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Vol. VI, No. 1
November, 1960

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"The life of the law has not been logic . . ."

When he was hired as a public school teacher in Orange Co., Florida in 1950, the Board of Education omitted to ask Cramp to swear to his loyalty. The Board eventually discovered its error and asked him to execute the oath. Cramp refused on constitutional grounds, and was promptly dismissed after nine years of proving his loyalty in the classroom. (280.15)

In the 1940's Owings was convicted of highway robbery and larceny and began paying his debt to society and learning to become a law-abiding citizen on a South Carolina chain gang. He escaped in 1947 and lived as a law-abiding citizen in New Jersey from then until 1960. His extradition having been secured, he has now been returned to South Carolina prison officials. (412.10) O'Keefe was convicted of burglary in Pennsylvania. While free pending appeal, he was convicted of participating in the $1,219,000. Brink's robbery in Boston. After serving time in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania requested his rendition, which Massachusetts refused, for fear he would be killed for having turned state's evidence in the Brink's case. (412.11)

In 1955, the Federal District Court dismissed a school desegregation suit brought by Negro parents in Dallas. The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed and remanded. In 1956, the District Court again dismissed. The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded. In 1957, the District Court ordered immediate integration. The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded. In 1959, the District Court rejected plaintiff's petition for immediate integration. The Court of Appeals ordered the School Board to submit a desegregation plan by May 1, 1960. The Board proposed 12 year "stairstep" integration beginning with the first grade in Sept. 1961. The District Court suggested the Board prepare a less inclusive plan. The Board proposed a tri-school plan: some all-Negro schools, some all-white schools, some integrated schools, with pupil choice. The District Court approved the plan. The appeal has been argued in the Court of Appeals. (Boson, 522.Tex5.)

One by One, (if at all)

The U.S. Supreme Court handed down the Brown desegregation decision in 1955. Today there are no Negro and white children attending integrated schools in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi or South Carolina. (See 52 public school desegregation cases reported in this issue, 2 from Ga., 2 from S.C., 522.)

After lengthy litigation, there are 113 Negro children in Arkansas attending public school with white children, out of 12,639 Negro students in the state. In Florida, 27 are attending desegregated schools, out of 27,052. In Louisiana, 4 out of 51,113 Negro students. In North Carolina, 82 out of 54,746 Negro students. In Tennessee, 342 out of 19,644. In Virginia, 208 out of 52,286. Many of these desegregated Negro pupils have passed physical and psychological tests, have been thoroughly screened by pupil placement boards.

Law Changing Customs

Until the spring of 1960, it was the custom in Danville, Virginia, for whites to sit at tables in the public library, and for Negroes not to use the library at all. After suit was filed by Negro plantiffs, the District Court in May temporarily ordered the city to extend full privileges to Negroes. The library was closed from May to Sept., when it reopened for integrated use with all tables and chairs removed. The case was dismissed next day. (551.Va5)

Habla Español?

Camacho, Spanish-speaking resident of New York, continues, in federal court, his efforts to register to vote as a citizen literate in one language, Spanish, but not in a second, English. (501.9a)

The Credit Bureau of Albuquerque has a written rule that its employees may not speak a foreign language while at work. When the New Mexico Fair Employment Practices Commission, after hearing a complaint by three discharged Mexican-American women, ordered the Bureau to rescind this policy, the Bureau filed suit. (571.41)

Freedom of Assembly

Rev. Shuttlesworth and Rev. Billips sued the Birmingham Police Commissioner in Sept. 1960. As leaders of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights — organized after the N.A.A.C.P. was enjoined from operating in the state — the ministers seek injunctive relief against the surveillance of organization meetings by city detectives. (23.9)

Privacy of Organization Membership Lists

The right of the Alabama N.A.A.C.P. not to divulge its membership lists to the state was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1958 and 1959. A somewhat similar case is now pending concerning the Louisiana N.A.A.C.P. (204.16 and .17)

This term the Court has affirmed the conviction of McPhaul, of the Civil Rights Congress, for contempt of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee for refusal to produce membership lists (274.3), and the Court has dismissed the appeal of Dr. Uphaus, of World Fellowship, for contempt of the Attorney General of New Hampshire for refusal to produce his guest list. (272.2) The decision of the Court is awaited in the case of the Communist Party v. the Subversive Activities Control Board, (211.1), involving the registration of the organization and the production of its membership list.

Are You Now, or Have You Ever Been

In 1956 producers of "Salt of the Earth" brought suit against 62 movie companies, charging blacklisting of plaintiffs made distribution of the pro-union movie impossible. When the Pls. failed to produce their managing agent to answer questions concerning his political beliefs and affiliations, the District Court dismissed the suit. The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has just reversed and remanded. (30.1)

When Nusbaum sued a Newark newspaper for calling him a Communist Party member or sympathizer, the newspaper subpoenaed third parties, asked them to answer questions concerning their political affiliations. The N.J. Sup. Ct. has just held that these witnesses need not answer the questions, can claim the Fifth Amendment privilege. (333.16)

Puffing, Again

This issue of the DOCKET contains 485 cases, almost twice as many as the first issue, six years ago, and is going to almost twice as many subscribers.

If you are acquainted with any civil liberties or civil rights case not reported in the DOCKET, please describe it in detail for inclusion in the next issue. If you know any individuals, organizations, or libraries interested in civil libertes or civil rights issues, please introduce them to the DOCKET.

Abbreviations Used in Docket

A few of the abbreviations used repeatedly in the DOCKET are the following:

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) .)

Citations to law reviews are standard (e.g., Yale L. Jour. — Yale Law Journal). Race Relations Law Reporter cited as RRLR.

Courts and Appellate Procedure


The majority of cases filed in federal courts start in District Courts (e.g., SD NY), are appealed to Courts of Appeals (CA 2), then to the United States Supreme Court (U.S.S.C.). Some go directly from 3-judge federal courts at the DC level to the U.S.S.C. Some cases go directly from administrative agencies to the CA DC.

When the U.S.S.C. agrees to hear a case, it either grants a petition for certiorari, or notes probable jurisdiction on an appeal. Occasionally the U.S.S.C. "postpones consideration of jurisdiction to argument on the merits", i.e., agrees to hear an appeal, waiting to decide whether or not it will finally rule on the merits of the case until after the argument.

When the U.S.S.C. declines to hear a case, it either denies a petition for certiorari or dismisses an appeal.


The number of appellate courts in the several states varies, as do the names of the courts. In many states there are three levels: county courts of general jurisdiction, called Circuit Courts; District Courts of Appeals; the State Supreme Court. [Variations: in Ohio the county court is called the Court of Common Pleas; in California, the Superior Court. In New York, the county court is called the Supreme Court; the appellate courts are: Supreme Court, Appellate Division and Court of Special Sessions, Appellate Term; the highest court is the New York Court of Appeals.]

City courts may be called Magistrate's, Municipal, Recorder's, or City courts.