Morris Raphael Cohen
A Scandalous Denial of Justice
Nullius liber homo capiatur . . . aut aliquo modo distruatur . . . nisi per legale judicium parium. . . .
--MAGNA CHARTA, SEC. 39
The legal systems of all modern civilized people recognize the fallibility of judges of first instance, and therefore make provision for appeal and review. And our judicial statistics show that in a high proportion of cases the rulings of the first court have in fact been declared erroneous. The denial of the right of appeal is, therefore, a denial of justice. Such a denial is all the more grievous if it is due to pressure from a political or hierarchical source interfering with the due course of judicial proceedings.
In a number of famous instances, such as the Dreyfus case, enlightened public conscience was properly outraged by the fact that the accused did not receive a fair trial. For on the fairness of judicial procedure depends that security against baseless charges which is indispensable for dignified civilized life. But in the case of Bertrand Russell an internationally honored teacher, scholar, and philosopher was foully condemned, branded as a criminal, and ignominiously deprived of his position as a professor by a proceeding which had not the barest resemblance to a trial.
The reader will find in The Harvard Law Review of May 1940 a brief but incisive legal critique of the irregularity of Judge McGeehan's