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Vol. III, No. 4
July, 1958

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Recent Decisions of U. S. Supreme Court

Cases decided by United States Supreme Court reported in this issue (with victories on civil liberties or civil rights issues given in italics):

Cases the Supreme Court refused to hear (with victories on civil liberties or civil rights issues in courts below given in italics):

Cases the Supreme Court agreed to hear in 1958 Oct. Term:

Pending before the Supreme Court at the end of the 1957 Term:

Racial Bias in FHA and VA-Insured Houses

For several years, attempts have been made to secure a ruling that new housing built with FHA and/or VA-insured-financing cannot be denied to prospective buyers solely on the basis of race. (See Johnson v. Levitt & Sons, et al., I DOCKET 28-9, #640.1.) In 1946 suit was filed by a Negro-Pl. in Sacramento alleging that Defs.—builders, subdividers and realty firms operating in FHA or VA-insured developments—had conspired to deny all Negroes the opportunity to buy new homes. (Ming v. Horgan, #532.2.) Superior Judge James H. Oakley has just held for Pl., with a long written opinion.

Describing the operation of the FHA and VA, the Ct. held that "Indirectly and secondarily, but not unimportantly, the beneficiaries are (1) the lender who gets a Fedl. guaranty of his loan, (2) the real estate man, the builder and the subdivider, who have been provided a ready means by which they can market their respective products. Each of the latter group can count on his market, rather than simply invest his time, labor and money in developing property and then hope for buyers who can persuade a lender to advance enough to enable them to purchase with no security other than the property itself." "While it was undoubtedly an overstatement (no funds as such being involved) Pl's characterization of his theory * * * is expressive—that when one dips one's hand into the Federal Treasury, a little democracy necessarily clings to whatever is withdrawn."

If the Cts. upheld Defs. in their asserted right to freedom of contract, "gone would be the principle of integration which seems to have become the law of the land as a necessary component of that equality of right required by the Constitution * * * If it be objected that Congress refused to so ordain, it must be replied that Congress could not ordain otherwise—the law does not permit it to differentiate between races, * * *."

While holding that no conspiracy existed, the Ct. clearly recognized and spelled out the various methods by which Defs. absolutely prohibited Negroes from buying new housing in the area.

Attempts to Control One's Destiny

Under #490.—Miscellaneous Due Process, will be found three cases. Each is a part of man's ceaseless effort to control his present environment and to extend his control over his future. DR. LINUS PAULING and others have filed suits in Washington, Moscow, London and Paris to enjoin the governments from further testing of radio-active weapons which produce fall-out. (#490.4) ATTORNEY FYKE FARMER has sought judicial approval of his refusal to pay taxes to a government which uses a large percentage of its funds for military purposes, including the conduct of a Korean war and stockpiling of atomic weapons. (#490.5) DOCTOR BUXTON and several individuals seek to be permitted to prescribe and use contraceptive devices in the State of Connecticut in order to protect the lives of women who, medically, should not bear children, and the liberty of couples who prefer to make conscious decisions about the production of the next generation. (#490.6)