The Bother About Senator Black
■ From Our Own Correspondent
Probably because the nomination, appointment and swearing in of Senator Black as the new Associate Justice of the Supreme Court happened so swiftly, criticism of the Senator began as localised squalls. But with added exposures of the Senator's admitted connections with the Ku Klux Klan, a veritable storm of criticism broke over the White House, the Senate, and Mr. Black.
The storm over the Black appointment opened with the charge that the Southern Senator, as an attorney, had appealed to racial prejudice to obtain an acquittal. Briefly, the story is this: A Catholic priest in Alabama had witnessed the marriage of one of his parishioners to the daughter of a local Protestant clergymman. In the belief that the groom was coloured, the clergyman had words with the priest, and shot him. Mr. Black, his attorney, limited his defence to producing the groom in court, and inviting the jury to "look at him." It is said that the dark colour of the newlywedded man won an acquittal.
Former Connections with the Klan
The above story appeared in several Catholic papers two or three weeks ago, but along with it, and sometimes quite unaware of it, other Catholic papers ran editorials raising the question of Mr. Black's former connections with the Klan.
These latest revelations are the work of a reporter on the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, a paper belonging to the Block chain, which has been consistently anti-administration. While noting that an anti-administration bias probably inspired the exposure of Mr. Black's connections with the Klan, the Pittsburgh Catholic adds that the charges are none the less well authenticated, and demand an answer.
The excuse advanced by some Senators and others in Washington that Mr. Black's Klan connections were unknown to them is given short shrift by the Baltimore Catholic Review, whose editor maintains that information about Mr. Black was made available to the Senators before they considered approving his appointment.
The position of the Catholic Press may be summed up in a sentence from an editorial in America : "If Senator Black took the Klan oath lie is morally disqualified to sit on the Supreme Court Bench."
The Catholic Press is not alone in its objection to the Black appointment. The most liberal of the Liberal Press is frankly scandalised, while the Conservative Press is making the most of the appointment, to support contentions previously made that the President's Supreme Court reform—the so-called packing—was a menace to the Supreme judiciary of the country.