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In our opinion, section 3 of Senate Resolution 30 is unconstitutoinal for the same reason that section 3 of rule XXII is unconstitutional, namely, because it attempts to subject the Senate of the present and all future Congresses to rule by the dead hand of the Senate of the 81st Congress, as it operated in adopting the Wherry-Hayden rule XXII on March 17, 1949. Ironically, the majority in the vote of 63 to 23 to adopt rule XXII was 1 vote less than the hurdle of 64 votes which it attempted to erect for all time to come.
But whatever happens in the 85th Congress, the fight will go on until actual majority rule is obtained. We were most encouraged by what happened at the opening of this Congress. Forty-one Senators are now on record in support of the proposition that the Senate of each new Congress has the right on opening day to take up its own rules and determine them for itself unfettered by the action of the Senate of previous Congresses. This compares with only 21 Senators who took this same position 4 years earlier. Furthermore, we now have the explicit ruling of Vice President Nixon, consistent with the earlier implicit position of Vice President Barkley, upholding “the right of a current majority of the Senate at the beginning of a new Congress to adopt its own rules.” We are confident that, at the opening of the 86th Congress in 1959, there will be a majority for this proposition and the principle will be established once and for all that the Senate of each succeeding Congress can and must adopt its own rules as does the House of Representatives. It will only take a switch of 7 votes to accomplish this result, much less than the switch between 1953 and 1957. With the Vice President supporting this position and with the increasing public awareness of the damaging effects of the filibuster, we believe this fight can and will be won in 1959. If it is not won in 1959, it will be won in 1961 or 1963 or however long it takes. The continuing fight for majority rule is one that can end only in success.
While these hearings are on the procedural matter of Senate rules, it is obviously unrealistic and impossible to confine them to the vacuum of procedure. We cannot exclude the great human reason for replacing the present veto power of a filibustering minority with majority rule.
Reality was let into the hearings early when witnesses opposed to any change in rule XXII announced in the same breath their opposition to civil-rights legislation. This was the position taken quite honestly and candidly by, for example, Mr. Tyre Taylor, general counsel of the Southern States Industrial Council.
I understand that witnesses have been asked to give the name of any Negro who has been denied a job because of his race or color. I hope that members of the committee will assemble the easily available factual information showing that every day millions of Negroes and members of other minority groups are discriminated against in employment opportunities and in upgrading and promotion because of their race, religion, color, national origin or ancestry.
Apparently it is again necessary to document the obvious, the daily tragedy and shame of our Nation that in the eyes of the world mock our preachments about democracy and human brotherhood and the dignity of man. I would refer those who seek such documentation to the Federal Commitee on Contract Compliance, of which Vice President Nixon is chairman, and which can produce facts, places, and dates about such discrimination.
Let them read the hearings of the Commitee on Constitutional Rights of the Senate Judiciary Committee, held earlier this year, the House Judiciary Commitee hearings of this year and of July 1955, and repeated hearings by the Senate Labor and Public Welfare Committee on the Humphrey-Ives bill for an effective Federal FEPC, going back to 1947.
Let them give particular attention to a 1952 Senate Labor and Public Welfare Committee Report on Employment and Economic Status of Negroes in the United States showing that nonwhite workers' family income averaged approximately half of that of white workers' families and that, because they are paid less, eat less, wear less and pay more for worse housing than white workers; nonwhite workers at age 20 can expect to die several years earlier than white workers. It would be interesting to have the Bureau of Labor Statistics bring its 1950 tables on working life up to date. We urge the committee to obtain these figures.
It is a notorious fact, which is becoming better known to the American people day by day, that we are not governed by majority rule but by minority rule;
that the lever of power used for minority rule is the filibuster; that the filibuster is legalized in the Senate of succeeding Congresses by acquiscence in the unconstitutional rule XXII; that rule XXII is, in New York Times Commentator Arthur Krock's accurate phrase, the gravedigger in the Senate which is the graveyard of civil-rights pledges and civil-rights legislation.
It is inevitable that the foolhardy attempt of March 17, 1949, to "nail the Senate's feet to the floor for a thousand years" is going to be undone and corrected sooner or later—and not much later. We have 7 Senate votes to go; 7 Senators must be persuaded or elected to support the ending of rule by fili. buster and to vote for the substitution of majority rule.
We urge your committee and the liberals in both parties to do their utmost to hasten the day when the Senate can adopt its own “Emancipation Proclamation" in the form of a new rule XXII that will permit the limitation of debate by the vote of a majority of those present and voting after a quorum call.
Mr. REUTHER. I appear here this morning in support of the establishment of majority rule in the proceedings of the United States Senate. We believe that the abolition of rule XXII is the most essential single step that the United States Senate should take in order to establish majority rule in its deliberations and in order to remove the more serious legislative roadblock that we think is impeding the passage of essential legislation as it relates to the achievements of the great promise and the great potential that American democracy offers.
We believe that the record of the United States Senate will show conclusively that rule XXII, which enables a minority to block the will of the majority, does represent the most serious threat to the proper functioning of the democratic process in the United States Senate.
We believe that a change is long overdue and that the Senate ought to take action at the earliest possible date to replace minority rule by procedures that will establish majority rule.
Now, the Automobile Workers Union has been concerned about this matter for some time. In 1951 I had the privilege of appearing before a subcommittee of the United States Senate, at which time these same questions were under discussion. Our union at that time filed a very comprehensive brief with the Senate subcommittee in which we dealt with the broad constitutional aspects of rule XXII.
We helped finance a very careful research into the constitutional background—what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they wrote the Constitution. There is no question about it that that research has demonstrated very conclusively that the Founding Fathers intended that the United States Senate would base its operation upon the principle of majority rule.
In that brief we showed that it was the intent of the Founding Fathers that when the United States Senate of each Congress convened and organized itself following each national election, a majority of Senators under the Constitution had the power and the authority and the responsibility for the establishment of the rules of procedure that would govern that session of the Senate. We showed that the concept of the Senate as a continuing body and the notion that an earlier Senate automatically binds future Senates do not reflect the intent of the people who wrote the Constitution.
Now, we have been given credit for having come up with this idea, but I would like to state, that while we did help, I think, refine this idea, we did not originate it. This idea that 49 Senators or a majority had the power at the beginning of each new session of the Senate to
write their own rules of procedure was an idea that was expressed by Senator Thomas Walsh, of Montana, many years ago, before UAW was ever conceived, when I was still in knee breeches, so that, while we have refined this idea, perhaps did more basic constitutional research than any other group, we did not originate the idea. It was originated and certainly presented much before we had come up with the idea.
Now, the positions that I wish to present to you this morning are not a matter of my personal attitude. They happen to be the position of the membership of my union, adopted in convention. I would like to put in the record, if I might, a copy of the resolution adopted between the period of April 7 and 12, 1957, by the more than 3,000 delegates participating in the last constitutional convention of the UAW.
Senator TALMADGE. Without objection, it is so ordered. (The relevant portion of the resolution referred to is as follows:) As an essential preliminary to the enactment of civil rights legislation, * * * we urge that the rules be so amended that the will of the Congress may not be stultified by a recalcitrant minority. Rule XXII should be changed to permit a majority of Senators present and voting to limit and close debate.
Mr. REUTHER. Now, at this convention, Mr. Chairman, we discussed many problems and I think the record of our convention will show that there was considerable debate and discussion as it related to the question of rule XXII, as it related to the broad question of civil rights and civil liberties, and after this discussion, this resolution was adopted by the unanimous action of the more than 3,000 delegates.
Similar action was taken by the last constitutional convention of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations representing roughly 15 million organized workers throughout America. They, too, are on record in opposition to rule XXII. They are in favor of replacing minority rule with majority rule in the United States Senate.
Now, it seems to me that we ought to discuss this question of majority rule and not get confused about such questions as: Is the majority attempting to deny the minority the right to full and democratic expression? This is not involved here. I would be unalterably opposed to any efforts to try to take away the right of full and free debate in the Halls of Congress, in any other aspect of American life.
But I think we need to understand clearly that debate in itself is not the end product of the democratic processes, that debate is a means to an end and that the end product must be democratic legislative action, and when debate is used unlimited in an effort to block the right of the majority to act, then that is an abuse of the democratic privilege of full debate.
In our own organization we have what we think to be one of the most democratic organizations in America. We enable the minority to debate every issue. Our rules of procedure provide that if there is a minority and majority report on any matter coming before the convention, there is equal time allocated to both the minority and the majority points of view and the proceedings of our last convention demonstrate very clearly that time after time, as chairman of that convention, I with great effort tried to find people who may have shared a minority point of view in order to provide them the opportunity of taking the floor and expressing their minority point of view.
But when the minority and the majority both have exercised the right of full and free debate, it is then the moral responsibility for the majority to act, because debate without action is debate without purpose.
Now, what is the purpose of free debate? The purpose of free debate between free men, whether it be in the halls of the United States Senate, whether it be in a trade-union congress, whether it be in any cther organization of free men, the purpose of debate is to explore the facts. It is to sharpen people's point of view so that greater understanding of the problem can reflect itself in a more rational and intelligent decision. That is the purpose of free and unlimited debate.
The purpose of free and unlimited debate is to expedite the democratic processes, to make them more responsible, to make them more intelligent; it is not the purpose of free debate to block the will of the niajority from translating its will into practical legislative action and legislative decision.
And so we believe—and we believe this sincerely, not as trade unionists, but as just free men and women who live in this great and wonderful democratic country of America—that when the abuse of unlimited debate by a minority is willfully and consciously and deliberately used as a technique by which to block the will and the ability of the majority to act, through the technique of a filibuster, that such an abuse of the unlimited right to debate is undemocratic, is unAmerican, and is essentially immoral; when one small group of people in a free society abuse the right to go on talking forever, not because they want to try to convince the other fellow that the merits of their position are superior to the merits of the other fellow's position, not because they want to put on the record essential facts upon which the decision ultimately should be made, but when the right of unlimited debate is abused merely as a technique to prevent the majority from acting, then that is an abuse of the democratic privilege and should not be tolerated. It should not be tolerated in our opinion, Mr. Chairman, because it violates the essential elements of what constitutes rational and sensible procedures that ought to govern the conduct of anyone participating within the framework of a free society, whether it be in the United States Senate or any place else.
That is why we believe that rule XXII betrays the fundamental democratic principles of majority rule. And I think that this question of majority rule is perhaps more important today than at any other period of American history.
We are in a life and death struggle with the forces, the ugly, evil, immoral forces of Communist tyranny. This means that America takes on, because we are the custodian of world freedom, tremendous new and challenging responsibilities. We can meet those responsibilities, we can meet the threat of Communist tyranny and we can win out, but we can do so only if the American Government through the legislative processes in the Senate and in the House of Representatives is sufficiently flexible in terms of majority rule to meet this challenge as the changing world situation thrusts this responsibility upon us as the strongest of the free nations of the world.
It is rather shocking that in 1957, at a time when this challenge is greater than ever before, we are still debating whether or not majority rule ought to prevail in the United States Senate. It seems to me that this is so simple, so basic, so fundamental a democratic truth that there should be no argument about the fact that the rules of the United States Senate ought to provide for free debate, debate that will facilitate the free exchange of ideas in the market place of the ideas, on the floor of the Senate, but after everyone has had the privilege of expressing their point of view and sharpening the issue, of putting the facts upon the record, then the minority having had that opportunity should not be permitted under the rules to block the majority from translating its will into legislative decision and legislative action.
And I think we need to keep in mind that the essential difference between a free society and a Communist society or some other form of totalitarian society is the fact that in a free society, government rests upon the will of the majority, and in a totalitarian society, regardless of what the symbols may be, authority is on a basis unrelated to the will of the majority. You cannot ignore that.
When you get a situation where the majority is unable to translate its will into effective action, then you negate the basic principle around which a free society has been organized. And that is what we think is involved here.
Now, this question of majority rule is not something new. If you go back into the early papers of Hamilton and the other people who were writing and developing and discussing their concepts of how our free society should be organized in the period when the Constitution was taking form, you will find that all of these papers—and this is precisely what we outline in great detail in this document that we submitted in 1951—you will find that there are no documents which will support the contention that the founding fathers thought a minority could block, should be able to block, the will of the majority.
There were five specific areas in which the founding fathers made specific exceptions. In every other case they expected the majority to make a decision, excepting in the case of where they provided for a two-thirds vote.
First, they provided that in the event of an effort to impeach, it required a two-thirds vote. That specifically is set forth in the Constitution.
With respect to the power of expulsion of a Member of Congress, that, too, is specifically set forth requiring more than a majority, a two-thirds majority.
Thirdly, the power of Congress to override a veto which maintaining this delicate balance between the executive, the legislative, and the judicial branches of Government which is the cornerstone of our democratic governmental structure. There, too, they said it required a two-thirds vote to override a veto.
Fourthly, there is the two-thirds vote required with respect to senatorial ratification of international treaties.
And fifthly, with respect to the initiation by Congress of proposals to amend the Constitution, it requires a two-thirds vote.
In all other actions it requires a simple majority, and if the founding fathers had intended that it required more than a simple majority for things other than these five specific matters outlined, then they