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February 26, 1961 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1961-02-26
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_. . - . . ..

n-American Activities Committee
-Its Methods and Its Mandate

Sarah Lawrence

Continued from Page Six
cit in separating the powers of
government into executive, legis-
lative and judicial branches. The
reasoning behind the establish-
ment of a system of checks and
balances as a safeguard is known
to most school-children.
will not be determined by the
body which defines guilt, and that
guilt be determined by a court
and jury employing the judicial
safeguards constitutionally guar-
anteed is the citizen's protection
against the vicissitudes of an arbi-
trary government.
Legislative encroachment upon
the judicial branch is consequent-
ly to be viewed with alarm. And
the Committee's hearings are, in
effect, trials. The exposure tech-
nique employed by the Commit-
tee has been established as evoca-
* tive of economic and social retalia-
tion. "Such publicity is clearly
punishment," says Supreme Court
Justice Hugo Black, "and the Con-
stitution allows only' one way in
which people can be convicted and
"The crime of Communism, like
all others, can be punished only
by court and jury after a trial with
all judicial safeguards," Justice
Black continues. The practical ef-
fects accruing from the Commit-
tee's unconstitutional encroach-
ment into the judicial realm are
these: The Committee is not sub-
ject to the rules of fairness and
impartiality to which our courts
are bound. It conducts trials un-
der immunities unheard of in the
courts. Under the guise of a leg-
islative hearing, the Committee is
snot compelled to allow its witness
due process of law. He need not
be granted the right to counsel.
He has no right to confront and
cross-examine his accuser. Guilt is,
often assumed through associa-

NO ATTEMPT is made here to
belittle, or to determine the
extent of the Comhmunist menace.
This is simply to say that where
the intent is opposition to the ex-
pansion of Communism, the
means of opposition is open to
question. Can this democracy
sanction a committee which,- by
its actions, undermines the Bill of
Rights, renders the concept of
separation of powers mythical
thereby creating ammunition for
propagandists and yet, accom-
plishes nothing positive? Does it
wish to utilize Communistic meth-
ods in protecting itself against
Many Americans have answered
this question. Eleanor Roosevelt
said, "Let us rid ourselves of this
agent of weakness and folly." Rep.
James Roosevelt (D-Calif) said,
"My conviction' is that the Com-
mittee is closer to being danger-
ous to America in its conception
than most of what it investigates.
My conviction is that it is a con-
tinuing discredit to the country."
John Fischer, editor of Har-
per's Magazine, said, "The whole
record of Congressional inquiries
into un-American activities indi-
cates that they have done the
United States far more harm than
good. They have turned up re-
markably few subversives who had,
not already been spotted by the
FBI or other security agencies.
But they have furnished moun-,
tains of ammunition to hostile
liam Brennan said, "An inves-
tigation in which the processes of
law-making and law-evaluating
are submerged entirely in expos-
ure of individual behavior -- in
adjudication, of a sort, through
the exposure process-is outside
the constitutional pale of Con-
gressional inquiry."
Justice Black said, "Ultimately

all the questions in this case real-
ly boil down to one-whether we
as a people will try fearfully .and
futilely to preserve democracy by
adopting totalitarian methods, or
whether in accordance with our
traditions and our Constitution we
will have the confidence and cour-
age to be free.".
The Washington Post said,
"This is not congressional inquiry;
it is a stultification of the in-
vestigating power."
The New York Times said, "For-
tified by ample appropriations al-
most automatically renewed each
year by the House, the committee
pursues its heresy hunt, endan-
gering Constitutional guarantees
in the process, weakening at home
and abroad America's reputation
as the land of the free-and all to
what avail?
"There are dangers to the Unit-
ed States, emanating directly from
Russia; but their true meaning is
obscured rather than illumined by
the antics of un-American activi-
ties committees. For such positive
suh~version as exists, the FBI is
sufficient. The United States no
longer needs-if it ever did need
--the aimless pursuit of heresy
that has led to a present total of
nearly forty 'First Amendment'
The New York Post termed thet
Committee "one of the larger ir-
relevancies and indecencies of our
democratic system."
Increasing numbers of Ameri-
cans - conservatives concerned
with preservation of the integrity
of the Bill of Rights, the main-
tenance of separation of powers,
and a government of men rather
than law, as well as liberals sen-
sitive to the erosion of civil liber-
ties-have answered these press-
ing questions in letters to their
It remains for the House of
Representatives itself to answer
the question.

Continued from Page Two
of the innumerable men's schools
indigonous to the area.
THE TOWN OF Bronxville, as
conservative and sedentary as
the school is liberal and progres-
sive is both dumbfounded and
annoyed at the Sarah Lawrence
segment of its population. Resi-
dents are greatly relieved to see
the girls depart for the weekend,
clearing the air of their radical
ideas on. dress and education.
New York is only one half hour
from Sarah Lawrence by train and
the train station :nly a ten minute
walk from the campus. Despite
the proximity, however, many
girls, especially those who have
suitcases to carry, prefer to take
a cab to the station than walk.
Taxi service is provided by ,an
agency called "Brettel" which con-
sists of a fleet of black cars and
black-clad chauffeurs who go out
of their way to make themselves
surlyhand see to it, according to
Sarah Lawrence acomplaintants,
that they miss as many trains as
possible. The half hour train trip,
they point out with quiet irony, is
about equal in length to the time
one waits after having called Bret-
tel, assuming of course that the
cab comes at all.
Other paradoxes, these again
sumably stemming from the com-
mendable sacrifice of the material
to. the intellectual, result from a
refreshingly complacent attitude
toward the construction work go-
ing on now in the new dorms.
Made of the most expensive ma-
terials arid decorated in harmon-
ious shades, the new fixtures being
put in do not seem likely to last
HIIE BEDROOMS in the new
dorms are big, bright and
beautifully wood paneled, but no
one remembered to put any in-
sulation in the walls and the
whimpers of the girls in the next
room which echo through the pa-

per thin plartitions of the entire
corridor while the newly applied
paint peels from the walls if any-
one stares at it long enough.
The greatestunexplained mys-
tery is an automatic washer and
dryer combination in the new dor-
mitory. The machines have been
there since September, but as yet
no one has come to install them.
Last week a man who looked as
though he might know how to in-
stall the machines caused a great
furor as he strode through the
halls, but it turned out he had only
come to put a new hair-dryer in
the lavatory.
The Sarah Lawrence girls love
their school and all it stands for.
None of them would leave it for
the world, yet occasionally these
inconveniences seem to get the
best of them.
EVERY NOW and then on a par-
ticularly cold night, a few resi-
dents of the new dormitory get a
car, huddle together and despond-
ently sing a few verses of the clos-
est thing Sarah Lawrence has to
an anthem, "The Sarah Lawrence
I called Brettel 'bout an hour
But I missed my train, they're
a little slow
Got the Sarah Lawrence Blues,
Lord, Lord,
I got the Sarah Lawrence Blues.
We've all got calcium defiiciency
'Cause Weismueller (the dieti-
cian) bought a mechanical
Got the Sarah Lawrence Blues,
Lord, Lord,
I got the Sarah Lawrence Blues.
Well, my underwear's dirty and
it won't get clean
Till they plug in that Goddam
wash machine
Got the Sarah Lawrence Blues,
Lord, Lord,
I got the Sarah Lawrence Blues.


Sunday, February 26, 1961

ion,. There is lack of a specific
indictment. He is not protected " r YY:.
against self-incrimination or dou-
ble jeopardy. He is at the mercy
of arbitrary legislators while being
tried and punished for an offense
against which there is no law.
FURTHERMORE, as witnesses
testify and retestify, their past
beliefs, expressions or associa-
tions are often judged by current
standards rather than by those
contemporary with the matter ex-
And the Committee, far from
denying this role, admittedly as-
cribes to it: "There are many
phases of un-American activities
that cannot be reached by legisla-
tion or administrative action. We I
believe that the Committee has
shown that fearless exposure is the s
However, enumeration of the
lack of judicial safeguards in the
phenomenon of "legislative trials"
is not to say that were these safe-
guards incorporated there would
be no objection to the concept. The
term "legislative trial" in the con-
text of the existing form of gov-
ernment is an apparent internal
contradiction. The separation of
powers and the system of checks
and balances contained therein
constructsa governmental frame-
work which cannot accommodate
the "legislative trial."
NOT ONLY does the Committee4
does the Committee usurp ju-
dicial functions; it- is also making
inroads into the executive domain.:
The apprehension of criminals,
and of Communists, is being le-
gally and, to an extent, scientifi-
cally dealt with by the police,
counter - espionage agencies and,
most specifically, by the Federal
Bureau of Investigation.
The Committee, viewed pr ag
matically, is valueless in the con-
text of any assistance it might
provide to these agencies equipped *
to perform the function decently,
legally and efficiently. The Com-
mittee, were it legal and compati-
ble with democracy, would con-
stitute no more than a needless
expense and a duplication in func-e

two on the aisle , fi
;. P O T L I Gam H T
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Saffell& Bush has a certain knack
with fine fabrics and a sense of style
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