from anywhere, and I thus learned for the first time lhat
the blue chips were down.
This was much more serious than I had any idea. Here
were not defendants who were trying to be acquitted! I
really think that if they had tried the case along traditional
American lines it might have had a different result. I don't
know why, but they did not—they tried it along lines that
were invented somewhere else, somewhere outside of the
territorial limits of the United States of America. What
they were trying to do, instead of getting an acquittal, was
first to spread Communist propaganda. From morning 'til
night they were at it all the time—all the time—all the time.
I found as day after day went by that thc only alternative
was to break up the trial and thus demonstrate that American justice was unequal to the task of trying a Communist.
That is the way the blue chips were down and it was those
delegations that gave me the tipoff. That is when I started
tbat regime of mine that you read about.
I parceled out every minute of my day so that I did the
same things at the same lime every day. I got up at the
same lime. I went to bed al tbe same time, I ate my meals
at exactly lhe same hour every day. When I came up for my
lunch—you can wonder how I ate so many lamb chops and
spinach, but I had a lamp chop and spinach every single
day at the identical hour, and then I lav down for that nap,
II took me a little time to get used to it the first week, bul
pretty soon by doing it just exactly the same every day I
did get used to it. If you want to conserve energy, physical
energy and intellectual energy, that regime of doing the
same thing at the same time is the greatest way to conserve
energy that I think you can possibly find. After a week or
so I would lay down, go to sleep immediately, sleep there
for a certain; period of time and then wake up and gel back
to work and get down into the courtroom again. I kept
that up for the whole rest of that trial.
I want to get over to you in some way the efforts they
made to break up that trial. It is pretty hard for people to
L'reisp the ingenuity that these people have, ^ oil are all
familiar with the shouting out around in lhe courtroom
and accusing me of being a crook and accusing me of all
kinds of wrongdoing, lt is pretty hard for a judge to
stand there day after day and have lhat go on. knowing
thai if you start putting one of those lawyers in jail you
an- going to break up the rase, that it would lake months
of lime for some new lawyer to be put on the job who
would learn about thc case, and if you had a lawyer in jail
he certainly could nol advise his client any more.
And imposing a fine—why you can imagine those fellows over there in the Kremlin, vou can imagine the smiling
lie v would do at putting up a few dollars for the fellow
looking the judge in the eye and calling him a crook. Why,
Ihey would be al that from morning until night every clay.
They had a differenl line ihey started about every six
vvi'eks. One of these lines was accusing me right in open
Court of being a discriminator. The lawyers looked me right
in the eye and would say how 1 haled tbe Jews and how I
hated the Negroes, and bow the Jews were always supposed
to be- excluded from everything, and how the Negroes were
always supposed to be excluded from everv tiling emd all
this and thai. They kept at me all of the time in open court
about my being a discriminator and being disqualified and
all this and that. Bul what was happening outside the courtroom?
They got up handbills lhat described me as a monster sort
of discriminator, and they would take those handbills and
in the subways they would put them into people's pockets
when thev were not looking. A person woulel gel home and
put his bands in his pockets and there was one of those
handbills. Thev pul them in parked automobiles, particularly
in the more dilapidated kind of automobiles in the poorer
lections of the city. They were pushed under doors in apartment houses—so that, of course, dozens and dozens of those
came back to me. The people would write in and say. "What
is lhe matter with you, Judge? What have you got against
the Negroes? Why do you hate the Jews the way you do?"
Well, if in your soul you think it is wrong to discriminate
against people who are different—and then are told clay
after day that you are just the kind of person that you
would hate yourself to be, I tell you it hurts. You think
that other people will believe it. You wonder if maybe somewhere in your inner consciousness there is some truth in il.
You see these fellows are awfully shrewd, psychologically.
An honest person is never so awfully sure he is righl. Ib-
wonders—he wonders if there is something in it. Can il be
that I have fooled myself about this? That I feel as I think
I do, but maybe way down behind I am different—well, that
is the' sort of thing they did.
Then we came along to the big efforts to break up the
trial. The first of those, I think, chronologically, was one
day we had one of these defendants on the stand being cross-
examined and he was asked a question that was a perfectly
proper question on crosscxamination. It was objected to
on the ground that it was an infringement of his constitutional privilege not to testify against himself and thus incriminate himself. I said to the lawyer, "This man took the
witness stand in his own defense voluntarily. He did not
have to do that, and I think this is a proper question, lent I
am not going to lake a chance about it. I am going to think
about it overnight." I said to this witness. "Now, you talk
to your lawyers overnight about this and I will rule on it
in the morning, but I think this question is a proper question." We got back in the morning on the third day of
June, 1949, I will never forget, and wc started out.
The United States Attorney withdrew lhal question and
then he put another one lo him lhat was even clearer than
the first. It was objected to. I overruled the objection. After
I overruled the objection the witness then asserted his constitutional privilege. I overruled his constitutional privilege
and directed him to answer, and when he refused to answer
I said. "I sentence you to prison for thirty days for contempt of court or until you sooner purge yourself of contempt." I suppose that everybody in that courtroom vvilh
the exception of the lawyers for the government—clerks,
marshals, etc.—were Communist sympathizers. They would
get in there every day. They would get in lhe line about
eight o'clock in the morning, so when the doors opened
—Wide World Photo
Eleven top-ranking Communist leaders in the United States during
their conspiracy trial in New York City, October, 1949. Left to
right, front, are: Robert Thompson, 34; Henry Winston, 35; Eugene
Dennis, 44; Gus Hall. 39; and John Williamson, 46. Left to right,
rear, are: Jacob Stachel, 49; Irving Potash, 46; Carl Winter, 43;
Benjamin Davis, 46; John Gates, 36, and Gilbert Green, 43.
FACTS FORUM NEWS, October, 1955