The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK—The resignation of Justice Felix Frankfurter removes from the Supreme Court a man who, as the President said, has had a great influence on American law. Justice Frankfurter was known as "the great dissenter." I suspect the title was given to him because it was always a challenge to him to be sure that the minority viewpoint of the court should be fully covered.

When my husband appointed Justice Frankfurter, I think most of us thought of him as a liberal and saw him only in that role. It was a surprise, in the ensuing years, to find that his mind functioned more along the lines of carefully analyzing the legal aspects of the question at issue and of trying to foresee what any given decision would mean in the years to come. I believe this was a very good thing to have in the deliberations of the Supreme Court, and though I frequently disagreed with Justice Frankfurter I nevertheless have always admired and respected him.

Turning to the new appointment, I was very sorry to see the suggestion in some quarters that keeping a religious balance on the court required the designation of a Jewish successor. This seems to me a very unfortunate thing. The sooner we get away from the idea that we must have racial or religious balance or representation in our various agencies, particularly in such bodies as the courts, the better it will be for the unity of the nation. Appointments should be made on the basis of the qualifications of the individual, and it would be better for us if we never thought of race or religion when reviewing the capacities of the people to be appointed to office.

Although this question of balance was brought up in a number of newspapers, I think the appointment was made because Arthur Goldberg represents the character and capacities that the President wanted to see on the Supreme Court at the present time. I want to congratulate Secretary Goldberg on making an outstanding record in the Labor Department. I realize that the Supreme Court requires a discipline of mind that may perhaps be difficult to adjust to for someone who has not worked entirely along legal lines in the past few years, but I feel sure that Secretary Goldberg will bring to the Supreme Court valuable qualities of mind and heart. I congratulate him and wish him well in his new occupation.

For a long time I have wanted to mention something which I think particularly appropriate in the summer and autumn months. Like my husband, I have always been deeply interested in conservation in our land, as well as in recreational facilities where our people could enjoy the great out of doors, and we have worked to keep enough of the wild areas so that our heritage of pioneering will never be lost.

A few months ago I received a book called "All About Camping," written by W.K Merrill, who was for 32 years in the National Park Service before retiring three years ago. I remember him in the days when I visited our national parks and I can think of no one better suited to write a book that would be truly helpful to those who still have the longing to live in the open and to enjoy the feeling of real camping experience. I still remember with joy my nights under the stars in a sleeping bag high up in Yosemite Park. Nothing gives one quite the feeling of being close to nature, of being free, that waking up does and seeing the sunrise near the top of the mountains. Somehow you are nearer to "God and his heaven" and "All is right with the world". A jump into an ice cold lake, the smell of bacon cooking over an open fire and, if someone has been lucky, perhaps some trout will greet you for breakfast. Unless you have these experiences from time to time, particularly when you are young, I think you miss something necessary to the education of every young American.

This book on camping is full of information and of good advice. If you read it, you will enjoy yourself a great deal more on any trip you take. I recommend it to all those who need and love their trips in the great out of doors.


(Copyright, 1962, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • New York (N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, August 31, 1962

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.