On April 15, 1970, Ford took the Home ground and commenced a speech making the general public case towards Douglas. Sounding like he was studying from a binder of oppo analysis, the congressman highlighted a few of Douglas’ most provocative writings exterior the courtroom, similar to his guide, “Points of Rebellion.”

“Not too long ago, there has appeared on the stands a bit of black guide with the autograph, ‘William O. Douglas,’ scrawled on the quilt in pink,” Ford stated. “Its title is ‘Factors of Revolt’ and its thesis is that violence could also be justified and maybe solely revolutionary overthrow of ‘the institution’ can save the nation.

“The kindest factor I can say about this 97-page tome is that it’s fast studying. Had it been written by a militant sophomore, because it simply might, it could in fact have by no means discovered a status writer like Random Home. It’s a fuzzy harangue evidently meant to provide historic legitimacy to the militant hippie-yippie motion and to bear testimony {that a} 71-year-old Justice of the Supreme Court docket is one in spirit with them.”

In that guide, Douglas wrote: “We should understand that right this moment’s Institution is the brand new George III, Whether or not it is going to proceed to stick to his techniques, we have no idea. If it does, the redress, honored in custom, can be revolution.” (George III was the king of England when the American colonies declared their independence.)

Ford additionally castigated Douglas for writing — whereas on the Supreme Court docket —in magazines similar to Avant Garde, whose writer, Ralph Ginzburg, had been convicted in 1963 of violating federal obscenity legal guidelines.

“Once I first encountered the info of Mr. Justice Douglas’ involvement with pornographic publications and espousal of hippie-yippie model revolution, I used to be inclined to dismiss his fractious conduct as the primary signal of senility,” Ford stated. “However I consider I underestimated the justice.”

“In case there are any ‘sq.’ People who have been too silly to get the message Mr. Justice Douglas was attempting to inform us, he has now eliminated all attainable misunderstanding,” Ford added, citing Douglas’ writings for one more publication, Evergreen Evaluate. As Home members thumbed via copies of the risqué journal, Ford stated, “I’m merely unable to explain the prurient commercials, the perverted solutions, the downright filthy illustrations and the stunning and execrable four-letter language it employs.”

Ford argued that Douglas ought to have recused himself from Ginzburg’s enchantment of a $75,000 libel judgment gained by Sen. Barry Goldwater, courting again to a 1964 article in one other Ginzburg publication that had likened the then-GOP presidential candidate to Adolph Hitler. In January 1970, the Supreme Court docket denied Ginzburg’s request to assessment the judgment; Douglas was certainly one of two justices to dissent. Ford famous that Douglas had obtained $350 for his article in Avant Garde.

“Writing signed articles for infamous publications of a convicted pornographer is unhealthy sufficient. Taking cash from them is worse. Declining to disqualify one’s self on this case is inexcusable,” Ford charged.

And Ford elliptically referred to Douglas’ messy private life, together with his 4 marriages, the final two of which have been to girls of their early 20s when Douglas was in his 60s: “His non-public life, to the diploma that it doesn’t convey the Supreme Court docket into disrepute, is his personal enterprise. One doesn’t must be an ardent admirer of any decide or justice, or an advocate of his life-style, to acknowledge his proper to be elevated to or stay on the bench.”

As well as, Ford steered that the justice, who had been nominated to the courtroom by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939, may need ties to Mafia and playing figures. He known as for an investigation into Douglas’ conduct, including, “I’d vote to question him proper now.”

The following day, greater than 100 Home members endorsed a decision calling for the creation of a particular committee to analyze whether or not to question Douglas. Roughly half of the members who signed on have been Democrats, however they have been primarily conservatives from the South.

Ford’s assault towards the justice, leveled in notably private phrases, was out of character for the usually genial Midwestern lawmaker. And there was a motive for that: Ford was working on the behest of a way more bare-knuckle politician — Nixon, who was nonetheless seething at Democrats for rejecting his first two Supreme Court docket nominees.

The White Home denied any involvement within the anti-Douglas effort on the time. However William Saxbe, a Republican Ohio senator who went on to develop into Nixon’s final lawyer common, wrote in his memoir that Nixon had “sicced” Ford on Douglas “in retaliation and possibly in a match of pique” after shedding these votes.

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