The Supreme Court: Cool on Contempt

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury . . .

—U.S. Constitution

Traditionally outside this command is the power of federal judges to enforce their orders by trying errants for criminal contempt without a jury. Last week the Supreme Court again followed the tradition by denying jury trials to Mississippi's ex-Governor Ross R. Barnett and his successor, Paul B. Johnson Jr., both charged with what Justice Arthur Goldberg called the "extraordinarily serious" crime of obstructing federal orders to desegregate...

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