The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes
Friday, July 15, 2005
More on Hugo Black's SCOTUS appointment
There are a number of promising looking Harvard University Press books available as etexts, in similar format to The Rise of the Southern Republicans that I've discussed several times here .
The Warren Court and American Politics by Lucas Powe (a PDF) I've barely sampled before I come across (p22a) further intelligence on the appointment of repentent (he said) Klansman, Alabama's Hugo Black, to the Supreme Court in 1937 (which I discussed at some length on July 12).
Roosevelt had just been rebuffed by an embryo conservative coalition (bolstered by a good many liberals) , and Black was a provocative choice - designed to poke in the eye not only Black's current but also his future colleagues.
When the president told [press aide Steven] Early, the latter responded with just two words: "Jesus Christ." Roosevelt grinned because Early got it right. The Senate was outraged.
On the Klan question, he says
Black refused to comment on his Klan membership but allowed Idaho Senator William Borah, who did not know the truth, to deny the rumors.
I don't know enough about Borah to know whether this is plausible. I doubt it: the second Klan got (almost everywhere ), and there was surely every reason why Black would be involved with it .
There was a roll call vote (on August 17) - I'd somehow thought that, with all that senatorial courtesy going on, a voice vote would be de rigueur... - with pretty much every section split (Borah voted against, for example, Nye (ND) voted for; Byrd (VA) and Bilbo (MS) likewise.)
Powe says the Klan revelations came from [t]he Scripps Howard newspapers - despite the fact that the Block's Pittsburgh Post-Gazettes Ray Sprigle got a Pulitzer for doing so!
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