The Charlotte News

Thursday, October 6, 1938


Site Ed. Note: "Forgotten Laws" refers back to "Justice for Hire" of September 12, in reference to the notorious practices employed by the archaic system of jaypees, enabling non-lawyers to act in quasi-judicial capacities, ripe for abuse, abuse involving the taking of bribes which became so rampant in North Carolina by the 1980's that the state legislature finally did away with the office. Quite rightly.

In a modern age when lawyers and law schools are plentiful, not one per country mile as in the nineteenth century and before, and when these are uniformly properly trained and licensed lawyers both in ethics and the law, not merely apprenticed first to other lawyers, erratically educated and approved as lawyers in some instances, as in the nineteenth century and earlier, it is patently absurd to allow the employment of non-lawyers, untrained in ethics and the law, in any form to adjudicate the rights of citizens anywhere, especially if that judgment is not immediately, next day, subject to de novo review by a qualified judge.

The result otherwise is the likelihood and actual fact that ol' nice-niece, Reddy, and nervous nephew, Netty, both sweet people who just never got the education some of these specially privileged rich-kid lawyers did, but watched "L. A. Law" and all the re-runs, every single one, of "Perry Mason", assiduously, just as much as those lawyers did, and only after they finished their English and math homework, of course, that is, every single day, and so surely can do this job with the kind of tenacity and resolve that any rich-kid lawyer would bring to the table--every bit as good an actor as any of them--and cheaper, too. So...

But, not really. Esse quam videri is well worth the advice and effort.

And, besides, they missed, e.g., "The Defenders", never even in syndication since circa 1965 to our knowledge.


Every now and then we pounce upon scattered information, relating to nothing in particular, and file it away against a day when it may serve a purpose. About to go into the file is the intelligence, made public in New York City's truck strike last week, which European development pretty well obscured, that in this metropolitan area the base pay of truck drivers is $44 to $56.50 for a 44-hour week. At the moment, that fact proves nothing, perhaps, but we now begin to understand the popularity of this "trucking" all the girls and boys are talking about.

The Perfect Illustration

Whatever opinion you may hold of Norman Thomas and his economic doctrines, it will have to be granted that he is that rare creature, a believer in civil liberties for his bitterest antagonists. He contrasts notably with the prominent Democratic politician, Mayor Frank Hague of Jersey City, in whose extensive bailiwick civil liberties mean liberties only for the right crowd.

Both Jersey City and Union City are in Hudson County, New Jersey. Hence it was to Hague, boss of these works, that Thomas addressed a communication after the stoning of Führer Fritz Kuhn at a German-American Volksbund rally in Union City to celebrate Hitler's triumphs in Europe. Between Hague and Kuhn there is a much tighter bond of philosophy than between Thomas and Kuhn, for both are exemplars of the creed that power is its own justification. Thomas, on the other hand, hates the entire idea of Nazism and the unrestrained use of authority that it stands for.

But it was Thomas, not Hague, who protested the mobbing of the American Führer, saying that such brutality was doing more to promote Nazism in America than Fritz Kuhn himself ever could do. Boss Hague, thinking, in all likelihood, that Kuhn had got what was coming to him and to all the enemies of democracy as Hague practices it, said nothing.

Junior New Deal

Republicans in Pennsylvania seem to have got down to cases in their campaign arguments with the Democrats. They cite as horrible example of the "liberal"--liberal, whatever else, always means free spending--administration of Governor George Earle, taxes levied on a hypothetical Philadelphia firm with 50 workers and an annual payroll of a million dollars. They say in 1934 it would have paid $922.95 in taxes, whereas in 1938 the bill would come to $38,700. They name the Curtis Publishing Co. and say that by moving across the Delaware River just ten minutes from the plant's present location, taxes could be reduced by 90 per cent. They predict that, if this keeps up, Pennsylvania's industrial enterprises will move out wholesale and go into business elsewhere.

The Democrats say it ain't so. And they say that, outside of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, there has been a net gain of industries and workers since Earle came into office. They say that the reason textile mills are migrating southward is to take advantage of cheap Southern labor. They say--

No matter what they say: the figures shout so vociferously as to drown them out. In 1932, Pennsylvania's State Government operated on a $165,000,000 basis. In 1938, on a $625,000,000 basis. All the arguments in the world can't refute the statement that Pennsylvania's New Deal, like the nation's, has been dreadfully expensive. But Pennsylvanians have this consolation--that they can move out to escape the toll and still stay Americans.

A Hand For Hull

Secretary of State Hull--who, by the way, was shown by Fortune's survey to be twice as popular as any other of Roosevelt's associates--is receiving unfair treatment from the fates. Pursuing a plotted course while the Administration zig-zags this way and that, the Secretary seems every now and then on the point of getting somewhere, when--plop!--an insurmountable obstacle falls in his way.

The Secretary's twin aims in office are to restore international trade and to make the world safe for peace. But the whole trend in world politics is against him. Check off the nations which are at war--Japan, China, Spain--and check off the dictator nations whose policy is to shut out trade--Italy, Germany, Russia, Turkey, Mexico--and check off the nations whose economy is upset now by events of their own or others' making--France, Czechoslovakia, as well as other Central Europe states--and there is left in the world as prospects for any volume of mutual trade with the United States only the British Empire, the Netherlands, the Scandinavian countries and South America.

For Secretary Hull, the time is horribly out of joint. And yet the persistent fellow goes plugging ahead, changing his course in the light of expediency, when he has to, though never allowing purely commercial considerations to dominate his sense of right and wrong. He is enacting under the most difficult circumstances, one of the most creditable roles in the history of American statesmanship, and we sincerely hope that it wins him an even more important part.

Don't Blame Lula Belle

In the case of Lula Belle Kimel, who obligingly turned two desperate criminals loose on society to rob and kill, the real culprit is the State of North Carolina. All you have to do to understand that is to look at the published photographs of Lula Belle.

We are not trying to disparage Lula Belle. There is nothing vicious about Lula Belle. And there is a place in the world for her--for not everybody can win the cup at Atlantic City or come off with summa cum laude; and we would like to think that the place that is really hers is a happier one than we suspect she has known. But it is as plain as plain can be that Lula Belle is not the sort of person who ought ever to have been sent to keep dangerous criminals under lock and key. And so we say that the real culprit in this case is the State of North Carolina, which takes so little trouble about the sort of people who are set to guard its dangerous criminals that the task can actually be entrusted to a Lula Belle for two solid years.

Forgotten Laws

The Mecklenburg delegation to the Legislature is considering measures to eliminate some of the local evils and abuses of the Jaypee system, and quite properly, too. Within the past year, two magistrates in Mecklenburg have been decommissioned for misfeasance in office which was discovered only because they both were involved in criminal prosecutions. And, as everybody knows and even the jaypees admit, the method of creating these petty judiciary officials by the thousands and letting them practice with only the scantest supervision, is all wrong, and the State should be ashamed of itself for delegating authority over the persons and property of its people, especially its most ignorant and uninfluential people, with such gross indifference as to how it is used.

But--it is one thing to pass a law and quite another to enforce it. A great many laws are graven in the books only to be completely forgotten. For instance, the 1935 Legislature passed this law:

If any Justice of the Peace shall solicit business and/or patronage for his or her office, he or she shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction shall be punished in the discretion of the Court.

So, Es ist verboten jaypees to solicit. Yet, not two weeks ago there was reprinted on this page a newspaper advertisement of a squire in a neighboring town who solicited sick checks that he might "doctor" them. Doubtless he was ignorant of this law; and certainly nobody charged with enforcing the law ordered him to cease his solicitations.


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