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UPDATED: Tue., May 16, 2017, 10:03 a.m.

Past opinions provide perspective

Looking Back reviews opinions published in The Spokesman-Review during this week in history.

Brown v. Board of Education, May 18, 1954

An S-R editorial responded to the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling that called for the desegregation of schools.

“The decision will have virtually no effect locally in this area because there are no such state laws which require separate schools for Negroes or any other persons not of the white race. Yet the ruling is bound to result in wide social, economic and political changes in the southern states during the next generation.

“Numerous southern lawmakers and state officials are disappointed and disturbed over the decision which, actually, is the only one that the Supreme Court could have made in view of the wording of the Constitution and its legally adopted amendments. It was a clear-cut case which revealed the long-standing violations of the federal constitution by the individual states.”

Watergate prosecutor, May 20, 1973

An S-R editorial praised the selection of Archibald Cox as the special prosecutor for the Watergate scandal.

“The record of Archibald Cox commends him for the job of special Watergate prosecutor, for which he has been chosen by Attorney General-Designate Elliott L. Richardson. His legal credentials are excellent. He is a professor of law at Harvard, the author of books on the law and has served the government on several occasions.

“ Those periods of government service fell within the administrations of Democratic presidents for the most part. While this may prove much about his political outlook, at least it suggests that he not a partisan of Republicanism. Under the circumstances it is best that whatever political coloration the prosecutor has be Democratic rather than Republican.”

U-2 spy plane, May 17, 1960

An S-R editorial responded to Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev canceling a summit conference in Paris because the U.S. president wouldn’t apologize for the U-2 spy plane incident.

“With admirable restraint and with firm conviction in the rightness of the American position, President Eisenhower refused to surrender to the Krushchev demands.

“The president made it clear that he was more than willing to discuss the issues which had brought him to the summit conference. He was supported by Prime Minister Macmillan and President de Gaulle in the varied attempts to get the conference going. The British and French heads of state performed diligently and anxiously and did what they could to prevent the failure which all have now acknowledged.

“Yet it was Krushchev himself, and possibly those within the communist camp who he feared, who are responsible for this grave fiasco.”

It continued: “All praise is due President Eisenhower for refusing to back down, to admit that one act of airplane espionage is more nefarious than the whole series of proven cases of communist spying, infiltration and subversion that has been going on in this country and in other noncommunist states for many a year.”

Corrected to reflect correct date of U-2 incident.

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