Cedar Rapids Gazette, July 26, 1974, Page 6

Cedar Rapids Gazette

July 26, 1974

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Issue date: Friday, July 26, 1974

Pages available: 26

Previous edition: Thursday, July 25, 1974

Next edition: Saturday, July 27, 1974

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All text in the Cedar Rapids Gazette July 26, 1974, Page 6.

Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - July 26, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Uht (tt<tliir l\upuU fltaje-Wf Editorial Page Ruling made conflict with Nixon respectable Friday, July 26, I 974 ■ ' & ... • President not above law TI I FC supreme court of the United States, highest in the land, spoke with a single voice in its historic decision that President Nixon must turn over subpoenaed tapes and papers to District Judge Sirica to determine their relevancy to the Watergate case. “We conclude that when the ground for asserting privilege as to subpoenaed materials sought for use in a criminal trial is based only on the generalized interest in confidentiality,” the court said in its opinion delivered by Chief Justice Burger, ‘‘it cannot prevail over the fundamental demands of due process of law in the fair administration of criminal justice. “The allowance of the privilege to withhold evidence that is demonstrably relevant in a criminal trial would cut deeply into the guarantee of due process of law and gravely impair the basic function of the courts. ” If there was a surprise element in this landmark opinion, it was in its unanimity. Many who speculated from the beginning that the court would rule the way it did, thought it would be by split decision — 7 to I, 6 to 2, or even 5 to 3 (Justice Rehnquist did not participate, choosing to disqualify himself). It was the unanimity, then, that nailed down the finality of the decision, considering the wide range of fundamental philosophy represented on the court — from that of the ultra-liberal Justice Douglas (appointed by the late President Franklin Roosevelt); that of the moderate Justices Brennan, Stewart (appointed by the late President Eisenhower) and Marshall (appointed by the late President Johnson); that of the moderate-conservative Justice White (appointed by the late President Kennedy), to that of the conservative Chief Justice Burger and Justices Blackmun and Powell (appointed by President Nixon). Moreover, the one-voice ruling left no doubt that it was “definitive,” — the only kind of decision President Nixon said, in earlier going, he would accept. Wisely, he has accepted it without ever having made known his own interpretation of the word. More importantly, perhaps, was that in speaking with one voice on such an important confrontation, involving the authority and powers of two branches of government, the court removed all doubt that it might let political considerations creep into its interpretation of the law. Or, to put it more bluntly, that its three members (Burger, Blackmun and Powell) beholden to President Nixon for their places on the bench, might let that fact influence their individual .judgments. Mr. Nixon, then, like many Presidents before him, has learned that the lifetime tenure of a justice releases him from any political obligation, consciously or sub-consciously, and rightly so. Justice White, for example, has not turned out to be the liberal President Kennedy thought him to be. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes went against the wishes of the late President Theodore Roosevelt, who appointed him, in another historic case involving the antitrust law. Justice Tom Clark went dead against the man who appointed him, the late President Truman, in denying the Chief Executive the right to seize the steel mills. And the late Justice McReynolds proved to be the very antithesis of virtually everything the man who appointed him — the late President Wilson — stood for. But, in another sense, President Nixon’s appointees did not disappoint him. He promised to appoint justices who would “interpret the Constitution strictly and fairly.” That they did, along with their colleagues who were appointed by other Presidents. The ruling is a narrow one. While recognizing that the President has a “presumptive” privilege for confidential communications, based on the need to be able to carry out official responsibilities, it holds that this privilege does not extend to materials sought for use in criminal trials. In other words, the President is not above the law any more than another citizen in the criminality area. That is what the supreme court did, thereby reaffirming the faith of the people in its integrity as the final arbiter in resolving questions that, conceivably, could undermine the very foundations of our beloved land if they went unresolved. Backup from no-knock IT WAS A 2-to-l vote in the senate recently — 64 to 31, decisively — but whether the repeal of no-knock entry under federal drug laws will go through the house of representatives that way remained in doubt. Still, when the opportunity comes up, it should. Though well intended as a law enforcement tool, the no-knock provision quickly ran afoul of Murphy’s law: “If anything can possibly go wrong, it will.” The sickening and tragic cases of location error, wrong identity, abuse of the innocent and unnecessary death that grew from no-knock situations proved the danger and have justified repeal. Not enough productiveness in drug arrests to offset what went wrong has balanced out the record, either. In the course of all the difficulty since 1970, no one managed to establish no-knock as a violation of the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, because mistakes in due process of law rather than a basic takeaway of rights brought on most of the trouble. But as the house gets into its consideration of repealing a system that allows police to kick in doors unannounced, a long look at the Bill of Rights’ protective principle is timely once again. This is what it says: “Article IV. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized ” A minority of lemons By Jim Fiebig ADMIT IT or not th** I S. < onsumer derives a certain amount of masochistic pleasure from his constant complaints about the “sad state” of American workmanship. Tell someone at a party that your new vacuum cleaner exhales, and he’ll top you with a horror story about a garbage disposal that broke free of its mounts and devoured his kitchen % “No one gives a damn about doing a good job any more,” we happily grumble, “except you and me.” We are righteously angry. We are victims. It is delicious While I have suffered my fair share of disappointing purchases, an honest accounting of overall product performance suggests to me that American mass production warrants more salutes than kicks in the assembly line. I have driven automobiles with an evil streak that would frighten a Jesuit priest, but our current car — a modest compact — is refreshingly dependable The record player doesn’t play and th** dishwasher doesn’t wash. but the stove stoves, the toaster toasts, the TV is tireless and my body will return to dust long before my Levis do. No one denies that pride of workmanship has suffered mightily from mass production, but those same manufacturing methods have given Americans a choice and availability of products that still makes us the envy of the world By James Reston NUW YORK — The supreme court, without ever mentioning the word “impeachment.” has changed the atmosphere, and maybe even the balance of power, in the impeachment debate in the congress of the United States. For the court has done what neither the executive nor the legislative branches of the government have been able to do. It has kept the trust of the American people. It has cut across all the leaks, th** television opinions of Hon Ziegler and James St. Clair, the conflicting judgments of the press, and the squabbles within the judiciary committee, and insisted on the imperatives of the law and the Constitution. The problem in Washington until the supreme court spoke, was that everybody was overwhelmed and confused by a torrent of contradictory evidence. Almost every day in the last couple of weeks, as the house judiciary committee finished gathering the evidence, the debate has been dominated by men of strong opinions. John Doar, the counsel for the Democrats in the judiciary committee, felt he had to sum up the evidence, and concluded that “reasonable men” would have to conclude that Presdident Nixon was guilty of impeachable offenses. The President’s public relations man, Ziegler, denounced this as an unfair outrage, and attacked the judiciary committee as a prejudiced, political jury, and the President’s lawyer went on television and accused Doar of “prosecuting” the President. Thus, until the supreme court handed down its unanimous opinion, Washington was in the midst of a propaganda war It was not concentrating on the facts. Political pressures wore being brought to bear to support the President, to be “loyal’’ to the President and the Republican party Not only John Doar, the majority counsel for the house judiciary committee, but Albert E. Jenner, jr., the Republican lawyer on the committee, were accused of playing politics with the evidence, both against the President. The supreme court has not put an end to this propaganda war, but it has brought the question down to the objective facts. It has challenged the President’s claim of executive privilege. It has said, unanimously, that he cannot withhold conversations and tapes that bear criminal evidence. It has not said what should be done about impeachment. It has been very careful to avoid judgment on that. It has merely said that the President cannot decide on his own what will be “confidential” that the courts must have the decisive voice on this question, and that he must hand over whatever evidence he has of any potential criminal activity by • members of his staff, or even by himself. The way in which the supreme court reached this decision, the fact that the decision was unanimous by a court thought to be sympathetic to the President, and the timing of its decision, were all important. Unlike most of the opinions on the 'Me, vofe for impeachment? Personally, I haven't seen anything solid enough to warrant it' Complain about the lemons forget to polish the apples but don’t General Features Corporation People's forum Grim view To the Editor The "general interest" of the public "overrides someone’s personal desire bono coverage,” explained The Gazette iii reply to a letter protesting the filming and televising of a child’s drowning Certainly such news should Im* reported Rut filmed and televised? We doubt that the "general interest” of the public causes people to -at iii front of their TV >. anxious^ awaiting a detailed Ulm of a child’s death and a family’s grief ll this is the ease, we are a sick people, indeed We wonder how a news photographer would feel if a stranger filmed th** tragic death of one of his loved ones Lowell and Paula Brandt Tipton Customers can help To the Editor In a Forum letter July 14, Mrs Thomas E. Meeker stated that sin* refused to sort her groceries when checking out at a supermarket recently We checkers also regretfully agree thai because of the new tax law . checking out grtweries bos become notre complicated Rut with every«»nes* cooperation, this procedure can be mad** much easier As of July I, Un* stale tax law required that only non-edible grocery items including beer and non-prescription drugs would be taxed < ’un seq uf ut lf edible food items must be rung tip separately from th*'non-edible items It provides for k*ss errors and a much more efficient system of checking out if the customer can sort the items as sin* places them on the bell This saxes the checker from sorting through all of the items arni also saves other customers from waiting in line much longer while this is being done We appreciate such cooperation Den ice Pet >ka 3829 Clark road SE Pamela Shafer 4027 Be\er avenin* SE \rlene Nev ak UMM! Thirty-fourth street NE Lynda Hahesy Route I Elv Hair fads Tm the Editor To get away from Watergate for a change, I wonder if anyone remembers when four long-haired people came to this country. Everyone wanted to run, them out of the country Then we had the hippies and people grabbed them on the street and cut their hair Now IMI percent of the people have bing hair. Now if we can get four girls I** start a fad by shaving their hair we will be able to tell the boys from the girls A M Hiccio 1259 Second avenue SE Sparkling show To the Ed Hoi Saturday evening (July 20) we attended the performance of “Rye, Rye Birdie" at Kennedy high school Those young people arni their instructors, Mr Erin* and Mr Kimmol. hud worked diligently the past month to give us one of the most enjoyable evenings we’ve had ut a long time. They absolutely sparkled, and we were * aught up iii their sparkle Congratulations, and thank you. to a wonderful group of young people Mrs Vt diiam I Mph 1421 Ninth street NU James Reston evidence out of the White House and the congress, the majority opinion written by Chief Justice of the United States Warren Burger was totally devoid of sentiment or excessive rhetoric, but plain and factual He defined the case chronologically and came to a clear decision, supported by all other members of the court (except William ll. Rehnquist, who did not participate) even without ambiguous supporting opinions. Confronted by this unanimous judgment of the court, which went directly against his opinions in the past, President Nixon said he thought he was trying to “protect the principle of presidential confidentiality in a system of separation of powers." But, he added, “While I am, of course, disappointed in the result, I respect and accept the court’s decision.” At one point, the President said, in the, statement read by his lawyer, that he would comply "fully” with the court’s decision, but there is a question of time. How bing will this take? The televised hearings in the judiciary committee started Wednesday night. How long will it take to transcribe and turn over the 64 tapes the court says should be examined for criminal evidence? The main thing about this extraordinary series of judgments by the supreme court and reactions by the White House, is what affect they will have in the house and senate, where the questions of impeachment and conviction have to be decided Here the imponderable may be more important than anything else. The supreme court has really changed the question. It has made opposition to the President not only legal, but respectable And this could be decisive For the last few difficult weeks, the swing votes in the house judiciary committee, and in the house and senate, the worriers and doubters, have not known what to do. but the supreme court, without even mentioning “impeachment,” has given them a lead. By a unanimous decision, it has said, just when the whole debate was going on television, follow the evidence, turn over the tapes, let’s get the facts and now the President has agreed to turn them over. on order of the court. This is a critical point in the house judiciary committee, in the house itself and in the senate, if the house agrees on articles of impeachment. Members are in confusion and even in despair about how to vote and whom to trust, but when the supreme court comes down unanimously against the President on a critical constitutional point, this is not only important but could even be decisive. New York Times Service $ Court of public opinion Plurality for removal By Louis Harris The Harris Survey BY A 53-34 percent majority, the American people feel that “the house of representatives should vote to impeach President Nixon so he can be tried by the U.S. senate.” When asked then what they thought the senate should do, by a plurality of 47-34 percent, most people thought the “U.S. senate should vote to convict him ” From an in-depth, in-person survey taken among a cross-section of 1,447 adult Americans nationwide between July 17 and 21, the latest Harris Survey can report these key results: • Although a majority wants to see the President impeached and a plurality believes he should be convicted, by a substantial 55-27 percent margin, most Americans "do not think that President Nixon w ill be found guilty and impeached and removed from office.’’ The majority reasons, somehow, that congress will simply not bring itself to turn this President out of office. • Back of this doubt that congress will act is a 80-34 percent negative rating for congress in its “handling of the Watergate affair” and an even worse 65-27 percent negative rating on the way it has "handled the impeachment proceedings against President Nixon " • However, congress is taken to tusk more than the house judiciary committee; the latter received negative marks for the job it has dime, but by a much doser 48-36 percent margin. Chairman Peter Rodino is accorded 38-32 percent negative ratings, Democratic party members of the judiciary committee 46-32 percent negative scores, and Republican members of the judiciary committee 53-24 percent negative marks. Among the chief lawyers in the proceedings, John Doar and former minority counsel Albert Jenner came up with a 35-26 percent negative assessment from the public, James St. Clair as the President’s lawyer with a higher 39-39 percent standoff, but Leon Juworski emerges with tin* highest marks of all. at '>0-31 percent positive The public holds mixed views about the impeachment proceedings up to now Majorities of the public agree with many of the negative criticisms leveled against the committee by the White House and other sources: • By 56-26 percent, a majority feds the “house judiciary committee has allowed too many leaks of confidential information to get into the press ” • By 54-24 percent, a majority of th** public also feels the committee “has become too partisan along party lines, making the impeachment process a political football.” • By 52-32 percent, a majority foals that the committee "has dragged out the impeachment proceedings far longer than it should have " At the same time, public ambivalence toward the judiciary committee can tx* seen in majorities who also went along with statements sympathetic and even praiseworthy of the committee’s efforts • Rn *8 'i J-runt, a majority agrees that “given a tough job, the house judiciary committee seems to be handling the impeachment of President Nixon in a thorough and fair-minded fashion.” • By 56-26 percent, a majority also agrees that the committee "has had al most no cooperation from President Nixon, but is getting its job done anyway.” • And by 54-31 percent, a majority feels that “because of the importance of the impeachment of a President, the house judiciary committee has been right to take such a long time in its proceedings.” What emerges from these results is a deeply frustrated public opinion, convinced long ago of President Nixon’s involvement in the Watergate cover-up. By 56-35 percent, a majority feels that “if congress decides that President Nixon was involved in the Watergate cover-up, congress should remove him from office.” This latest survey shows that a 72-19 percent majority believes Mr. Nixon knew about the cover-up while it was going on. and for the first time, a majority of 54-34 percent thinks that “President Nixon knew about the original Watergate break-in at Democratic headquarters " Above all else, the people want the judicial process of impeachment to work Faith in congress is so low that the public Louis Harris doubts that body will get the job done The public tends to think partisanship and politics will interfere with the judicial process. Nonetheless, a clear majority now feels that the house should vote a bill of impeachment The cross-section was asked The house of representatives can only vote to impeach the President — that is, have him pat on trial Then the U.S. senate would hold a trial, and either acquit or convict him All in all, from what you know or have heard, do you think the house of representatives should vote to impeach President Muon so he can be tried by the U S senate, or would you oppose such a step by the House?’* Toto* Public Should vote to -mpeoch Oppose such a step Not sure 53 34 I 3 Much the same sentiment prevails on a later U.S. senate conviction of President Nixon, although less than a majority now holds the view that he should be convicted And. of course, it takes a two-thirds vote of the senate itself for conviction. People were asked From what you know or have hoard, if the house of representatives votes impeachment ond President Muon is put on trial before the U S senate, do you think the U S senate should vote to convict him or not?" Toto* Public Should vote to convict Should no* Not sure 47 34 19 i (early, Hit* weight of public opinion has now moved toward impeachment of President Nixon, although a crucial one in five people is still withholding ultimate judgment on corn lotion, undoiiht-•*<Hv awaiting action by the house and tor .iii actual trial lo take place ( btctigo Tribune New York News Syndicate ;

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