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Vol. IV, No. 1
November, 1958

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Looking Backward—And Forward

Volume 1, Number 1 of the CIVIL LIBERTIES DOCKET was published in October 1955. There have been many changes in the law since then, and in the practices of police, prosecutors, legislators and administrators. Yet it is interesting that there has been no decrease in the number of cases reported in the succeeding issues of the DOCKET.

[While the DOCKET does not claim to report all pending cases in the fields of civil liberties and civil rights, every effort is made to be complete. Material is collected from all known organizations working in these fields, from representative daily newspapers, and particularly from lawyers practicing in these fields throughout the country.]

A Comparison—First Amendment Cases

Volume I, No. 1 described 161 pending cases involving First Amendment Rights (contained now in Part I, Nos. 10-299). After Supreme Court decisions in Yates, Jencks, Konigsberg-Schware, Watkins-Sweezy, Harmon-Abramowitz, Kent-Briehl-Dayton, N.A.A.C.P., Cole-Peters, Nelson, C.P. v. S.A.C.B., First Unitarian Church, and several other "test" cases—the number of pending cases involving First Amendment Rights described in this Volume IV, No. 1 is: 159.

Certain categories of cases in that 1955 opening issue have contracted considerably, or vanished entirely. There are no more cases re loyalty oaths in public housing projects. There are no more California tax oath cases. There are no more expatriation cases. There are only 2 Smith Act conspiracy cases left; (the first issue reported 13). There is only one pending state sedition case (La., 244.5); in 1955 there were 10 cases from 6 states. There are only 2 pending passport cases; in 1955 there were 11. There are only 3 pending Fifth Amendment privilege cases; in 1955 there were 10. There is only 1 pending Army discharge case; then there were 10. And there are only 2 Attorney General's listing cases left; then there were 6 or more.

Several categories have just about as many cases in this Fall 1958 as in that Fall 1955: Smith Act membership cases; cases against organizations pending before the Subversive Activities Control Board; loyalty-security dismissals from government; teacher loyalty-security dismissals; Taft-Hartley non-communist oath cases; disciplinary and disbarment actions against attorneys.

Four categories of cases show increased activity in 1958. There are more cases involving PACIFISTS today (57.1 and .2, 120., 252.51 and .51a, 490.4). There are almost twice as many cases of FIRST AMENDMENT REFUSALS to answer political questions asked by legislative committees (271., 272.). There were no cases in 1955 AGAINST THE N.A.A.C.P. Today there are 16 cases pending in 5 states (204., 272.). In 1955 there were 2 loyalty-security DISMISSALS IN PRIVATE EMPLOYMENT being tested. This 1958 issue reports 24 such cases, including 8 suits against trade unions charged with causing dismissals or refusal to process grievances (268., 269., 280., 344.).

Justice seems to be a slow Goddess. 49 of the 161 First Amendment cases pending in Fall 1955 are still pending in Fall 1958.

Integration by Court Order

In the Fall of 1955, the DOCKET reported 12 suits to enforce the Brown desegregation decision in the public schools, and 8 college desegregation cases. The suits were pending in Ark., Calif., Kan., La., N. J., N. C., Ohio, S. C., and Va. (that is, 6 Southern states). This issue reports 56 public school desegregation cases, and 8 college cases.

Vol. I, No. 1 through Vol. IV, No. 1 of the DOCKET have contained reports of a total of 80 public school desegregation cases from 20 states:

These figures are too bare to be very meaningful in terms of the lives of the plaintiffs—Negro school children and their parents, in terms of social and economic pressures and intimidation, in terms of the financial cost of achieving integration by litigation, in terms of the time lag between court orders and integrated class rooms. Further statistics will round out the picture:

Of these 80 cases, 27 have been won. 5 have been lost. All the others are still pending (including 7 of those filed in or before 1955).

No progress toward integration has been made in two of the cases which were decided with the Brown case: Briggs, in Clarendon Co., S. C., and Allen, in Prince Edward Co., Va. No suits have been filed in Mississippi.

12 cases have been passed upon by the U. S. Supreme Court once since the Brown decisions. 3 more cases have been before the Supreme Court twice. And 1 case has been before that Court three times. As a result of these 16 cases, only 3 schools are integrated and cases closed.

16 cases have been passed upon by Courts of Appeals once. 2 have been decided by Courts of Appeals twice; 1 has been decided there three times, and 1 four times (Little Rock). Of these 20 cases, 6 resulted in integration and cases are closed.

There are 25 cases now pending before Federal District Courts (pre-trial or on remand); 9 pending before U. S. Courts of Appeals (4th, 5th, 8th Circuits), and 9 (Dela.) cases are now before the Supreme Court.

Some clue to the problem may be indicated by these figures: of 37 cases in which District Courts ordered integration on first hearing, 22 were closed upon integration of Pls. None ended adversely to Pls. Of 20 cases in which District Courts dismissed Pls.' petition for integration at the outset, only 5 have been concluded with integration; 5 were decided against Pls., and 10 are still pending in District Courts and Courts of Appeals.

Abbreviations Used in Docket

A few of the abbreviations used repeatedly in the DOCKET follow:

Citations Given in Docket

Citations are given to U. S. Reports of U. S. Supreme Court decisions; to Federal Reports, Second Series (F. 2d) of U. S. Court of Appeals decisions; and to Federal Supplement Reports (F. Supp.) of U. S. District Court decisions. Citations for state court decisions are given either by state reports or sectional reports (e.g., Mich., or Northwest 2d (NW 2d)).