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passage of legislation that, when the final history is written, will be termed the most destructive of civil rights ever enacted by the Congress.
I would like to say here, gentlemen, the 1949 hearings reveal that during the twenties when the Senate of the United States was composed, it was thought, primarily of representatives of big business, the greatest arguments made against change in the cloture rule came from the American Federation of Labor. Yet, now, labor is taking the other side.
There is perhaps no one who has followed to any extent the proceedings of the United States Senate who has not had at one time or another a feeling of disgust at the waste of time as a result of filibustering. The difficulty, however, is in deciding which filibuster is a waste of time and which serves a useful purpose. It is my firm conviction that in those cases where a filibuster has no merit, 64 United States Senators will be man enough to stand up and be counted for cloture.
In order to legally change the Federal-State relationship, twothirds of both Houses of the Congress and three-fourths of the State legislatures must approve such change by amendment. Opposition to legislative attempts to change the Federal-State relationship should not be silenced by less than two-thirds of the Senate.
During the past 25 years repeated efforts have been made in the Congress of the United States in effect to amend the Constitution through the passage of legislation aimed at the further weakening of the sovereignty of the individual States. It is essential, it seems to me, that we preserve the right of unlimited debate in this body to help, in some degree, stem this tide.
One of the great dangers in the country today is that militant vocal minority groups are able to exert great pressure on the Congress and secure the enactment of legislation not favored by the great majority of the people in the country and so often inimical to the best interest of the country as a whole.
I would like to say on that point something I don't have in my prepared statement. That is this:
There has been some talk here this morning about whether we believe in majority rule. I think it would serve a useful purpose if an analysis could be made of the support for the social legislation that has been passed in the last 20 years to see whether or not more than 15 or 20 percent of the people of this country were really behind it.
As you gentlemen well know, in the hearings before this group and hearings of this type in the past on civil rights, and things of that nature-most of the testimony at hearings before legislative committees have been from people that represent militant minority groups. They have paid representatives here in Washington that come to these hearings and testify in favor of legislation that changes the concept of government that our Founding Fathers had. I would like to say that I do not feel and the people of my State do not feel and I believe that the great majority of the people in this country do not feel—that the Federal Government owes the duty to the people to provide security from the cradle to the grave.
I think it was a disgusting spectacle at both of the national parties' conventions that so many of the speakers said there are still 20 per
cent of the people that are ill-housed and ill-fed and ill-clothed and the Federal Government--not the State government but the Federal Government has got to correct that.
Our country was not founded on the theory that it was the Federal Government, a central government, that should provide every man unlimited security. It is up to the individual; and that is what we believe in my State, that the individual has certain obligations himself and should not look to the Federal Government.
No one today is so naive as to believe that minority groups do not exert an influence far beyond their numerical strength.
Were it not for the right of unlimited debate, the dangers inherent in legislation so often sought by minority groups would never be brought home to the great bulk of the American people.
During the hearings before the House committee on the civil rights legislation the chairman indicated very early that further hearings were not necessary because everything had been said on the subject that could be said. In the course of my testimony before that committee I tried to point out that the hearings should be continued until the American people were awakened to the dangers in such legislation. Even though the same arguments may be used over and over-and I know you gentlemen get tired of listening to the same arguments; you are hearing the same argument over and over here this morning, but unlimited debate serves a useful purpose in bringing to the attention of the American people the evils inherent in legislation which seeks to destroy the sovereignty of the several States.
If the civil-rights legislation is debated enough in this Senate they have already started—if it is debated long enough, gentlemen, until the people of this country understand what is involved in it, there will be a resurgent demand from the people that the legislation be thrown out.
If the legislation is right, then there should certainly be 64 United States Senators who are willing to stand up and be counted for cloture. However, to permit a bare majority of the Senators to shut off the debate will prevent, in this case and perhaps many cases in the future, the American people from ever understanding the full impact of the proposed legislation, now and in the future, on their freedom and liberty.
While at the present time the great reformers are bent upon bringing about the millennium, they will, surely as the sun shines again, be faced another day with a majority bent upon destroying their freedom and liberty.
Failure of the Congress to enact legislation-I think this is important, gentlemen, that failure to enact legislation, however noble its purpose might be, can never be as bad as the enactment of oppressive legislation.
And we have heard a lot of argument that it will kill so much good legislation. I would like to know-and I do not know this, but I would like to know how much good legislation that has proven as time has gone on to be good has been prevented from being passed.
It may prevent the enactment of some good legislation, but if it serves to prevent the enactment of any bad legislation, then the right of unlimited debate will have served a useful purpose.
Twenty-three years ago when I was a student at William and Mary College in Virginia, the Honorable Josiah Bailey visited our campus and spoke at a convocation. Conversing with him at a luncheon on that occasion, I asked him if the filibuster should not be completely eliminated. Í shall never forget his reply to that question. He said that the United States Senate is the only place where a man may talk as long as he wants about anything that he wants and that this right should be preserved as a citadel against oppression.
I say to you gentlemen that when the Senators from 17 States believe that legislation before this body is inimical to the best interests of this country, strongly enough to conduct a filibuster against such legislation and no one likes to do that; that is a tax on the strength of dedicated men—then the legislation should not be enacted into law. If less than the Senators from 32 States are convinced that the legislation deserves to pass, it should fail. The failure of many pieces of good legislation to pass at a given time will not result in as much evil as the passage of one piece of bad legislation.
We hope, gentlemen, that this committee will recommend that no change be made in the present Senate rule XXII and that in this body, at least, men who are convinced of the soundness of their position may speak unshackled as to time.
Senator TALMADGE. Have you any questions, Senator?
Senator JAVITS. I just wondered, sir, whether you thought you were speaking for a militant minority of people.
Mr. GOODRICH. Sir, we are trying to organize a militant minority group. That is all I can say, because we are unrepresented as I see it now.
Senator TALMADGE. Mr. Goodrich, we appreciate very much your very fine statement. Thank you for coming.
The next witness is Mr. Frederick G. Cartwright, Englewood, N.J., representing the Englewood Anti-Communist League.
Proceed, Mr. Cartwright.
STATEMENT OF FREDERICK G. CARTWRIGHT, PRESIDENT,
ENGLEWOOD, N. J., ANTI-COMMUNIST LEAGUE
Mr. CARTWRIGHT. Gentlemen, I am gratified to be given the opportunity to appear before a United States Senate committee as a defender of the rights of dissent and free speech. I regret to say, however, that this legislative Chamber is fast becoming one of the few remaining bastions of freedom in this country where these freedoms still exist. And even this fortress is now under attack.
Yes, gentlemen, the avenues open to lovers of liberty are becoming more and more constricted.
You normally would look to the newspapers for enlightenment and freedom of expression. A sizable segment of the press, however, has closed its columns to anti-Communists. Furthermore, the publishers have used their publications to vilify patriots, hoping to discredit them so that they will be ignored. Whenever opposition to their un-American practices develops, the publishers piously spout about what they call freedom of the press.
The present attempt to change the cloture rule and thus strangulate free debate in the Senate either has been ignored by this section of the press, or distorted versions have been given to their readers. Many of the radio and TV networks also have participated in the blackout of news favorable to the defenders of unlimited debate. Small wonder then that many people are convinced that these so-called news mediums are nothing more than glorified transmission belts for Communist propaganda.
I bring this point up about the press because I believe that the small number of people in attendance at this hearing is a direct result of public ignorance of the dangers inherent in proposed legislation to amend rule No. XXII, and thus, shut off unlimited debate.
To continue, it has been suggested that proposals to muzzle free speech by limiting debate on the Senate floor are Communist inspired. That this is not an unwarranted conclusion is shown in the fact that many of the backers of the amendments to throttle free debate are organizations and individuals who have been closely identified with the Communist movement. Free speech does not exist in Russia, and certainly it will not exist in this Chamber if the RedFascist-supported bill is passed.
I might add it was with surprise that I noticed that Senator Wayne Morse, renowned for his use of the constitutional right of filibuster, is now alined with Communists, their fellow travelers, and other opponents of free speech in the attack on unlimited debate. The Senator sponsors Senate Resolution 21, a bill designed to permit a tiny minority of the Senate to suppress this freedom.
Proponents of the new amendments argue that under the present rule a minority can thwart the wishes of the majority and thus tie up important legislation. This argument is untrue. As it now stands, debate can be shut off by a vote of two-thirds of the Senate. What is wrong with that? It is an equitable solution; however, it does not satisfy the antifree debaters. They demand the rules be changes so unlimited debate can be stifled not by a majority of the Senate, but a minority.
If that isn't hypocrisy, I don't know what is.
Anyway, I am nonplussed by the sudden concern for majority rights now being displayed by the professional peddlers of democracy. I cannot recall any other instance where they have expressed such alarm. Usually they throw brickbats alleging that the rights of the minority are forever being trod upon. Furthermore, these peddlers in their tooth-and-nail fight against the reading of the Bible in the schools and the posting of the Ten Commandments in the classroom have not hesitated to ride roughshod over the wishes of the majority.
These paid champions of “brotherhood” and “integration” shout from the public podiums their love for minorities, but in the privacy of smokeroom and boudoir express only contempt for them.
It also has been my observation that when legislation is proposed that would curb Communist subversion against our country, the enemies of free debate protest that the curbing of the liberty of one group opens the door to the restraint of all. Why, then, does not their reasoning apply in this instance?
Anyway, why change the rules? As I have previously stated, and as you well know, the machinery presently exists for the imposition of cloture; all that is necessary, as I also have said, is a vote in favor by two-thirds of the Senate. This is fair and just, except, of course, to totalitarians who claim it is wrong for one minority to insist on free debate, but right for another minority to suppress it. I presume
this is what they call democracy. I would say it is a question of whose ox is being gored.
No, gentlemen, to stifle freedom of speech is to welcome unlimited and uncontrolled mob rule. No good legislation has ever failed because of prolonged debate, but some bad legislation has been stopped by it. It would be morally wrong to deny free speech in the future because of isolated incidents of abuse in the past.
The use of filibuster is perfectly legal and is a basic means of preserving a constitutional right when everything else fails. Therefore, it is imperative that no legislation be enacted now or at any time in the future that would restrict freedom of unlimited debate.
Senator TALMADGE. Thank you. We appreciate your appearing before us.
The next witness is Dr. Amos R. Koontz of Baltimore, Md.
Doctor, we are very happy to have you with us. I think this is the first time I have had the pleasure of seeing you since we served in New Zealand together.
STATEMENT OF DR. AMOS R. KOONTZ, BALTIMORE, MD. Dr. Koontz. Thank you, sir. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, my name is Amos R. Koontz. I am a surgeon in the private practice of surgery in Baltimore, and I am here representing nobody but myself. When Senator Talmadge was kind enough to ask me to testify before this subcommittee, I felt it was my duty as a citizen to do so, and I would like to say, before I read my prepared statement, that I am opposed to the proposed change that Senator Saltonstall recommended for this reason:
It sounds very reasonable on the face of it, but it must be remembered that two-thirds of those present and voting may be just a handful of Senators. A treaty requires the affirmative vote of two-thirds of those present with voting capacity, and treaties have been passed with only a handful of Senators present. The same thing might happen if the change proposed by Senator Saltonstall went into effect.
It can be seen that I am opposed to changing the rule, and I hope to give you my reasons for it in this statement.
When this Nation was formed, a new experiment in democracy was started. George III never had a more loyal subject than George Washington until he started to treat the future Father of our Country as a second-class Englishman. Washington would have none of it. It did not take him long to determine that the only way he could maintain his dignity and freedom was to break loose from the mother country. All the world knows that once he made this decision he was inflexible in his determination and unflagging in his efforts to secure our independence. He did this against tremendous odds and under the most discouraging circumstances. This is not the time to recite those circumstances.
It is the time, however, to remind you that once our independence was gained, the Founding Fathers, the framers of our Government, left no stone unturned to safeguard our liberties, so that they would be inherited by each succeeding generation unchanged and inviolate. To this end they labored long and debated freely.