Courts: The Fascinating & Frenetic Fifth

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>John Minor Wisdom, 59, a New Orleans aristocrat, topflight corporation lawyer and former G.O.P. national committeeman. Another Ike appointee (1957), Wisdom is probably the court's top constitutional scholar; he is equally at home in archaeology, Greek tragedy and Louisiana civil law. Wisdom is one of the best (and most painstaking) opinion writers on any U.S. bench.

> John R. Brown, 54, a native Nebraskan, who began practicing admiralty law in Houston in 1932. Also an Ike appointee (1955), Brown proved to be a surprisingly adept constitutional lawyer and such a firm believer in such things as jury duty that in 1960 he refused exemption from duty in a state court. Houston lawyers wryly rejected him because "a federal judge's idea of the requirements for a search warrant is a little different from ours." > Alabama's courtly Judge Rives, 69, who never went to law school, but "read law" in Montgomery and became the town's most popular advocate before Harry Truman appointed him to the court in 1951. Rives's strong decisions for Negro rights have made him a pariah among white segregationists. With unwitting irony, his former friends mutter: "Dick could have gotten any political job he wanted." 4-4 Split. Until recently, the four "activists" were hotly opposed by another Ike appointee—the late Judge Benjamin F. Cameron, a Mississippi Republican (and friend of Democratic Senator James O. Eastland), who seemed to believe that the 14th Amendment did not apply to the South. As Cameron saw it, the Supreme Court had turned Southern states into "conquered provinces"; he accused his brethren of "applying force, blind and witless, where only love can triumph." Cameron's importance was clear last year in the crucial case of Mississippi's Governor Ross Barnett, whom the court had cited for contempt of its orders to desegregate Ole Miss. Cameron voted to try Barnett by jury—a precedent with the potential effect of nullifying all of the court's civil rights orders. Cameron had three supporters: Ike Appointee Warren L. Jones of Jacksonville and two new Kennedy appointees—Alabam-ian Walter P. Gewin and Georgian Griffin B. Bell. Since the aged Joseph C. Hutcheson Jr. of Houston was incapacitated, the court split 4 to 4, a vote that seemed to promise trouble.

Cameron died last spring, just before the Supreme Court itself denied Barnett a jury trial. But his death raised another prickly problem: Mississippi's Segregationist Eastland, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, will undoubtedly insist that Cameron be replaced by another Mississippian of Eastland's persuasion. Judge Hutcheson, 85, has meanwhile handed in his resignation at a time when the new Civil Rights Act promises more and more tough cases.

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