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CIVIL LIBERTIES DOCKET
Vol. V, No. 3
June, 1960

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THIS ISSUE


A Democratic Cup of Coffee

This issue of the DOCKET reports over 1,000 new civil rights cases—943 persons arrested in efforts to desegregate Southern lunch counters; 87 arrested in efforts to use library reading rooms or visit art galleries in the South. (This is an incomplete tabulation of cases.) Most of the defendants are Negroes, many of them are students. They were arrested in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Most of the defendants were charged with disorderly conduct, breach of the peace, failure to obey an officer's orders. They were sentenced to jail terms or to pay fines. Some of the cases are being appealed. Many defendants have already paid fines or served sentences. See cases at 552., 551.

Other Civil Rights Decisions

This issue also reports a number of victories in civil rights cases:

A New York Supreme Court judge found the NYC Fair Housing Practices Ordinance constitutional. Martin, 533.17.

A California Superior Court, Appellate Division, reversed convictions of Negroes charged with gambling so that the defendants, who admitted gambling, could present evidence on retrial that the city's anti-gambling laws were enforced in a racially discriminatory manner. Harris, 551.Cal6.

The U.S. Department of Justice moved for the first time against a Southern city, alleging that the City of Biloxi broke a contract with the federal government when it segregated beaches renovated with U.S. funds. 551.Miss1 and 2.

The first Negro stewardess went to work for a national airline after winning her case before the NY State Commission Against Discrimination. Banks, 571.28.

But the City of Greensboro was permitted to sell its swimming pool to private parties after being ordered to cease discriminatory policies. 551.NC3.

And Howard Johnson's was not forbidden to discriminate against Negro customers traveling on a nearby interstate highway. 551.Va3.

By 6-3 vote, the United States Supreme Court permitted the taking of land from the Tuscarora Indian Nation for use by the NY Power Authority, in violation of a treaty between the United States and the Tuscarora. 605.1.

Due Process of Law

Because he had finished serving his sentence before the U.S. Supreme Court reached the hearing on his petition for a writ of habeas corpus, a defendant lost his right of review by the highest court, though the law's delays, not his, caused the time lag. 4 Justices dissented. Parker, 372.10.

Four Justices also dissented from affirmance of the conviction of a defendant whose person and apartment were illegally searched by the Immigration Service, arguing that the Service can not act as a cover for the FBI. Abel, 302.9.

Again in Schaffer and Karp, 4 Justices dissented from affirmance of a joint trial of several defendants after the conspiracy charge against them was dismissed. 314.2 and 3.

The deportation of Niukkanin, resident of the United States from his first year, was affirmed by 5-4, on the basis of the trial judge's decision after comparing the written transcript of the testimony of two government witnesses with the courtroom testimony of the deportee, 258.6.

But the Supreme Court unanimously reversed the conviction of a Louisville Negro who was convicted by the trial court and had no right of appeal to a higher Kentucky court. His alleged crime: tapping his feet while waiting for his cup of coffee. Thompson, 312.21.

Again, and Again

The Supreme Court has ordered reargument of the Communist Control Act case, Communist Party v. Subversive Activities Control Board, 211.1, and the Smith Act membership case, Scales v. U.S. and Noto v. U.S., 242.2 and .4.

The Court also, by 7-2 vote, remanded the Washington state loyalty oath case for reconsideration by the Washington Supreme Court, the dissenting justices arguing that no additional state interpretation of the statute was necessary. Nostrand, 280.1.

The First Amendment contempt of Congress cases will be heard by the Supreme Court next fall: Wilkinson, Braden, and McPhaul, 271.31, 271.32, 274.3.

And the cases on political tests for bar applicants will also be reheard in the Fall Term 1960: Anastaplo, which the Supreme Court declined to hear the first time round, and Konigsberg, once decided by the Court, but up for review of the later California Supreme Court decision. 265.23, 265.21.

Along with these cases will be heard Cohen v. Hurley, 345.1, the case of the New York attorney disbarred summarily for using the Fifth Amendment in an investigation of ambulance-chasing.

Perhaps For the First Time

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the Sunday closing cases, (140.10, 140.19, 140.20,) and the cases testing the constitutionality of Connecticut's anti-birth control laws. Buxton, 490.6.

The Taft-Hartley non-communist oath went into effect in 1947. The Supreme Court upheld its constitutionality in the test case of ACA v. Douds. But the Court has never affirmed a conviction under the act, having reversed in Gold, 291.3 and Jencks, 291.1 on other grounds. The oath provision has been replaced in the Kennedy-Landrum-Griffin Act of 1959, and the Court has agreed to hear three attacks on the conviction of a trade union official for filing a false oath in Travis, 291.4.