Chicago Defender

Defeat Judge Feinberg

April 22, 1939

"Judge Michael Feinberg's decision in the Hansberry litigation will long be remembered as an injudicious blow to the Democratic rights of 15 million black Americans.

"The decision virtually resolved intself into an eviction notice to a citizen of the state of Illinois who had established his home in a residential district supposed to be covered by restrictive agreements.

"The implication of Judge Feinberg's remarks from the bench, when he handed down his decision, suggests unmistakably that members of the Race must be content to remain within a segregated black belt, without any right whatsoever to a free choice of location outside of a prescribed boundary.

"Moreover his langugae indicates deplorable retrogression of judician procedure which gives rise to serious apprehension as to his real character and intellectual honesty. When he said, 'I don't go where I'm not wanted,' he tainted the decision with a degree of malice and prejudice reflecting the notorious and obnoxious attitude of Chief Justice Roger B. Taney in the Dred Scott decision before the Civil War.

"The chief justice said, 'A Negro has no right that a white man is bound to rspect.' The Civil War, however, nullifed that infamous decree. Democratic processes have long since operated toward a complete dissolution of the intolerant sentiments that prompted so brazen a display of unrestrained judicial arrogance.

"Feinberg was elected as a judge, not as a Jew. When he projected, unnecessarily, racial feeling into his decision, he revealed himself lacking in appropriate judicial temperament.

"When he said, 'I don't go where I'm not wanted,' he raised his voice as a relentless advocate of Jim Crowism in spite of the fact that he is a judge sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States.

"Had he made the statement from a public rostrum, it would have been an independent utterance. When he made it from the bench it was a judicial utterance and became part of his decision.

"When he implied that ther was one law for one householder and a different law for another, depending upon racial identity and attributes, he became from that moment a menace not only to the black citizens but also to the Jewish people. Such a position is obviously a threat against orderly Democratic processes that made it possible for him to be elected judge.

"In the light of these revelations, THE CHICAGO DEFENDER is constrained, by virtue of its sacred obligation to the public, to denounce Michael Feinberg as a judge unworthy of the office he now holds.

"The voters of Chicago, of whatever creed or race, will distinguish themselves by defeating the narrow-minded, prejudiced Judge Feinberg at the coming judicial election in June."

This WWW page was created by Wendy Plotkin ( in 1998 and updated on 1 September 2003.