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This Day at Law

Tribunal established for Japan war criminals

On January 19, 1946, General Douglas MacArthur promulgated the Charter for the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, creating a court in Tokyo to try Japanese war criminals after World War II. Pursuant to Article 7 of the Charter, the Court's Rules of Procedure were set three months later. The judges and prosecutors represented the allied nations of the United States, U.S.S.R., China, Holland, Canada, France, New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, the Philippines, and India. Article 6 of the Charter divided the accused War Criminals into three classes. Class A war criminals were those guilty of crimes against peace. Class B war criminals were those found guilty of actual war crimes. The highest level war criminals fell into Class C for crimes against humanity. Court prosecutors indicted over 5,700 people in Japan for Class B and C War Crimes. When the tribunal's final judgment was issued two years later on November 1, 1948, 984 of the defendants were convicted and sentenced to death. 475 of them were convicted and sentenced to life in prison, while 2,944 received lesser prison terms. Finally, 1,297 Japanese defendants were either acquitted, not tried, or not sentenced.Many of Japanese defendants were indicted for their actions during the occupation of China. Read the indictment of Class A war criminals involved in the Rape of Nanking.

Nixon nominated Harrold Carswell to the US Supreme Court

On January 19, 1970, President Richard Nixon nominated Judge G. Harrold Carswell of the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to the US Supreme Court. The nomination became intensely controversial after a reporter discovered the text of a 1948 political campaign speech by Carswell in which he said "segregation of the races is proper." The Senate eventually rejected the nomination 51-45.-------------------AfterwordIn November 2004, a JURIST reader wrote with regard to this entry:You are factually correct. The speech is accurately quoted. But the most significant part of it wasn't that quote -- which, after all, reflected the law of the land through Brown v. Board of Education.The most significant part was Carswell's avowal of his "firm, vigorous belief in the principles of white supremacy." I recall this because I was the reporter who discovered the speech, in the basement of the Wilkinson County courthouse in Georgia, where it was preserved as lead story in The Irwinton Bulletin, a weekly Carswell edited, which was kept because it was the legal paper of record."Edward RoederRoeder later added: "just to ensure the accuracy of my quote from the speech -- including capitalization and punctuation -- let me check it. At the moment, I'm at the Library of Congress, a couple of blocks from my home where I have a photograph I took of the speech as printed in 1948 in the weekly newspaper.Another great quote spawned by that confirmation battle was by Sen. Judiciary Committee Ranking Republican Roman Hruska, in response to the charge that Carswell was "mediocre." Hruska famously told the cameras staked outside the hearing room:"Even if he was mediocre, there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers . . . They are entitled to a little representation, aren't they, and a little chance? We can't have all Brandeises and Cardozos and Frankfurters and stuff like that there."...One other aspect of that nomination might be worth noting. After Carswell's defeat, the seat went to Harry Blackmun. A year and a half later, he wrote Roe v. Wade," probably the most controversial and far-reaching SCOTUS decision since Brown."And finally:I found and reviewed my photo of Carswell's 1948 speech. First, it may be helpful to provide a bit of context for the part you quoted. The graf read, "I Am A Southerner By Ancestry, Birth, Training, Inclination, Belief And Practice. I Believe That Segregation Of The Races is Proper And The ONLY Practical And Correct Way Of Life In Our States."The first letter of each word is capitalized, the the word ONLY is in all caps.The "white supremacy" quote, two grafs later, is as strident: "I Yield To NO MAN, As A Fellow Candidate, Or As A Fellow Citizen, In The Firm Vigirous Belief In The Principles Of White Supremacy, And I Shall Always Be So Governed." Again, the first letter of each word is capitalized, and NO MAN is in all caps. "Vigorous" is misspelled in the newspaper.JURIST thanks Mr. Roeder for sharing his recollections - and his role in a fascinating snippet of Supreme Court history.

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