JOHNSON TOLD CLARK APPOINTMENT DEPENDS ON FATHER'S RESIGNATION
MR. RUSSERT: A historical note, how it came to be that Justice Tom Clark retired from the Supreme Court at the relatively young age of 67. His departure was masterfully engineered by President Lyndon Baines Johnson himself. L.B.J. wanted the chance to appoint the first African-American to the Court, namely Thurgood Marshall. But there were no Court openings, so he cleverly set in motion a scheme to create one. You can hear L.B.J. laying the groundwork in this telephone conversation with Justice Clark's son, Ramsey, on January 25, 1967.
(Audiotape, January 25, 1967):
PRES. LYNDON JOHNSON: Do you think you could be attorney general with your daddy on the Court?
MR. RAMSEY CLARK: Well, I think that--I guess other people ought to judge that, really. I know as far as I'm personally concerned, that that would not affect my judgment. I don't think it would affect Dad's judgment. I'd hate to see Dad get off the Court. I think he's at the height of his judicial power...
PRES. JOHNSON: My judgment is that if you became attorney general, he'd have to leave the Court, for no other reason than the public appearance of the old man sitting on his boy's case and you tell me that the old man can judge it fairly when his own boy's sending them up?
MR. RUSSERT: Just four weeks later, Ramsey Clark was named attorney general of the United States, and as predicted, his father, Justice Tom Clark, announced his resignation from the Supreme Court that same day. L.B.J. then nominated Thurgood Marshall to fill the Clark vacancy, becoming the nation's first black Supreme Court justice.
It is clear that Johnson conditioned the appointment on his father's resignation. It is also clear Ramsey failed to say that price was too high. A man, who would step over his own father, would surely not hesitate to step over his country.
Let us also not forget that he headed a self-appointed tribunal, which charged the George H. Bush, J. Danforth Quayle, James Baker, Richard Cheney, William Webster, Colin Powell, Norman Schwarzkopf and Others to be Named with Crimes Against Peace, War Crimes, US with war crimes against Iraq in 1992.
In 1997, he argued the sanctions against Iraq were weapons of mass destruction.
Click for more on Mr. Clark.
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dave - 12/7/2005
ramsey clark is one of the few truly sane people in the public arena.
thank god for his wisdom and his courage!