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Boss Hague
King Hanky-Panky of Jersey

Part 16

By Jack Alexander

Originally appeared in The Saturday Evening Post on October 26, 1940
Edited by GET NJ, COPYRIGHT 2002

When his own neck is concerned, Hague Is brazen in his sabotaging of democratic processes. He refused to respond in 1928 when the Case Committee called him, and was arrested for contempt. A learned Judge declared the committee unconstitutional. Subsequently, Hague was subpoenaed again and this time he responded. The reason for his change of heart was soon apparent. He used the hearing as a sounding board for a lengthy defense of his career. But when the committee began to inquire into the sources of wealth, he balked and was again arrested for contempt. This time the matter got up to the Court of Errors and Appeals, which happily agreed that the questions wars unconstitutional.

When the whopping Hudson County vote defeated State Senator Clee for the governorship In 1937, Clee alleged fraud. In high indignation, Hague cried,” Let me make this request, that you come Into Jersey City and open every box, so that you and your cohorts will be silenced forever. I am tired of these cowardly attacks and assaults that have been heaped on Jersey City and its people.”

Onward and Upward

The Assembly took Hague at his word, its Young Committee sending a delegation to the elections office in Jersey City. When the delegation got there, Hague had flounced of to Florida. The ballot boxes and registration books were sealed in a vault and cops stood before the steel door with their hands on their revolvers. For a while the committee considered asking for a posse comitatus and rushing the vault, but decided not to, fearing bloodshed. Instead, it resorted to the courts, with the customary result - “unconstitutional.” It is helpful, in this connection, to keep firmly in mind the facts that in New Jersey all judges are appointed by the governor and that most governors have owed their jobs to Hague.


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