The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, September 25, 1969, Page PAGE 2, Image 2

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    THE DAILY NEBRASKAN
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 1969
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Metamorphosis
of Justice Dept.
By Frank Manklewicz
and Tom Braden
Washington Atty. Gen. John Mitchell, whose
legal experience was limited to municipal bonds
and Wall Street, now turns out to know a great
deal about Madison Avenue. He has all but turned
the Justice Department Into a public relations
agency; one might expect a name change to John
Mitchell & Associates.
The agency (the younger men might call it
JMA) got its first test In the Fortas matter. The
client, Richard Nixon, stayed remote and aloof
while the charges against the justice were aired,
but Justice Department flacks were spreading the
word that there really was "much worse stuff" ,
in the files.
Agency at work
Even the boss, Mitchell himself, had a hand
In the account. He talked of his conversation with
the chief justice in such a way as to plant in
many newspapers the theory that he had flashed
before Earl Warren a rather sinister and extended
record which should force Fortas to resign.
As It turned out, the retainer was wasted. What
was visible about the Fortas affair without the
Justice Department campaign turned out to be
gamy enough, and the justice quite properly
resigned.
But when President Nixon handed the firm
the Haynsworth account, Mitchell and Associates
really went to work. A clear conflict of interest
arose involving Haynsworth's substantial stock
holdings and management of a vending machine
company doing business with a litigant in his court.
Some senators began to rumble about judicial
ethics.
Suddenly the resources of the department,
hardly available in the past to judicial nominees,
were at Haynsworth's disposal. Covering up the
judge's initial lack of candor in describing the
vending machine matter, the department first tried
clumsily to prove he had been "cleared." and
when that transparent veil had been pierced, Issued
and encouraged long memoranda stressing that
it was only a little conflict anyway.
Then the legal counsel of the department
William Reanquist was made account executive.
In a presentation that would have done credit to
any agency all that was missing was the three
color flip charts he put out a memorandum
indicating his opinion that Judge Haynsworth had
a duty to decide the case involving his vending
machine company.
Here was the first real hard sell "Conflict
of interest is good for you"; "Start the day with
a hot, nourishing conflict It sticks to your ribs."
But the Justice boys, as they say at the Four
Seasons, hadn't done their homework; they ran
it , up the flagpole, but only the client saluted.
Some senators pointed out that Rehnquist had cited
everj court's opinion except the Supreme Court's,
and every canon of ethics except the one that
was relevant.
Then came the expert witnesses. One of them
dismissed the vending machine controversy because
Haynsworth didn't really have any stock In the
company that was before his court. Sen. Birch
Bayh (D-Ind.) Innocently asked if it would matter
if. he did. "Oh yes." replied the expert as the
account executives gasped, "that would be a con
flict." So Bayh dutifully put into the record that Judge
Haynsworth had stock in the Brunswick Corp., when
his court decided a case in Its favor. He is prepared
to show the same conflict with respect to the
Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad.
Back came Rehnquist, now in the position of
an agency executive advertising a car when 400.000
have just been called back for faulty brakes.
The Brunswick case, he said, was just one
of those things. Any judge of a court of appeals,
we are asked to believe, could have his broker
Sick up some stock of a company whose case
e was considering.
But by now more senators are wondering
whether the appearance of conflict of interest
means anythiiig at all. And when the Haynsworth
inquiry Is over, they will begin to wonder whether
the true role of the Department of Justice is to
defend justice or make and unmake justices.
Lot Ansalaa Tlmn
DAILY- NEBRASKAN
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'Nfebraskan editorials
1UUWSA.
MOWSSlL
by Jim Evinger
. . . ivith freedom
and justice
for all.
The mantle of liberal respectability now clothes
us all as draft reform, troop withdrawal and a
retrenchment of foreign military commitments
emerge as acceptable national priorities for the
Nixon administration.
As was said Monday by a professor
participating in the Vietnam Moratorium organiza
tional meeting, "Now that there is a Republican
as president, regular Democrats can safely oppose
the war." The Moratorium Committee that night
talked softly and in cool rhetoric of vigils, silent
marches and services to mourn American
casualties in Vietnam. Planned for October 15, the
Vietnam Moratorium will probably draw wide-based
support from the University community much as
the march for open housing did last fall.
And all this is good. And now it is even fine.
Fair-weather society
Yet the fickle and fair-weather values of our
society as a whole still implicitly condemn sincere
acts of conscience and commitment, which motivate
the Moratorium Committee and characterize those
who oppose the war.
Witness the appearance of Dr. Benjamin Spock
this afternoon in the Centennial Room of the
Nebraska Union.
The legitimacy of Spock today symbolizes those
values, selectively applied by a society that
outwardly refutes a double standard of justice,
yet inwardly adheres to a separate standard for
political issues.
All-Star Trial
Spock and his all-star cast of codefendants,
including (by virtue of association) defense counsel
Arthur Goldberg, were on trial recently for con
spiring against the draft. They attacked the legality
of the war and the laws of the Selective Service
Act. Yet, in U.S. v. Spock et si, the government's
indictment charged conspiracy, ignoring any
substantive crime that might allegedly have been
committed.
The anticipated clash betwen the Spock
"conspirators" and the Establishment never came.
The U.S. Court of Appeals Ignored the political
Issues raised by the defense and reversed Spock's
conviction on a legal point. To a public accustomed
to a simplistic interpretation of the judiciary, the
decision fostered acceptability for overt and public
opposition to the war.
Acceptability means that Spock could read a
resolution in New York City last Saturday calling
for withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Vietnam
and have the Lincoln paper recognize it in its
news columns the following day.
Acceptability means that the aforementioned
regular Democrats can safely sprout dove feathers
after the party convention in 1968.
And now Chicago
Yet in the pervasive American scheme of
things, this acceptability sanctions a trial beginning
In Chicago (a city symbolic to youth as the
American seedbed of repression and political in
justice.) Under indictment by a grand jury for"
conspiring to commit acts at the 1968 Democratic
National Convention in Chicago are eight men.
They range from a Black Panther to a 54-year-old
Quaker pacifist, who had never met each other
before being indicted as co-conspirators.
Again, the stated issue is conspiracy. It Is
political in nature.
The trial may potentially be the most significant
confrontation yet between proponents of wlde-raing-ing
dissent under the First Amendment protections
and those, like Attorney General Mitchell, who see
the eight as hard-core radicals bent on apocalyptic
destruction of liberty, order and common decency.
Clark Refused
The prosecution resoundingly denies that this
is a political trial. Yet former Attorney General
Ramsey Clark refused to press the Indictments
against the eight, believing that the demonstrators
at Chicago were exercising their constitutional
right under the First Amendment.
The fact that the noted pediatrician is being
welcomed on campus today merely underscores
the political values of American society which ap
plaude Spock's humanitarian efforts but decry those
other eight dedicated men on trial In Chicago.
The double-edged sword of American political
justice cuts to serve those who wield it. Its efficacy
is at best questionable, as the reversal of the
Spock conviction Indicates.
Perhaps It is best that this justice is Inconsistent
otherwise people like Spock might be up against
the courtroom wall every time.
Centennial College:
refreshing change
One of the more refreshing educational changes
at the University of Nebraska in recent years is
the Centennial Education Program.
In the program, 177 undergraduates are
participating in an experience which combines
resident hall living with learning. The value of
this experience, says T. E. Beck, a full-time teacher
at the college, Is the development of "genuine
Interrelations between students, both casual and
academic."
Worthwhile program
Most of the students in the program are finding
it a truly worthwhile program. One said, "It's
the casual type of exchange with other students
that makes it so good. There's a give and take
that I've never had in any other educational ex.
perience." Another student felt the college was
good because of "the lengthy discussions we have.
There's so much opportunity to expand from the
basics."
There have been complaints about the college.
Some students are taking basic mathematic courses
on independent study with each student progressing
at his own speed. Although counseling and help
are available to these students, it is questionable
how well some freshmen can cope successfully
with the program and still get the basic math
equivalent to students in regular courses.
There has been much talk on the grading for
the Centennial Course which each student is re.
quired to take. In the six-hour credit course students
can discuss a variety of contemporary problems.
It would probably defeat the purpose of the course
and the college an educational experience based
on ideas and learning but not grades to give
either letter or honor-system grades. A pass-fail
system or simply giving six hours credit for the
Centennial Course would seem best.
Many persons outside the college think of
students in it as a group of highly-intellectual,
educated snobs. This is not the case. The students
in the college are just normal, ordinary persons
wanting to get a total type of experience out of
their college career. Other persons have said the
students in the college are becoming isolated from
the mainstream of campus activities. Beck denies
this, saying many of the students are already in
volved in University music organizations, drama
activities, athletics, fraternities and sororities.
Problems of the college are being worked on
by both students and faculty, and undoubtedly,
will be solved.
Fine start
The college is off to a fine start this semester.
The credit goes mainly to the hard work put in
by Beck and the other full-time teachers, Robert
Knoll, Jerry Petr and Phil Scribner.
Hopefully, the Centennial College will be ex
panded next year.
Open forum the campus expresses its opinions
Dear Editor:
Thanks for the coverage concerning the Human
Rights Committee. May I, however, clarify a few
misconceptions in that coverage. The "freedom of
choice" task-force committee will be dictated to
only by the concept of democratic self-determination.
For example, an individual will create a task
for the committee, and if the committee does not
reject the task, will, thus, lead the committee.
The direction of the committee is toward revol
utionary reforms.
Because the black community is a colony and
a caste and not a class, the ruling class cannot
liberate the black community except that class
exploitation (and. thus, the ruling class) be ended.
Because the working class has little self
determination and is exploited, the working class
cannot comprehend black demands that the black
caste-colony be self controlled. And, thus, the black
and white castes of the working class will continue
to fight each other and not the bosses.
Class exploitation needs to end for racist ex.
ploitatlon to end. With that in mind we will not
be working for "reforms" but for revolutionary
reorganization.
Reforms dealing with ending "black Inferiority"
(I.e. compensatory education, work training etc.)
are racist. The black culture Is denied.
Institutional racism does not discriminate hi
a direct way. A few mother-country imperialists
exploit the black colony directly. And, thus, a
change in the colonial structure will not do (i.e.
white dirty workers for black dirty workers). An
Individual class change within the caste need not
be a change for the caste
Universities especially are racist because
universities indirectly continue caste dominance in
continuing to reinforce the ruling class.
And, if I, in doing nothing, continue racism,
I continue to be a racist.
Phil Medculf, chairman
ASl N Human Rights Committee
COLUMN REPLY
Dear Editor:
In the "Outside the Tower" column of Friday,
RAPPING
at
random
. . Ron Alexander
If I were founding a University I would
found fint a smoking room; Ihen when
I had a little more money In hand I would
found a dormitory; then after that , . .
; a decent reading room and a library. After
that If I still had more money that I couldn't
use I would hire a professor and get some
textbooks."
Stephen Leacock
(186M944)
Stephen Leacock's university is a different
place than most of us are used to. Typically
a university can be seen as an educational af
termath of high school. Going to college is In
Itself an achievement, with graduation guaranteeing
a certain success.
High school being the unhappy experience K
usually is, lacking significant challenges other than
simple perseverance for most students, students
come to the university with a poor concept of
education or a university.
Means becomes end
' Depending upon how dedicated he is to his
goal or the goal his parents have instilled In him.
that goal being to get a college education, the
typical student is willing to let the university con
tinue the high school education pattern, a pattern
In which teacher shares with student his stock
af found truths. The main difference from high
School is that the student lives away from home.
But then the student begins to hear things
like Aristotle's cliche about the Importance of
understanding oneself, and the student agrees that
It sounds like a worthy goal.
Then some professor conveys the importance
of understanding other people; another suggests
that it's important to understand one's society and
its origins or history. Another relates the Im
portance of appreciating other cultures and their
workings.
After a period of time ranging from one to
four years the student has taken these varied goats
to heart, he has pondered the goals, their
significance and has begun to evaluate the job
the university has done to attain these goals.
Just what opportunities does a university com
mualty present in terms of helping a person un
derstand himself, other people, bis culture, other
cultures, today and tomorrow?
One of the most accessible but often
unrecognized opportunities to learn about people
and to change or understand yourself occurs outside
the regular routine of activities.
Living as learning
The group you live with, be it selected in
a house or random in a dorm, most directly affect
you. Your fellows confront you with their morals,
their social standards and their thousand stands
on a thousand issues. Hull sessions cover topics
like sexual altitudes, religion, and polities. Bull
sessions are a source of vast information, are great
socUlizers; they often result in participants
rehashing personal thoughts and rejecting clearly
held, but indefensible, beliefs.
Majors change, attitudes chauge, and professors
are left out of the change process. The living
values of a friend are much more real than the
class-room morality from the tectum.
Unfortunately the classroom experience can
become an educational tragedy, especially if it
is a required course, a course taught by a reluctant
professor or In a restrictive format.
Classroom tragedy
Lost In these reatities is the essential op
portunity to stimulate. Stimulation depends a great
deal on participation. Participation requires an
honest opportunity to relate the material to present
events, or to personal experiences; It relies on
opportunity to personally challenge the great
theories In an informal fashion, to have an op
portunity to share personal thoughts
It often seems as If the university community
which presents Us courses and the students who
participate in them don't realize that In twenty
years our environment may be wholly changed,
that today's Solutions will not be adequate for
tomorrow's problems.
We must appreciate the fact that today's pro
blenis may be irrelevant m comparison to those
unknown and jet to arise, except as history.
to arrive at responsible answers we must be
ready lo abandon outdated explanations and mode,
is. We must be prepared to rationally innovate.
Does our university prepare us for tiiis? Alas,
there is no one to ask the question.
September 19, the writers attack a group they
identify as "relevantlsts," apparently lumping
together under this rubric all of those who find
"traditional liberal education" something less than
adequate.
"On the surface," they write, "the preachers
of relevancy aim at social problems and their
solution, but in practice they seek to remove those
curriculum requirements which can produce the
well-rounded individuals capable of giving con.
tinuity and real progress to society." The latter
part of their assertion is most interesting, for it
illicitly presupposes that the traditional liberal cur
riculum did, in fact, produce such individuals.
No evidence Is offered to support this
generalization, nor have the writers produced
arguments for It. Needless to say, they have thus
begged the question, for it Is precisely the validity
of the traditional education that Is at Issue.
When one attacks a position, it Is, I take tt,
proper procedure to identify the proponents of the
position and then to state it as accurately as possi
ble. But the only person the writers name In con
nection with the "relevantist" view is that perennial
whipping boy of all critics of education, of whatever
persuasion, John Dewey. They do not specifically
say that Dewey took the position In question, but
they make it quite clear that he is the course
of it.
And whut Is the position they attack and at
tribute (however Indirectly) to Dewey?
Briefly, as the writers see it, the "relevantist,
position is that education should concern itself with
whatever the students happen to be Interested in
at the moment.
Now Dewey did. Indeed, address himself to
this view of education in a number of places,
but when he did, he sounded much different than
the position described by the writers of the column.
For Instance: "Interests In reality are but at
titudes toward possible experiences; they are not
achievements; their worth is La the leverage they
afford, not in the accomplishment they represent
... The child cannot be expected 'to develop'
this or that fact or truth out of his own mind
. . . Nothing can be developed from nothing; nothing
but the crude can be developed from the crude
and this is surely what happens when we throw
the child back upon his achieved self as a finality,
and invite him to spin new truths of nature or
conduct out of that." (The Child and the Cur
riculum: University of Chicago Press, 1902, pp.
20-24.)
This is hardly the position of one who
determines the desirability of a course on the basis
of "Is it what everyone's talking about?"
Since Dewey, then, Is not a proponent of the
view described la the article, since (la fact) he
actively opposed it, it Is hard to see now he could
be a source of It.
Further, since Dewey is the only name men
tioned in connection with the "relevantist" view,
one wonders if it is a view that anyone takes
at all. I cannot recall having heard anyone argue
along the lines described.
If, in fact, no one csa be accused of taking
the position described In the article, then one caa
only congratulate the writers of it for their achieve
ment in having put a straw man in his place, for the
remainder of the article i.e that portion not
specifically criticizing "retevantists" - is burdened
only with the unwarranted assumption of the ef
ficacy of "traditional liberal education."
The article began with a quotation from Albert
Einstein, to the effect that a student possessing
only specialized knowledge but no sense of the
"beautiful and the morally good" is little better
than "a well-trained dog' not a "harmoniously
developed person" at all. One might suggest that
it is precisely the production of "well-trained dogs"
that brought traditional liberal education under lira
in the first place.
Alan II. Eder
i