, the results he obtains are usually a good bit less than spectacular.
It Is Assured of the Town's Unsitinted Support
There's always some sort of campaign making the rounds of Charlotte. The place has become famous--with its own citizens, at least--for what the gentleman of the reportorial staff are pleased to call "drives" for money. And the town, protesting, usually does well by its drives.
But there's one campaign that really shouldn't have to take on the apologetic air of a campaign. It all started in the name of the President, because he had been a victim of infantile paralysis and knew better than most the seriousness of the disease. And local committeemen are working diligently to put over this year's March of Dimes and the Birthday Ball celebrations in Charlotte
They'll succeed, of course. The town always comes through with flying colors when the cause is a good one. And we can't think of a better one than this. Polio can spread fast, and it can do a lot of damage. Science needs support in its fight against the disease. Crippled children need medical care and hospitalization.
The committee's hard work should certainly be effort well expended. There isn't much need in calling it a "drive." This town, also a parade-lover, can send dimes marching to the White House with the best of them.
Our Naval Power Will Shrink Not Grow, if Britain Falls
William C. Bullit, former Ambassador to France, made a telling point in his statement on the Lend-Lease Bill before the House Foreign Affairs Committee Saturday, and one which has been too-much neglected.
"It is entirely certain," he said, "that the shipbuilding facilities in the hands of the totalitarian dictators would be at least four times as great as our shipbuilding facilities, and what we had planned to be a two-ocean navy would turn out to be only a one-ocean navy after all."
What that means is that Hitler could take his own good time about attacking us. If Britain falls he will get what remains of the British Navy--which promises to be the main part, including the twenty capital ships now afloat (we have sixteen, including two antiques). The French fleet will pass inevitably into his hands. And to this would be added the present Italian and German fleets so far as they survive, and ships now building on Italian, German, French, and British ways. With the Japanese navy, he would have a fleet well over twice as big as ours.
The admirals say we cannot have our two-ocean navy before 1945. So the natural thing to suppose is that Hitler would strike as quickly as possible to head that off.
But the factor named by Bullit puts another face on the matter.
There is no doubt at all that Latin American opinion will swing solidly to Nazism if England falls. And Hitler could take time to pull his "revolutions" in all these lands and fully consolidate his position there before troubling to strike us, in the knowledge that his margin of naval power was everyday growing more overwhelming, not smaller.
Indeed, in the end he probably would not have to fight us at all. We would end in the same position as Denmark--with no rational course but to yield quietly.
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