June 15, 1948, p.1, 2
High Court Rules Jail For Barsky, Fast
Bars Appeal of 11 Anti-Fascists
High Court Bars Anti-Fascist's Plea
WASHINGTON, June 15 - The United States Supreme Court today refused to hear appeals by 11 executive board members of the Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee against contempt of Congress convictions. In turning down the case, the high court upheld verdicts of six months in jail and $500 fine for Dr. Edward K. Barsky, chairman of the group, and three months in jail and $500 fine for novelist Howard Fast and nine others.
The only act which can now keep the 11 out of jail would be an order by President Truman in exercise of his power of executive clemency.
The 11, representatives of an organization smeared by Attorney General Tom Clark as "subversive," were cited and subsequently convicted for refusing to accede to the demand of the House Un-American Committee to turn over books and records of the organization. The Joint Anti-Fascist Committee's work has been to assist refugees from fascist Franco Spain.
In rejecting the case, the Supreme Court once again refused to rule on the constitutionality of the House Un-American Committee. The defendants had charged in their appeal that the House group's existence is unconstitutional and that its powers exceed any authorized by the federal constitution.
In addition to Barsky and Fast, the appellants included Dr. Jacob Auslander and Dr. Louis Miller, physicians; Dr. Lyman R. Bradley, NYU language professor; Mrs. Marjorie Chodorov, housewife; Harry M. Justiz and Ruth Leider, lawyers; James Lustig, international representative, United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers, CIO; Charlotte Stern and Manuel Magana, business man.
A widespread campaign of letters and telegrams to President Truman, urging immediate issuance of an order to bar jail terms for the 11 board members was urged yesterday by the Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee.
If Truman fails to act, a spokesman declared, it will mark the first time 11 Americans have been sent to jail for the crime of being anti-fascist.
A mass meeting will be held on June 2 at St. Nicolas Arena to mobilize public action for a Truman order.