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Monday, August 29, 1983The Daily Tar Heel3D
upreme Court's hectic summer
Whirlwind of decision-making swept through bulk of major issues
After a particularly vigorous end to the
Supreme Court's nine-month term this sum
mer, Justice Paul Stevens rejected sugges
tions that the court meet year-round. "We
do more in that period than most other
government officials do in a year," he said.
The judicial flurry in question included a
decision to hold firm on abortion and
another vote that removed from Congress
the "legislative veto." The latter is a plus for
the White House, but the abortion ruling
marked another setback for the Reagan ad
ministration at the hands of the justices.
The most volatile of issues decided this
term by the court was its 6-3 decision in solid
support of a woman's right to choose. It ef
fectively overturned about two dozen state
laws that had put a variety of restrictions on
women seeking abortions. Now, for exam
ple, states may no longer require that all
second-trimester abortions take place in
hospitals or impose a 24-hour waiting period
before an abortion may be performed. Also
CIVIL WHITES COMMISSION
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struck down were rigid rules requiring that
minors obtain the consent of their parents
and required counseling designed o dis
Despite this affirmation of the 10-year-old
Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortions,
the justices' resolve in the matter appeared
to be weakening.
In his majority opinion, Justice Lewis
Powell noted that "arguments continued to
be made ... that we erred in interpreting
The two justices who originally opposed
Roe v. Wade, Byron White and William
Rehnquist, were joined by Sandra Day
O'Connor, who authored the strongly
worded dissent. In her view, "sound con
stitutional theory" could not rest on
"analytical framework that varies according
to the stages of pregnancy." She suggested
that, with the continuing ad-ances in
medical technology, it is only a qiu a
time until fetuses after the first three nn .uis
will be considered "viable." Could states
then forbid such early abortions? "The Roe
framework," O'Connor wrote, "is clearly
on a collision course with itself."
But as Powell made clear, adjustments
are one thing, reversal another. He em
phasized that the ruling was solidly based on
the foundation set a decade ago. "We
respect it today and reaffirm Roe v. Wade."
Earlier in the summer, the Supreme Court
reprimanded President Reagan for backing
Bob Jones University in its lawsuit against
the Internal Revenue Service. The court's
8-1 decision affirmed the IRS's right to deny
tax exemptions to two fundamentalist
schools Bob Jones University in Green
ville, S.C., and Goldsboro Christian Schools
that cite the Bible in justifying racial
The timing couldn't have been worse for
Reagan, who was already under fire for his
purge of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.
In his forceful majority opinion, Chief
Justice rWarren Burger suggested that
Reagan had stepped outside the broad social
consensus on civil rights when he pledged
support to Bob Jones University.
Legislative veto vetoed
The justices issued another important
decision, significantly reshaping the powers
of Congress and the president by declaring
the legislative veto unconstitutional.
. The legislative veto, first used in 1932, is a
slick parliamentary maneuver used by Con
gress to block any executive branch actions
with which it disagrees. It has permitted
Congressmen and senators to reach easy
consensus and pass broad-brush laws that
offend nobody. With the veto, Congress
could, if displeased, bounce the blank check
given to the various agencies. And that,
Burger said in the majority opinion,
amounts each time to a new piece of legisla
tion. The legislative veto gives a president
greater leeway, and thus greater power. In
response, critics contend, Congress will seek
even more power than it wielded before,
passing hundreds or thousands of narrow,
"There has been an enormous ceding of
power to people who are not elected," FTC
General Counsel John Carley said. "People
like us pass what amount to laws."
Doesn't pay to sue
The justices also responded to repeated
complaints about the high court's over
crowded docket. Citing a three-year-old rule
for the first time, five members of the court
ordered a former University of Nebraska
student to pay $500 for bringing a
"frivolous" appeal against the school.
Elmo C. Tatum, a middle-aged student
had been suing the school since 1981, alleg
ing various discrimination charges. Before
Tatum appealed to the Supreme Court,
federal trial and appeals judges had already
dismissed his suits.
. The penalty assessed Tatum for his
frivolity will benefit Nebraska. The award
will not only pay the school's attorney's fees
($64.50) but also Tatum's outstanding tui
tion and residence hall bills.
In other action, the justices tackled a
touchy search-and-seizure issue, and decided
to increase the ammunition of U.S.
Customs officials in their war against drug
smuggling. Law enforcement officials now
have the ability, despite Fourth Amendment
restrictions, to randomly search boats that
have access to the open seas.
The fall calendar
Even with the hustle-bustle decision
making and repeated attempts to reduce the
caseload, a Supreme Court's work is never
done. The justices face numerous tough
issues when court convenes again this fall.
Among the big ones:
Can newly hired minorities be kept
over senior whites during layoffs?
Is home videotaping legal or does it
violate copyright laws?
May evidence seized illegally but in
"good faith" be used in court?
May federal agents sweep through fac
tories to arrest illegal aliens?
Though the docket looms like Mount
Everest, relief appears in sight. The number
of appeals filed in the recent term was down
5 percent after years of steady increases.
Jeff Hiday, a junior journalism and
political science major from Charlotte, is
associate editor of The Daily Tar Heel.
THE SUPREME COURT POESNiT
THINK IftWRONGTO EXECUTE
A PRISONER DURING THE
i rX. I h-M
,WE JUST THINK OF
A symbol of j ustice
By KELL Y SIMMONS
When the N.C. Judicial Standards
Commission this month recommended the
removal of a Guilford County Superior
Court Judge, it chartered state history,
marking the first time a judge was asked to
step down. The judge was 14-year veteran
of the courts Charles Kivett; the charges:
sexual misconduct and an unethical rela
tionship with a Wilkes County bail bondsman.
During the weeklong trial in the state
court of appeals, the commission heard
testimony from 65 witnesses in total.
Throughout it all, Kivett maintained he'd
done nothing wrong.
But the commission disagreed. In
August, they ruled that the judge had put
his office in a disreputable position and
must step down.
According to testimony at the hearing,
recorded during the week of June 21-25,
Kivett and Wilkes County bail bondsman,
G.T. "Good Times" Johnson, first began
what the courts called an "unethical rela
tionship" in 1972. They had met outside
the Wilkes County courthouse and "hit it
off right away, Johnson said. They
began chasing women and partying
together, often at Johnson's cottage at
Lake Hickory. A place, both Johnson and
Kivett testified, that other judggcs were
known to frequent.
Johnson's testimony included a description
of how the two men once drove to a Hickory
massage parlor in a purple and lavender
Cadillac and paid two women $40 each for sex.
In other testimony, Kivett was charged
with approaching a prosecutor handling a
case against Johnson. He was accused of
changing court judgments at the whims of
the bail bondsman. Johnson added that
he's become known in several counties as
the man to see about traffic violations.
Johnson's testimony included a descrip
tion of how the two men once drove to a
Hickory massage parlor in a purple and
lavendar cadillac and paid two women $40
each for sex.
Charles of sexual misconduct against
Kivett are: that he accepted a guilty plea
from a woman he had sex with; that he
made sexual advances toward a Rowan
County probation officer; that he forced a
secretary to have oral sex with him; that he
had sex in his chambers with a woman
after court; and that he had sex with a
Aside from his "unethical" friendship
and his sexual misconduct, Kivett also was
charged with attempting to stop a grand
jury hearing in which he expected to be in
dicted in December 1982. Kivett admitted
to asking Judge Douglas Albright to stall
the investigation. Albright refused, calling
the move an obstruction of justice.
Throughout the investigation and the
myriad of charges other judges reported
that Kivett's professional ability was
beyond reproach. But one judge,
Hamilton H. Hobgood of Louisville,
called Kivett a "womanizer.""
Kivett's attorneys reportedly joked that
that was normal.
And in the end despite the
commission's ruling, Kivett maintained
that he had never violated his oath of of
fice, or the code of judicial conduct. He's
said he'll appeal the commission's decision
to the state Supreme Court which can
either accept it, reject it or change it to a
censure a public slap on the wrist.
Whatever the court's decision, it cannot
displace the advances made by the state
commission by carefully policing the
judicial system and exposing the possible
corruption. A superior court judge is the
highest symbol of justice; nothing less than
legal and ethical behavior should be ac
cepted on his part. If he is found guilty, he
should step down
Kelly Simmons, a junior journalism ma
jor from Reidsville, is an editorial writer
for The Daily Tar Heel.
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