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which would work out the details of reorganization as it appeals to these Councilmen who would be representative of the city, that changes should be made, so I would like to pursue that just a moment.
One problem that has bothered me always in thinking about homerule legislation or local suffrage or anything of that sort for the District of Columbia, is the constitutional problem we have with regard to the delegation of legislative powers. . .
I noticed that in your comment on this bill that at one point you spoke of a proposal to make emergency legislation immediately effective upon certification by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of the necessity for prompt taking effect of the legislative proposal. * Do you think that a certification by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House will overcome the constitutional bar to delegation of legislative powers?
Mr. WEST. To me it is extremely doubtful, though of course it is a debatable question, but I think it is very doubtful.
Senator CASE. Then with respect to section 402, in which you call attention to the fact that no provision is made for Congress to amend a legislative proposal, you would agree, or wouldn't you, that Congress, however, in considering a legislative proposal, might take that legislative proposal and embrace it in a bill which would carry additional provisions, and in exercise of its legislative function pass the legislative proposal with the so-called amendment.
Mr. WEST. There would be no question of that power.
Senator CASE. That is one Congress cannot bind another. If Congress tomorrow wanted to pass some additions to a legislative proposal, it certainly could do so. . Mr. WEST. There would be no question of that.
Senator CASE. With respect to the point that you brought up about the possibility that there would be hanging over every real-estate owner the threat of a substantial increase in his property taxes which might substantially affect property values, how would that differ from the present situation? Merely in the authority to create this bonded indebtedness?
Mr. WEST. That is the reason. You see, at the present time there is no authority for the District to borrow money. We have no bonded indebtedness. There is some money that has been borrowed from the Federal Government, but there is no bonded indebtedness. The District is really on a pay-as-you-go basis today. .
Senator CASE. With respect to any proposal for establishing any form of home rule, it is possible that a constitutional question would arise. Perhaps that is a little broad to put it that way, but any substantial home-rule proposal raises the question of possible constitutionality or unconstitutionality.
Do you have any constructive suggestions as to how we might meet this problem of getting a decision from the court or some test that would avoid this no man's land that you mentioned? You said that the citizen would not know under which law he was to proceed.
Mr. WEST. The Federal courts have no authority to render advisory opinions, so, until the controversy has arisen, the matter could not be presented to the court.
Senator CASE. Then with respect to almost any proposal we have that hazard.
Mr. WEST. That is true, though of course the Supreme Court hassaid that there was no question of the power of Congress to grant to the old legislative assembly which was created in 1871, all the powers . of a municipal nature.
I do not know whether you are familiar with the language granting power to the old legislative assembly under the act of 1871, and that says:
The legislative power of the District shall extend to all rightful subjects of legislation within said District consistent with the Constitution of the United States and the provisions of this Act, subject nevertheless to all the restrictions and limitations imposed upon States by the Tenth Section of the First Article of the Constitution of the United States, but all acts of the legislative assembly should at all times be subject to repeal or modification by the Congress of the United States, and nothing herein should be construed to deprive Congress of the power of legislation over said District in as ample manner as if this law had not been enacted.
Senator CASE. In other words, that would make the District of Columbia essentially a creature of the Congress in the same sense that an ordinary municipal corporation is a subdivision of a State government.
Mr. West. That is correct. In the case of Stoutenberg v. Hennick (129 U. S., p. 141), the Supreme Court in constructing this provision of law which I have just read you said:
But as the repository of the legislative power of the United States, Congress in creating the District of Columbia, a body corporate for municipal purposes, could only authorize it to exercise municipal powers, and this is all that Congress attempted to do.
Senator CASE. With respect to this meeting yesterday at which the Commissioners went over this, did you mean that all of the Commis- sioners were present yesterday? Mr. WEST. All three Commissioners were present. Senator CASE. That is all, Mr. Chairman. The CHAIRMAN. That is all. Thank you. (There was discussion off the record.)
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Philip Graham, publisher of the Washington Post, will you please proceed ? STATEMENT OF PHILIP GRAHAM, PUBLISHER,
WASHINGTON POST Mr. GRAHAM. I am Philip Graham, publisher of the Washington Post. While I have not read with a microscope Senate 656, for 5 years : I have been more or less preoccupied with the subject, and I would just like to talk about it in general terms, but I would be very ungracious if I failed to say how refreshing it was to hear the testimony of Commissioner Designate Jiggs Donohue, which I must say struck a note in these hearings to hear anybody about to assume the mantle so willing to throw it off if he could work himself out of a job, and I. thought it was fine and stirring testimony, and I think it will be chal-lenging to our town.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you not think it is also a manifestation of interest in the District of Columbia that the Commissioners have wholly failed to demonstrate in the past? Of course you do not have to answer that blunt question.
Mr. GRAHAM. Well, I was training for diplomacy when I said it was refreshing, Senator.
I think the colloquy prior to my testimony indicated the deep bipartisan support of this measure. I might point out that in my opinion it ought to be passed if for no other reason than it is one of the very few legislative proposals which are enthusiastically supported by both President Truman and Senator Taft, and, at a time when we are talking about more unity, this seems to me to be a very easy way to get a little unity. .
I think there are two basic reasons, to put it briefly, why this home rule is so important for the District of Columbia. One is a local thing, it affects us, and one is a national factor that affects those other Americans who have the right to vote.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you not think that it also has international consequences?
Mr. GRAHAM. Yes, sir; I do. Now the first basic reason, Senator, that hits me is this. Approximatley 1 out of every 200 Americans live in the District of Columbia, and yet though we talk about our democracy and building at the grass roots of home government and so on, yet those 1 out of every 200 Americans are denied that primary right of local suffrage, participation in their own grass-roots affairs, the schools, roads, sewers, zoning, and so on and so forth.
The second reason is that the growing complexity of the worldthis is a national reason-brings to you gentlemen in both Houses of the Congress more and more jobs of more and more difficulty and more and more onerous duties, and the original Congressional Reorganization Act pointed that out in urging that home rule be given to the District of Columbia.
The laborious and bipartisan study made by the Hoover Commission again pointed to this wastefulness of your talents in asking you to act ad interim as city councilmen and pass ordinances about the weight of rockfish or moving a couple of stone pillars or whether goats can graze on the lawn and so on.
And thirdly, if I may steal from you, I think there is an international reason. I think that wherever we have a little vacuum of lack of full citizenship in the competition that we are carrying on in the most dreadful tyranny that history has ever known, it is up to us to tidy that up. I think in the international scene I would like to say this, and then I will close and live up to my threat of brevity.
I read recently that the British Empire had extended the right of suffrage, home rule, to some primitive tribes in West Africa, whom they got to the voting booth by beating the tom-tom. I would like to assure you gentlemen that we are a little more advanced than that, and we would welcome equal treatment.
I think that is about all, sir. (There was discussion off the record.) Mr. GRAHAM. I agree with you that more civic interest is always better, but I think some of these arguments about lack of interest are a little specious. We have had two referenda here run I believe under the general auspices of the Board of Trade, which has not been the most notable enthusiast for the proposal of home rule, and both of them, if you compare the voting records with that in places where people are used to voting and have machines and people that drive in cars and take people to the precincts and so, in both of them the people are overwhelmingly for this, and showed a remarkable interest, considering the lack of any heat being used in going to the polling places, and the lack of formality with which the thing was run.
Secondly, we on our newspaper in 1946 and 1947 had some very careful public opinion samples done here. Our consultants were three of the best sociologists in the Government, the people that carry on the Federal Reserve consumer saving habits and so on, to check our methods, and in every instance we found overwhelming support for it.
I think in the first place this is a predominantly white-collar town. The people may not have some of the good old enthusiasm of some rousing political meetings I have been to in other areas, and they just are not used to it, and I think it is just their kind of idea of good demeanor, rather than any lack of interest, that keeps them from running up and down the hall and raising a lot of Cain.
Senator CASE. Mr. Graham, were you out at Uline Arena on the 5th of February at the Lincoln Day Dinner?
Mr. GRAHAM. No, sir; I was not.
Senator CASE. You should have been there. You would have seen a real demonstration of political enthusiasm in Washington.
Mr. GRAHAM. Yes, sir. Well, I think it was a very fine one. I saw the pictures and read about it.
The CHAIRMAN. Since you missed that one, you are invited to attend the Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner in April. Mr. GRAHAM. I think his price is a lot better though. [Laughter.]
The CHAIRMAN. We shall have so much real enthusiasm and so much real entertainment that you will consider the $100 admission fee the bargain price of a lifetime.
Senator Smith. May I ask you, Mr. Graham, the other day I made inquiry as to what number of people now vote in the District. As I understand it there are two ways they might vote. One is a lot of people go back home and vote who are here on Government business, and a great many others send in absentee ballots.'
Somebody handed me—not the person who is testifying, but someone else handed me—a slip of paper and said there were about 150,000 Democrats and 70,000 Republicans who voted by absentee ballot, which seemed to me quite large.
I was surprised, and then I was wondering how many people went back to vote, because I know a great many people do go back to North Carolina from here, but we are not very far away of course. Do you liave any figures on that? I was just interested in seeing what proportion of the District people vote compared to people in the other States where they have the right to vote right at hand.
Mr. GRAHAM. These are now what I would call hard facts. I was rereading the hearings that were held in 1949, last night, and a couple of people there talked about 200,000 absentee voters. We once did a
poll in about 1947, in which we asked people how many of them were registered and how many actually voted, and got a count that was much smaller than that. I forget the actual percent, but I think there is some element of self-interest in saying that "I voted absentee.”
As you know, sir, everybody in North Carolina voted for you, after you got in, and the same for every other Senator here, and I think people do not want to minimize how many are turning out here, but I think it is substantially less than that, but that is a guess..
Senator SMITH. It struck me that probably it would be less, but I was interested in seeing it.
Now in our State we have got something over 4,000,000 population, and we voted in a joint election about 550,000, I should say. Now I was wondering proportionately how many people in the District did or did not vote, getting to the point whether they really wanted to vote or not.
Mr. GRAHAM. I think that has another point of relevancy, if I may say so, sir, and that is that this bill, which after all is just voting for the city council-we cannot have anything more than that—also provides that if I live in Raleigh and am up here for a long time, I can vote for the city council here and I can go back to Raleigh and vote in the national elections, and I think somebody this morning questioned the wisdom of that.
A bunch of us have studied that angle quite a bit over the years, and I am profoundly for it for a variety of reasons. The main one is that there is no finer group of stable and literate and interested people in your community than many of the civil servants who have been here for years, come under the quota system, under the Civil Service quota system and intend to go back to Raleigh or Pasadena or Wichita Falls or what have you when they are 65.
Yet they live here, they may educate their children, may have the deepest civic and cultural interests in our city, and I think they would make a marvelous addition to the electorate, and that you might have some sort of an unbalanced and half-representative electorate without them.
It has been tried I understand out in a little town in Maryland. I think the reason they tried it is because without it there would not have been a whole lot of people to vote, and they found it workable.
Senator SMITH. In other words, if you are going to give the people who really live here most of the time a chance to express themselves, you have got to have that sort of an arrangement ?
Mr. GRAHAM. It seems to me so, sir. I think 38 States, probably more now, the attorneys general have written that there is no doubt about its constitutionality as far as their States are concerned.
Senator SMITH. It would not disenfranchise them in their own State?
Mr. GRAHAM. It was 38 at the last count, the last count which I remember, and it is probably a year or two ago. It is more than that now I would say.
The CHAIRMAN. Anything further, Senator?