FEBRUARY 27, 1958
NEW YORK—From the Senate Internal Security Committee comes a notice of a hearing on Senate Bill 2646.
"This bill," the notice says, "introduced by Senator Jenner, would withdraw from the Supreme Court of the U.S. appellate jurisdiction in certain specified fields, namely, first, with respect to the investigative functions of the Congress; second, with respect to the security program of the executive branch of the Federal government; third, with respect to State antisubversive legislation; fourth, with respect to home rule over local schools; and fifth, with respect to the admission of persons to the practice of law within individual States."
It is easy to see why Southern Senators and a number of other reactionary gentlemen hope to get this bill through without the public having any knowledge of their real intention. But I hope that all organizations interested in civil liberties may become alerted immediately to the dangers that this opens up.
If the bill should be enacted, the power of the Supreme Court would be curtailed by Congress. I hope that those interested in preserving our liberties will give this not only careful scrutiny but mobilize public opinion, since it is essential that we keep our civil liberties. They are hard enough to gain, and we should not lose them through lack of knowledge or apathy.
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We in New York City are interested in what may become of Ellis Island. It seems to me that it would make an ideal park and recreation center, which in the summer months would be a Godsend to many of New York City's children and adults. But if it cannot be used for this, I do not think it should be turned over to a private real estate operator.
In that case I would favor the plan, sponsored by Governor Averell Harriman and Mayor Robert F. Wagner, to put a narcotics hospital and laboratories project on the island.
Many Americans have both pleasant and unpleasant memories connected with their entering America, and that is why the park and playground project appeals to me more than anything else. A park would seem to be of greater value to the people as a whole. But the island certainly should not be allowed to become some money-making scheme for an individual or small group of individuals.
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I drove up to West Point, N.Y., Sunday afternoon to speak for the Cadets in their Forum which is run by the senior classmen. C.R. Smith kindly took me up, as he did last year and we had a very pleasant time with Lieutenant General and Mrs. Garrison H. Davidson, the superintendent and his wife, before the Cadets took over.
They gave us a charming dinner at the Hotel Thayer, and then we went to a barn-like auditorium, which is a combination of a gymnasium and auditorium and not exactly an intimate place for a small group to meet. The young men who were there seemed interested, however, and asked a number of questions.
As it always seems to me that this is one of the most important groups of young college-age students in our country, I was happy to have the opportunity of meeting with them again.