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The Greatest Tribunal in the World

Condensed from The Mentor (July, '26)

Mary Mayo Crenshaw

NCE upon a time a man from the

far, tar West came to Washing ton and started out on a sightseeing tour. When he entered the Capitol and was halfway between the Senate and the House he saw people turning in at a door. Lighted cigar in I mouth, he started to do likewise.

A long brown hand was laid forcibly on his arm and a low but concentrated voice declared, "Boss, you cyant go in here wid dat in yo' mouf. Hit would be contempt ub co't.”

"Contempt of cote?" queried the prairie dweller. "Now what's that?"

"Hmmm, right here dat's some contempt," came the mysterious whisper. "Dis here's de Supreme Co't ub de United States, and dere ain't no appeal fum hit. No, suh, no appeal-'cep'n hit be to Gawd."

He was at the august portal of the most powerful tribunal in the world, the court of last resort for our country, the heaven of legal ambition. These nine justices, chosen for their legal learning and virtues, wield a mighty power, for their decrees can nullify a mandate of the President, of Congress or of the people, simply by deciding that it is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court is the incarnate voice of the Constitution.

From October to June, every week-day save Saturday, or when in recess for special occasions, the court convenes. The ceremony is touched with a subdued but traditional splendor. The gavel falls just as the benign head of the Chief Justice appears in the door leading from the robing-room. Those present rise reverently and remain standing. A thrill passes through the chamber. The swallow-tailed court crier announces:

"The Honorable, the Supreme Court of the United States."

in their rustling silk robes. Foremost walks the presiding justice and behind him, in order of length of service, follow the eight associate justices. They mount the platform steps and take their places, assisted in so doing by little page boys. The genial Chief Justice bows to the right and left, and those present bow in return. One feels a strong desire to sing the "StarSpangled-Banner" or to say one's prayers; but does neither, for the sonorous voice of the crier is again lifted:

"Oyez, oyez, oyez! All persons having business with the Supreme Court of the United States are admonished to draw near and give their attention, for the court is now sitting."

A brief pause. Then: "God save the United States and this Honorable Court."

The attorneys at the bar and visitors resume their seats. The great court is in session.

The courtroom is semicircular, with arched ceiling. Along the straight side is the platform where, before the crimson curtain, are placed in a line the comfortable armchairs of the justices, with that of the Chief Justice in the center. He is a commanding figure as he sits there, our Chief Justice -the only man who has ever officiated on the east portico of the Capitol on the Fourth of March, in the two capacities as oath-taking President, bending to kiss the Bible, and as oathgiving Chief Justice, extending the Bible to be kissed.

Before the judges is the long bench on which are laid the records, briefs and papers of the first case to be considered. All such must be printed. In front of the platform, on a crimson carpet, stand the desks of the Attorney General, the Solicitor General and counsel and of the reporters. If you look

In they come, the nine justices, clad closely you will see a row of crossed

quill pens on each. These survive along with the snuffbox in the Senate. We still have English blood in our veins and hesitate to give up our old customs.

Around the semicircular wall of the chamber, between gray marble pilasters, are eight busts of former Chief Justices. There is Jay, the first Chief, appointed by Washington two days after he had signed the Judiciary Act. One remembers that Jay resigned after six years in order to undertake what he considered a higher dignity-the governorship of New York. A few years ago Hughes resigned from being governor of a far greater New York to become an associate justice of the Supreme Court. Other days, other ways!

There is Waite. Once, deeply ab scrbed in legal matters, he went down to take a train and discovered that he had brought no money with him. He explained to the ticket agent, "I am the Chief Justice of the United States."

"Strange," the disillusioned ticket agent sneered; "two claiming to be Cabinet officers have already asked me to pass 'em to-day. Those tales don't go here."

The trip was imperative and a later train would not answer the purpose. In despair Judge Waite turned to a barkeeper opposite the station. "Would you be willing to cash my check?" he began doubtfully.

"Sure," was the ready answer. “I've seen your picture many a time. You're the Chief Justice. Come right in."

Though their present quarters are constricted the justices have never encouraged the idea of change. For here they are among the sacred traditions of the great speakers who have made history in this room-Clay, Webster, John Randolph of Roanoke, too many to enumerate. It is told of Webster that his fame for eloquence had so preceded him that the clerk in his eagerness to hear him, forgot to swear him in, and that thus he was the only man who has pleaded before the court without taking the oath.

At two o'clock the justices retire for a half hour to partake of their midday meal, which 's served in the rob

ing-room. Each man has his body servant, one of whose duties it is to bring his master's lunch from the Sen. ate restaurant. There was a time, some twenty-five years ago, when the justices used to disappear one by one behind the curtain on the platform and eat while listening to evidence.

A rigid etiquette prevails in the Court observances, which are jealously guarded. It is preferred, though not insisted upon, that counsel wear black coats, and they usually appear in cutaways. A careless appearance would mean a tap on the shoulder and a notice to go home and dress properly. The silence of a cathedral prevails, save for the voice of the attorney arguing the case or an occasional question from the bench. From anyone but a justice a laugh is unknown. The court officials watch sharply to see that silence and order are maintained.

Scarcely less imposing than the jus. tices themselves are the colored attendants, who jealously hold their of fice until death, when it passes, not through rule but through custom, to their next of kin. An example of this was the late Eugene Brooks, who served the court for fifty years, beginning as a messenger and ending as head man in charge of the robing-room. When Brooks died the Chief Justice and some of the associates went to his funeral, and his place was given to his son. The devotion exhibited by the court's servants is most impressive.

So much for the court in its own bailiwick. As regards its position in the world of society General Washing ton settled that from the beginning when he announced at a state dinner in the executive mansion, "The Chief Justice of the United States will sit al my right hand.” The Supreme Cour takes precedence of Cabinet officers, ol senators and congressmen, of everyone in fact, except the President and Vice President.

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Here in this austere chamber the fig ures change but the spirit never. Here truly, is the home not of men chiefl but of principles and of ideals. Fo this is the citadel of tradition and o integrity.


Does Mussolini Mean War?

Condensed from The World's Work (August, '26)
Frederick Palmer

man since Napoleon has created such personal power over a nation as Mussolini possesses. Where will he lead that power? Is his talk of reestablishing the ancient Roman Empire only fervid propaganda to fire the spirit of his people? Or is there method in his Caesarian pose, the method of a very realistic preparedness, and behind it the imI pulse that may bring war?

Consider, first, industrial preparedness. Mussolini realized that if Italy would be great again she must be transformed into a beehive of coordi=nated industry. She must compete in the markets of the world. And today she has a rapidly increasing merchant marine that is surpassing that of France and Germany. The output of her shipyards will make her second - only to Britain in shipbuilding.

Italy lacks the coal mines of Britain and Germany, but she has water power in the Alps to exploit.

Nowhere in Italy must there be I waste motion, idleness. The dictator, who says the word and it is done, ordered a plan to end strikes. Labor and capital should each have its fair share, which should be fair because Mussolini had chosen the experts who would decide what was fair. Any one who disputed their decision should have to deal with the Black Shirts.

Industrial expansion is not only the salvation of overcrowded Italy, but it means more war power. Already, it is reported, Mussolini's plan of preparedness assures sufficient arsenals and munition factories and reserves of raw material to make her independent of imported munitions in case of


Mussolini has blooded the Italian Army-not to mention 200,000 trained Fascisti-with fresh ambition and zeal. He has reorganized it on expert

lines. Promotion awaits the energetic and able. The elderly and inefficient who now have no political influence, have been weeded out. There will be ten military schools. The pay of

officers is to be increased. Former socialist, Mussolini wants officers of a higher plane, an officers' caste. All this, and much else, follows the plan of the Prussian military machine.


The Navy is having the same overhauling. Powerful submarines being built; target practice and maneuvers are thorough, and failure penalized. The air program calls for a force second only to that of France by 1931. Today it is third in Europe.

Another supreme form of preparedness is the will that springs from the spirit of a people in a war fever. Consider what Mussolini has built into the Italian mind! He is a son of the people, passion of their passion in a passionate land. His organizing ability enabled him to take possession of a government by force. He is the exponent of force.

He be

Mussolini had imagination. came a people's imagination. He recalled to them that they had not always been under-dog. Once they had ruled the world. He summoned back the glory net only of the Caesars but also of the cities of the Renaissance. Italians have made a discovery which give them a partrician glow. They have an ancestry.

The Italian should again be the upper-dog if Italy followed Mussolini. He chastened an indolent bureaucracy, expelled the old time politicians, and brought order and discipline. He was giving proof. And when his guns flashed at Corfu in 1923, Italy saw that Mussolini had brought $10,000,000 in tribute home to Rome. More proof. Mussolini was the world's big man. He had taken the Kaiser's former

place in world headlines. As if by magic he had made Italy a great pow. er. He was "Il Duce" as Napoleon was "The Man." He won the same plaudits in speaking of his "iron hand" as the Kaiser won in speaking of his "mailed fist." One may well ask if Europe must always have a sabre rattler? Succeeding a line out of the dawn of history came Louis XIV, Frederick the Great, Napoleon I, Bismarck, Napoleon III, and then William II. Each brought on wars.

Each man of destiny has been a great actor, and knew how to personify racial ambition and character. Mussolini is the hero of the old aristocracy as well as of the masses. Any dissenters at present are held in line by fear and mass pressure. He reaches out to the Church to strengthen the sabre hand with religious zeal. His is the appeal of the Crusader as well as of the patriot. The combination makes a fanatic will and burning loyalty, and dwarfs dare giants' tasks.

When we consider the spoils of the World War, Italy, in a tactical sense, need not complain. Austria no longer threatens from the North, Germany is too distant to threaten: France checks her, as she checks France. What British guns at Gibraltar have been to the entrance of the Mediterranean, the Italian air force and submarines are now to the passage of the Mediterranean. Past the sole of the boot peninsula the British must go to Egypt, to Mesopotamia, to Suez, and to India; and past it France must go to Syria and to Madagascar.

Greece and her small islands are open booty to superior Italian forces. Near-by, Albania, which was once Roman, is easier prey. Beyond Greece is Turkey, also a part of Caesar's dominions. Italy encourages Rumania's friendship by making the loan that France refused. The other Balkan states may be kept preoccupied, and they have no more naval power than has Turkey to arrest the transport of Italian battalions on the Mediter


Under the Mussolini spell, the Itali

ans talk frankly of expansion by force. Such a state of mind may seem a grand travesty seven years after the World War; but it is sober realism to more than 40 millions of a great race galvanized by Mussolini indoctrination.

The "hero of Fiume," d'Annunzio, whom Mussolini made a Prince, holds that the Turkish Empire of old, Albania, and the eastern Mediterranean shores are Roman by right. He calls for the attack as the duty of Italy. But let us quote Mussolini himself, on his recent visit to Tripoli: "I declare to you that when these cannon thunder, it is really the voice of the fatherland that speaks. . We need land, for we are too numerous for our present territories."

Again, he spoke of his visit to Tripoli as "a manifestation of a nation that derives its blood from Rome and that shall carry Rome's triumphant and immortal fasces to every shore of the Afric sea. It is the hand of destiny that guides us back to our ancient possessions. No man can defy destiny, and above all, no man can resist our unshakable will." Bismarck with his "blood and iron" and the Kaiser with his "mailed fist" never used stronger language than does Mussolini.

Against this we may set his declaration that his imperialism has in view only the peaceful development of Italy. We may grant his sincerity in this respect as we granted that of Napoleon and Bismarck. Napoleon, placing the crown on his head, would stabilize Europe in a new hegemony centering around his throne. Mussolini, too, has given the promise of victory. Can he escape using his le gions for fulfillment?

Mussolini's censorship and control of the press only increase the dangers of his one-man power. In case of unrest or dissension war is always a unifying motive. Prepared modern armies and navies, with airplanes, strike swiftly Old established democracy may smile at Mussolini's Caesarian clowning, bu the prospect, to one who studies prece dents, is not pacific.


Is Our Oil Inexhaustible?

Condensed from the Scientific American (August, '26)

J. Bernard Walker

HE underlying trouble with the

Tpetroleum industry is that the law

of supply and demand, which governs all other industries, is inoperative in this. But we must not imagine that any monopoly exists. Far from it. Indeed, such keen competition exists that today it is becoming increasingly evident to the oil industry that, for the stabilization of the industry; for the placing of oil recovery upon a practical, scientific basis; for an equitable distribution of the oil based upon surface ownership; for the elimination of the present enormous waste, both of oil and capital; and, above all, for the maintenance at all times of a generous reserve of oil, it is necessary that what has come to be known as "unit operation" be established in the industry. In other words, cut-throat, grab-allyou-can competition must give way to mutually cooperative drilling.

Under the present methods, the work of oil recovery is being done on the principle of "first come, first served." As soon as a new well is brought in, there is an immediate rush to buy up the adjacent surface lands and drive down wells with all possible speed to tap the fruitful sands. More often than not, the free gas is allowed to go to waste; for it is the oil that the drillers are after. No effort is made to preserve the gas pressure, and consequently, only a fraction of the oil is recovered, leaving in the ground a vast amount that could have been brought to the surface if the wells had been properly spaced, as they would have been under a cooperative unit system, and if care had been taken to maintain the gas pressure at the highest possible limit.

Gas is the most important agency in the recovery of oil. From the first

rush of the giant geyser to the last barrel that is brought up by pumping, it is gas pressure and gas pressure alone that is the great expelling agent.

The oil is distributed in the microscopically small interstices of the rock sands. It is under enormous pressure and the pressure is maintained because of the strata of gas-tight rock which lie above and below the sands. A proportion, in some cases a large proportion of the gas is free, but the greater part is condensed in the oil. Under present methods, little or no care is taken to conserve the gas, and therefore the pressure, in the sands. As the gas escapes, the ability of the remaining gas to expel the oil falls rapidly. Furthermore, the gas condensed in the oil renders it more fluid. Oil may be so rich in gas as to be as fluid as gasoline. In this condition, it can be forced freely out of the sands; but as the gas escapes, the oil thickens and flows with increasing reluctance. Hence it is that, under the present wild methods of operation, after the first great rush and escape of gas and oil, the yield dies away so rapidly that, when the last barrel of oil that it pays to lift has been pumped, 80 per cent of the oil remains gummed up, as it were, in the sands.

Even with unit operation, it is doubtful whether the recovery by drilling and pumping could be much more than doubled. It is probable that 50 per cent of the oil would still remain below ground. Hence, a great deal of thought has been given to the problem of recovering the oil by some more effective method, and the most promising plan is that known as the Ranney Process. Realizing that gas pressure is the great expelling agent, Mr. Ranney's system seeks to maintain this

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