Charleston Daily Mail (Newspaper) - February 11, 1937, Charleston, West Virginia
THE CHARLESTON DAILY MAIL, THURSDAY EVENING, FEBRUARY ll, I g
Tie Seen in Roosevelt Court Reform and Sit-Down Strikers
JJoosevelt Step Held Frontal Attack on Judiciary
and Auto Tactic Is Called Flank Move
By MARK SULLIVAN
For The Charleston Daily Mal!
WASHINGTON, Feb. ll.—Tile paramount subject in everybody's mind today is Mr. Roosevelt's action about the supreme court. Most of the aspects of that action will remain a long time; for discussing them there will he abundant opportunity. But there is one aspect which, unless attention is called to it at once, will escape notice. And if the outcome is what now seems indicated, it will become a momentous precedent for the future and a material reduction of the authority of all courts. - ----
Between Mr. Roosevelt's action about the federal courts aud the Michigan “sit-down" st like the relation mav not be apparent at first glance. But the relation is fundamental in tile sense that both are at- 1 tacks upon the power of all courts. Both are parts of a movement advancing on several fronts, designed to reduce, or having tile effect of reducing, the authority of tho judicial arm of government and increasing the authority of lite executive.
Mr. Roosevelt’s action about tile courts and the developments in the Michigan strike are further related in that the conferences about Hie strike were inspired by Mr. Roosevelt and are sponsored by him. When Governor Murphy, ol Michigan. a>ked the head cif the strikers aud the officials of General Motors to confer with him. he stated in ins -''quest that it \ca.: “in accordance itll the wish of the President of x ie United States.’’ Throughout the conferences, newspaper dispatches have repeatedly quoted Governor Murphy as saying he was keeping in constant touch with President Roosevelt.
Attracts Attention One of the effects of Mr. Roosevelt’s sensational action about the courts, at the particular time he took it. was to take public attention away from what is happening in Michigan For more than two weeks, the Michigan strike had been occupying first place in the attention of 1he public, with increasing concern about developments in that quarter. Suddenly, last Friday. Mr. Roosevelt s action about tile court eclipsed everything else I observed in a New York newspaper on Saturday morning a dispatch which recited a momentous development in Michigan. That dispatch ordinarily would have occupied the lirst page and would have attracted grave attention from the country. But with Mr. Roosevelt’s action about the courts filling the first page and several succeeding ones, the dispatch about the Michigan strike was pushed into the obscurity of page 32 Understanding of the present stage of the Michigan strike may be had by following the recent developments in sequence.
Asks Injunction On February I General Motors counsel went before the county court in Flint Michigan, to ask for an injunction ordering Ihe “sit-down" strikers to terminate their illegal occupancy of General Motors’ property.
During the very hours when this application was being argued before the court. Mr. Lewis’ union, far horn showing respect to the court. t apprehension about what action Vie court ni ght take actually enlarged the area of their strike They continued to occupy the two buddings they had held for four weeks -and they threw an additional force of “sit-down ’ strikers into a third building.
The following day. the court I aneled down its decision. Tile court declared that the occupation of General Motors’ property by the “sit-down’’ strikers was illegal. The court issued an order calling on the “sit-down” strikers to leave the plants.
This order by the court was delivered to the sheriff. Tile sheriff read it to the “sit-down’’ strikers. The response of the sit-downer> was. according to newspaper reports, a booing of the sheriff.
The “sit-down ’ strikers sent a telegram to Governor Murphy of Michigan saying, among Otho r thing.-. "We have decided to stay in the plant ”
Contempt of C ourt
Tile strikers were now not only in illegal posses.-ion of private property: Ibex were also in contempt of curl. The court, appalto tly ac-< u'dmg to Michigan procedure, took tile ground that it wa- not called
upon to do anvth
I: "i iK1
alone, arre-t and remove several hundred men. On February 5 he asked Governor Murphy to give him the a ss i> ta nee of Hie national guard to cann out the court s writ. this request, the
to this wiutin rrhe irituation court ha' fol laid down for
I has made n Michigan is that the lowed the procedure it bv law. Tile court.
how ever, force im crnor of the riece.
is made impotent to ended ce so long as the goethe state docs not provide -ary force.
no reply. §;:::
Mr. Roosevelt ton with his reduce Hic independence of courts is a frontal attack on the
has done proposal
thority of the government. WI phy. Hie New
judicial branch of tat Governor Mur-Deal governor of
Michigan has done amounts to a flank attack. The two actions fit into the same pattern.
Those are the basic facts of the situation. Perhaps it should be said in fairness to Governor Murphy that in failing to give support to the court and sheriff, he seems to put his failure on the ground that he wishes not to cause disorder. But there might not now be danger of disorder if earlier he had made clear his determination that in any and all eventualities he would sec that the law was upheld.
STAINLESS now, if you prefer
Genera] Motor' gave the court foi -mal notice that the courts order had not been obeyed, and that the illegal po.'session continued This General Motors d d. Thereupon Hie court issued what is known as a “writ of body attachment." Thu - lit directed the sheriff to arrest > J strikers and remove then
Obviously the sheriff could not
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