[Chattanooga Times, 3/21/1906, quoting the New York Times]
Justices Say They Mean to Use Radical Means to Vindicate Their Authority.
Special to The Chattanooga Times

New York, March 20, --The New York Times in a special dispatch from Washington will say tomorrow:

"The open defiance of the supreme court of the United States of the mob that lynched the Negro, Ed Johnson, last night has no parallel in the history of the court.

The event has shocked the members of the court beyond anything that has ever happened in their experience, on the bench.  They have me the twos and threes today and discussed the matter, and the course to be taken to vindicate the power and authority of the court.  No justice can say what will be done.  All, however, agree in saying that the sanctity of the supreme court shall be upheld if the power resides in the court and the government to accomplish such a vindication of the majesty of the law.

The supreme court took a recess for two weeks and it may be decided to wait until the meeting of the full bench before taking steps to bring the violators of law to justice.  There will be consultations with the attorney general, and it is expected that they will take up the matter through the United States district judge for the Eastern district of Tennessee.  Proceedings may be begun to ascertain the identity of the men who engaged in the lynching of the Negro.  The local feeling that beset the trial of Johnson may seriously interrupt the action of the federal authorities, but justices of the supreme court who were willing today to say anything about the matter expressed the belief that the men who murdered the prisoner will be punished for their act.

The possibility that a federal grand jury would not indict after the district attorney had found evidence sufficient to justify taking up the matter with the grand jury, was discussed by members of the court today, but that was not considered as an insuperable obstacle to ultimate vindication of the law.  “The fact was,” said one of the members of the supreme court tonight, “that Johnson was tried by a little better than mob law before the state court.  A juror arose in the box and demanded of the young woman who had been attacked if she was sure the defendant was the man who had committed the act and when she said she was not willing to swear that he was the juror, demanded that she should swear that he was the man, and he would get down out of the jury box and cut his heart out.  There was abundant proof that there was intimidation of witnesses and counsel and the reason why the court did not allow an appeal or a plea in abatement was the fear that if any such consideration was shown the mob would lynch the prisoner.  There was reason to believe that the man was innocent.  Some of the leading white people of the place gave money for his defense.  But be that as it may, whether guilty of innocent, he had the right to a fair trial, and the mandate of the supreme court has of the first time in the history of the county been openly defied by a community.”

There is reason to believe from some things that have been said that the president will take action under the recommendations of members of the court within the next twenty-four hours.  The crime committed is to be reached by summary process and as contempt but in the last instance the mob leaders are clearly to be charged with and tried for murder.  It is also said that all who participated in the lynching will be punished by heavy fines and also be put on trial for murder.

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