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directly, through which I am told there were three owners of the Baltimore Trust Building.
Continuing, Mr. Sobeloff said:
The seller was the receiver. Well, of course he was, the receiver under the law held the title to all the assets of the defunct trust company. But Mr. Shankroff consistently ignores the limited nature of my legal employment under the court's order, namely that I had neither to do with the liquidation of the assets or the receiver.
Is that a true statement of fact? The very order of the court appointing Mr. Sobeloff refutes that statement. He was appointed to report on the liabilities of the officers and directors and for whom? For the benefit, I submit, of the receiver and the ultimate discovery and disclosure of assets for the depositors and creditors. Otherwise, his appointment was in vain, and the amount of $30,000 paid him was a total loss to those depositors and creditors. The records could well contain the criticism of the presence of this large fee at the time Judge O'Dunne allowed it and the long opinion of Judge O'Dunne written in justification of it. Mr. Sobeloff says these things were done under the watchful eye of Judge O'Dunne. I am told that Judge O'Dunne was practically blind and often signed orders he had never read.
Later in the same paragraph, Mr. Sobeloff broadens the scope of his employment on behalf of the receiver, for he says in the next
My employment was limited to making an investigation of the causes of the Baltimore Trust Co. and later suing the directors.
What is he going to sue the directors for but to get money for the receiver?
Now, does this admission of Mr. Sobeloff prove one of the charges leveled at him? He, Sobeloff, made three reports. He charged specific and fixed charges for negligence. He brought suits under oath to endorse his own charges. He settled these suits against solvent creditors for about 4 cents on the dollar. Does this admission not also place him in a legal position which renders it impossible for him, Sobeloff, to thereafter pursue the receiver for alleged claim for the rent due the owner of the Baltimore Trust Building? I submit that is an elementary rule that forbids him to pursue another whom he had theretofore been appointed to assess. Lawyers in South Carolina don't practice that way. Maryland may have a different rule.
In other words, going back to Mr. Stockbridge, he testifies in favor of Mr. Sobeloff's confirmation. He admits that Mr. Sobeloff's failure, mind you as an attorney for the receiver, to endorse officers and directors liability caused a settlement of stockholders' liability at a less amount than that which had been determined by the Court of Appeals of Maryland as being proper, namely $10 per share.
How Judge O'Dunne could have approved a settlement of $15 per share as Mr. Shankroff says the records in the case will demonstrate
Senator LANGER. Senator Johnston. Senator Robertson is here and wishes to make a statement with respect to that.
Senator ROBERTSON. It will be entirely agreeable to me if the distinguished Senator from South Carolina wishes to continue until 11:30.
Senator JOHNSTON. If you want to, I will go on. I am going to pick up later. I have got about another hour.
Senator LANGER. We have a rule of this committee that whenever a Congressman or Senator appears, he will be heard.
Senator JOHNSTON. I can be back after lunch. He has about an hour.
Senator ROBERTSON. I Won't take over about 30 or 40 minutes. Senator JOHNSTON. What time do you want to meet this afternoon?
Senator LANGER. How long will your statement take, Senator Robertson?
Senator ROBERTSON. It is 61⁄2 pages plus an editorial that is not very long.
Senator LANGER. Suppose you just stay here.
Senator ROBERTSON. I would like to be heard this morning. I have got to be on the floor this afternoon.
Senator LANGER. We will hear you, Senator Robertson.
STATEMENT OF HON. A. WILLIS ROBERTSON, A UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF VIRGINIA
Senator LANGER. All right, Senator, you may proceed.
Let the record show that Senator Robertson's statement will at the end of Senator Johnston's statement.
appear Senator ROBERTSON. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I wish to express my very sincere appreciation of your kindness in permitting me to appear before you today to express my views concerning the confirmation of a man for a judicial position which is of very vital importance to the State of Virginia. You of course realize in all judicial appointments, the only way the people of any State can express their viewpoint is through their two Senators. The people of Virginia have a very definite viewpoint on the confirmation of Mr. Sobeloff and I am happy to say both Virginia Senators are both in full sympathy and accord with that viewpoint. I appear here today speaking for the sovereign State of Virginia to express the viewpoint of the people of Virginia concerning the man who, if confirmed, will shortly become the presiding Justice of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals where many vital issues will end, because they pass on the decisions of the district courts, and not many of them get beyond the Circuit Court of Appeals.
Mr. Chairman, from time to time I have seen statements in the press that Simon E. Sobeloff was being opposed for confirmation as a judge of the Fourth Federal Judicial Circuit because he had represented the Government in the school segregation cases decided by the Supreme Court in 1954.
As applied to my position such a statement would be at least a deceptive oversimplification, if not an untruth.
I am appearing before this committee in opposition to Mr. Sobeloff-and if his nomination is sent to the Senate I shall continue to oppose him there because I feel it would be impossible for him to perform the duties of this judgeship in a manner satisfactory to the people of the area he would serve and because I feel his failure not only would impose hardship on those people but would have repercussions detrimental to the welfare of the whole Nation.
In making that statement I want to emphasize that my objections to Mr. Sobeloff are not personal, because I do not know him and the information I have received about him indicates he is a highly competent lawyer and an intelligent and honorable man. I do not object to his continuance in the office of Solicitor General, nor would I object to his being given many jobs in line with his experience and capabili
But, representing what I believe to be the sentiment of an overwhelming portion of the people of Virginia, I must object to his being given the responsibility for deciding, in the years ahead, numerous cases of vital concern to these people who lack confidence in him and whose faith in public justice would be shaken by his presence on the bench.
The existence of this feeling not only in Virginia but in North and South Carolina as well-three out of the five States in the circuitis a fact which must be recognized, whether or not you feel that the "prejudice" against Mr. Sobeloff, if you choose to call it that, is justified.
A previous witness before this committee suggested that we would not think of imposing on the people of the Virgin Islands or any other territory a governor or judge known in advance to be personally objectionable to them and said surely the attitude of citizens of old and sovereign States should merit attention and understanding at least equal to the likes and dislikes of our smaller outlying possessions. I endorse and commend that statement, Mr. Chairman, and frankly I am surprised that in justice to himself, Mr. Sobeloff, since he has been made aware of this sentiment, has not asked to have his name withdrawn and to be considered for some more suitable post. The lack of sensitivity he has shown in these hearings, by refusing to recognize the delicacy of the position in which he would be placed, if confirmed, is itself an indication to me of his lack of fitness for the job.
But, actually, Mr. Chairman, the case against Mr. Sobeloff does not rest on a blind prejudice, though that might itself be enough to prevent him from functioning properly as a fourth circuit judge. I believe that the objections of the people of Virginia and the Carolinas to having him serve as their judge are soundly based.
They object, first of all, because of the circumstances of his selection, which they feel was politically motivated. They recognize him as the choice, primarily, of an official who not only is the legal advisor to the President but also is the chief architect of his party's plans to win this year's elections and that he is backed by political pressure groups which claim control of enough votes to swing the balance of power in key States far removed from those in the fourth judicial circuit.
Some of you may recall that one of the judges who now serves on this circuit was nominated, many years ago, to the Supreme Court but was rejected when he came up for confirmation because the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and some labor unions objected to his racial and economic views. This, of course, was Judge Parker, and I pause to say he is one of the grandest men I ever knew. He is one of the ablest judges in the United States. He was nominated to the Supreme Court by a man I have always held in the highest esteem, President Hoover. He would have been a grand man to that Court, and I am going to tell you what turned him down.
In the course of that debate over Judge Parker my predecessor in the Senate, Carter Glass, of Virginia, expressed amazement that these organizations should be made the practical arbiters of the personnel of the Supreme Court and that those who opposed them should be threatened with political reprisals. That is what happened in the Parker case. They didn't like his political views. Because he had gone ahead and upheld the ruling of the Supreme Court in what they called the Yellow Dog Contract case at that time, the Court had held, before the time of the Taft-Hartley Act that a company could ask a man to sign an agreement that he wouldn't join a union. They can't do it now. But that was the law. The Supreme Court so ruled and Judge Parker, as a conscientious judge, upheld that, until Congress had passed a different kind of law-which Congress then proceeded to do he was defeated. He never did make the grade to the Supreme Court. One of the ablest judges we have in the whole Nation.
Today the shoe is on the other foot and political reprisals are threatened against those who do not vote for the NAACP's favorite, but the dangerous principle of ballot-box influence on selection of the judiciary remains, as has been made amply evident by the Vice President and others who have applied the party label to members of the Supreme Court and claimed partisan credit for the Court's decisions. In addition, however, to the objection to Mr. Sobeloff because of the ends others hoped to gain by his choice, the people of Virginia for whom I am speaking object to him because of his own actions and attitudes which they feel disqualify him for this particular assign
It is here that this part in the school cases enters the picture, but not in the simple setting that some commentators have tried to give it. The State of Virginia, represented by its attorney general and specially engaged counsel, entered those cases on the side of the local school boards which claimed the right to operate a purely local educational system on the basis of the "separate but equal" doctrine which had been accepted by the Supreme Court in numerous cases for more than half a century. The Federal Government, through the Office of the Attorney General chose unnecessarily and in my opinion improperly, to enter the cases on the side against the Southern States. Mr. Sobeloff in his capacity as Solicitor General was chosen to make the appearance for the Federal Government in the final arguments on the cases in 1954. He did his work capably and to that I, for one, do not object.
It must be pointed out, however, that Mr. Sobeloff did not have to take that assignment. He proved this by his later action in the Peters subversion case when he declined to appear because his personal views were not in accord with the official position of the Office of the Attorney General. Therefore, it seems reasonable to assume that Mr. Sobeloff did agree with the Government's position in the school cases and accepted the assignment not only willingly but enthusiastically. I say "enthusiastically" not only because of his conduct of the case but because after the final decision he made various speeches praising the action of the Court and offering this as an example of the way Federal courts should use their powers.
Now, the Supreme Court's decision of 1954 is the law of the land, so long as it stands unreversed and any judge of an inferior court will feel obligated to make his decisions with that in mind. But this does
not remove the right of those who think the Court was wrong and that its decision was in violation of the fundamental principles of the Constitution to raise the basic issues again and again through proper legal channels and to expect unprejudiced hearings all the way to the final decision of the highest Court in each new case.
Senator DIRKSEN. You wouldn't criticize him for having served as Solicitor in those school cases; would you?
Senator ROBERTSON. He did a good job and I don't criticize him for doing a good job, but I am going to point out the inherent prejudice to our viewpoint which he subsequently exhibited which makes him so objectionable. We don't believe he could be unprejudiced in the hearing of new cases on the method. The Supreme Court says, "We will give you time to implement this decree." I am going to point out, to begin with, even the Court itself turned down his 90 days. What could have been more prejudiced than "Give them 90 days or give them the penalty." The Court took 86 years to get around to that final hearing.
Senator DIRKSEN. You will admit that the Court did not turn down the basic premise he advanced and you will admit also that a constitutional and statutory basis is involved, and you will find the Court was unanimous in its "equal protection under the law."
Senator ROBERTSON. Of course the Court didn't turn down the premise because the theory was already implicit. Equal but separate schools are out. They had always been in. They were in by every decision before this, starting back to the State cases in Massachusetts, when Chief Justice Shaw, one of the truly great State chief justices of the early period held in Massachusetts-and they had this equal rights amendment there, too-that equal but separate schools were within the legal rights of equal-rights provisions of the State constitution. That was before the adoption of the 14th amendment.
Senator DIRKSEN. But there is nothing very extraordinary about reexamining the argument in the Plessy v. Ferguson case in 1846 which was the separate but equal facilities case when you stop to consider there was an unbroken line of decisions in the submerged land cases, the so-called Tidelands cases, for nearly a hundred years at the district court level and in the Supreme Court. Yet the Court comes along and by an overwhelming decision, notwithstanding a hundred years of decisions, ruled that it was wrong.
Senator ROBERTSON. There is a very interesting article in this week's Time magazine. It is about as strong a New Deal publication as I know, which claims that the decision of the Supreme Court in the school cases has all the earmarks of a socialistic treatise rather than a legal document. Of course, there is no harm in reexamining any decision that the Supreme Court has ever made. But here we had a case that for 86 years was based upon very conclusive and substantial reasoning, that if you gave the races equal educational facilities, you were not causing frustration in any Negro boy because he couldn't sit beside a white girl in school.
David Lawrence in his magazine U. S. News & World Report, next week will have an illuminating article upon the adoption of the 14th amendment. There never was any provision put in the Constitution with as much skulduggery as accompanied that provision immediately following an unfortunate War Between the States, which people sometimes erroneously refer to as a civil war. He is going to point out