The Charlotte News

Thursday, August 11, 1938


Site Ed. Note: "The Norris Candidate" favors in fact the next nominee to the Supreme Court, to be appointed in January, 1939, Felix Frankfurter, who would serve a long and distinguished career until his retirement in 1962.

The rest of the page is here. And, we apologize for the oversight in not placing this day along with the rest of August, 1938, when we originally uploaded it in the summer of 2006. For whatever reason, this day appeared at the time lost, when it wasn't.

Off Key

In his address Mr. Roosevelt said his "little visit" here was a bit of a surprise which he was able to bring about "because I found that the quickest route from catching fish on the Pacific Ocean was to come back by way of Warm Springs."--Associated Press report, Wednesday.

Just dropped in, you know. No idea. Funny that geography, isn't it? Who'd have believed that one could have started out to visit the West Coast and fish in the waters about the Galapagos and come around at last to Warm Springs? Did you ever hear, gentlemen, of an obscure waterway called the Panama Canal? Ah, well, that's the secret. Fancy! Anyhow, here I am, by a sort of a miracle, and to my own amazement, endorsing my good friend Lawrence Camp and giving that fellow George a kick in the pants.

Nobody believes any such thing, of course. Everybody who reads the newspapers knows that, in fact, he left Washington with Georgia fixed as a very important stop on his itinerary. And--oh, well, there's no use in carping. It may be that the thing doesn't matter at all. It's the sort of thing everybody in politics does. The sort of thing that usually runs: "Reluctantly and against my earnest will to enjoy life as a private citizen, I have at last yielded to the entreaties of my friends and the demands of the public, and, concluding that it is my duty to give my services to my country, decided to announce my candidacy, etc., etc."

But in the mouth of a man whose favorite stock in trade is intimate candor, it somehow sounds peculiarly unpleasing.

Men Without Training

Judge Frank Sims Jr., of the City Recorder's Court, has rendered the town a service in vigorously directing attention to the practice of policemen in tearing up warrants on their own account. The Civil Service Commission probably did the right thing in letting Officers Hartman and Helms off with a verbal spanking and a warning, since the practice does not seem to have been confined to them but to have been general--with the result that they probably thought it was all right and within their proper powers.

All this, however, merely serves to point the fact that cops do not commonly know what their real powers and functions are. Most of them assume naively that the law is somehow incarnate in themselves and that their own judgment and will is equivalent to the statutes as written. They very commonly neglect to secure search warrants until after the search has been made. Many of them seem to feel that in addition to representing the law, they are also called on to embody moral indignation by roughing up a prisoner a good deal more than the circumstances require. Some of them quite plainly believe that the fact that they are armed with stick and pistol confers carte blanche to use them as the mood strikes.

But these things are much less their own fault than of our system of police. We go to a great deal of expense and trouble to build up and train a fire department which is fitted to its task. And in the police department itself, we expend considerable pains and money to set up elaborate crime detection methods. But when it comes to the ordinary patrolman, we pick them with no regard to anything much but brawn and carnage, give them a little casual target practice and a little desultory instruction and turn them loose on the public--and then wonder why on earth we get the sort of service we get!

At Changkufeng

It is not too easy to make sure what has really been going on at Changkufeng and what events have led up to the present armistice. But there are indications which allow us to guess that the little brown man has been getting the worst of it. Thus, when J. D. White, Associated Press correspondent at Yuki, Korea, reported yesterday that Japanese troops had repelled a Russian charge supported by 40 tanks, he did not report it on his own authority but carefully inserted the statement that it had been announced by the Japanese army headquarters. But when it came to something else, he was not so cagey. Thus:

It seemed incredible that men can remain alive under the (Russian) shelling which this correspondent watched.

Six inch shells came over at the rate of six a minute, and numerous direct hits after one or two sighting shots showed the accuracy of Soviet gunners.

That is interesting, both as laying a rumor that has long been current that the Russian army was a mere make-believe army whose gunners couldn't hit the side of a barn, and as casting direct doubt on the report of easy Japanese victory issuing from Japanese army headquarters.

There is other evidence, too. Thus the Japanese, from imperiously demanding an arbitration commission made up of two Japanese, two Manchukuoans (Japan's creatures), and two Russians, have hastily come around to granting the Russians equal representation. And more than that, they have agreed to conduct the negotiations on the basis of the old treaty and map of 1868--which is precisely what the Russians have been contending for all the time.

But, in any case, it is immensely doubtful that real peace is in sight. Changkufeng, of little value in itself, has really been no more than an excuse all along. Neither side really wants open and large-scale war yet. In all probability, Russia prefers to let Japan wear herself out in China, so that she will be easy meat when the appointed hour comes. And Japan apparently hopes somehow to pull her Chinese campaign out of the bogs and go ahead to speedy victory, so as to be free to handle Russia as she pleases. But the desultory fighting is pretty likely to continue along the Siberian border for all of "truces;" and in the end the two nations are practically certain to go at it with all they've got.

The Norris Candidate

When Hugo Black was appointed to the Supreme Court, one of the favorite observations of those who denounced that unwise selection most loudly was that the President passed over the heads of "a dozen genuine Liberals," whom the country would have accepted without a cheep of protest. And in the light of General Old Ironpants Johnson's column today, it is interesting to recall that one of the names mentioned was invariably that of Professor Felix Frankfurter.

Perhaps Frankfurter is temperamentally unfit for the post of Supreme Court Justice. But the charge is one which was leveled at Louis Brandeis when Woodrow Wilson appointed him, though he has turned out to be perfectly fitted to the role. The charge of radicalism is one which was leveled at Brandeis, too, as it was leveled at Oliver Wendell Holmes when Theodore Roosevelt appointed him back in 1902. In Frankfurter's favor, it is to be said, at least, that he has an enormous knowledge of the law, that he is thoroughly familiar with the tradition, procedure, and problems of the Court, having written a book about it in 1928, that his general background is excellent and that he has a brilliant and clear mind. That ought to make him more eligible than Bob Wagner or any other politician who has a chance. For such men commonly have too much intellectual integrity to be mere yes-men.

And when General Johnson charges Senator Norris with violating the proprieties in putting the Professor's name forward, he barges over into nonsense. Since when haven't Senators publicly espoused the cause of their chosen candidates? When the appointment which Black got came open, the Senate, in fact, organized a virtual lobby which did its very best to drive the President into appointing Senator Joe Robinson willy-nilly. But if General Johnson ever objected to that, we don't recall it.

The Minnow Catch

Mr. John D. M. Hamilton, as we were remarking yesterday, is a perennially cheerful man. He has to be. For he's chairman of the Republican National Committee, and it's his job to try to put hope into the souls of the boys mourning among the black ships. And yesterday for the first time since the Gotterdamerung of 1936, he at last had something to be a little cheerful about--the defeat of Senator Pope for the Democratic renomination in Idaho. But even so, it must have stretched his cheerfulness a great deal to see it as "a stunning blow" to Roosevelt & Co.

For while the New Deal was taking a lacing in Idaho, where the issue was squarely drawn, its yes-man, Senator Bulkley, whom the President had explicitly asked the people of Ohio to send back to the Senate, was overwhelming former Governor George White, suspected of being only lukewarm in his admiration for the New Deal, in that state. And at the same time, Governor Davey, proscribed by the New Deal for his part in the steel strikes of last Summer, was going down to defeat before the candidate Washington had picked to succeed him. And this State of Ohio has the fourth largest population in the country--and an electoral vote of 26, whereas Idaho has only four such votes.

Yes, it must have stretched Mr. Hamilton's cheerfulness a lot to see the taking of Idaho as promising sure Republican victory in 1940. It is very much as though a man, having fallen among the Phillistines to be stripped of his clothing, should rejoice extravagantly because he had recovered his shoe lace.

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