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der 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.
One of the greatest debates in all history was that conducted in the Virginia Convention of 1788 on the ratification of the Constitutiona debate that has been so faithfully and and so interestingly portrayed in Beveridge's 4-volume Life of John Marshall. All members of the Virginia convention were looking for a method of forming a more perfect union. The only question was whether the Constitution as framed by one of the convention's own members, James Madison, would preserve the rights of the States and the principles of local self-government, or would gradually allow all power to be concentrated in the Federal and Central Government.
Arrayed on the side for ratification of the Constitution were such great statesmen as James Madison, John Marshall, Edmund Pendleton, Edmund Randolph, George Wythe, Lighthorse Harry Lee, and Bushrod Washington. George Washington was not a member of the convention, but favored ratification and lent the weight of his influence for it through correspondence from Mount Vernon. Jefferson was in the then far-away Paris, as Minister to France, and was not involved in the debate at all.
Lined up on the side against ratification were equally great men, such as Patrick Henry, George Mason, author of the Bill of Rights, Benjamin Harrison, Richard Henry Lee, John Tyler, and James Monroe.
Never did any question of personal interest enter into the debate. Never was a debate conducted on a higher plane. Seldom, if ever, in all history have such great orators been arrayed against each other, and, although they were arrayed against each other they were motivated by one common purpose, and one purpose only, and that was what was best for the budding Nation. The only difference of opinion was that those for ratification believed that the Constitution would safeguard the interests of the people and preserve the principle of local self-government. Those against ratification believed that the Constitution would allow the governing power gradually to become concentrated in the Central Government and that this would eliminate the principle of local self-government, making the States mere satellites of the central body.
Were all those great debaters alive today, they would be on the same side fighting against the destruction of the dignity of the individual and the independence of the local community. But these high-principled men never even dreamed of a packed Supreme Court, or of the tyranny of the majority.
After the Constitution had been forged in the fire of patriotism, and had been hammered out on the anvil of statesmanship, it was felt that one of the best safeguards of the rights of the people was in the Senate, the members of which were not elected by popular vote, but by the legislatures of the respective sovereign States which formed the Union. Furthermore, the Senators were elected for 6-year terms and were supposed to form a check against the impulsiveness of the actions of the House, the Members of which were elected for only 2 years and were more subject to the varying whims of the people.
The Founding Fathers must have realized, in spite of their hope that our liberties would be enduring, that freedom must constantly be fought for in order to be maintained. They must have realized that impulse majority, in moments inspired by political expediency, rather than statesmanship, could become tyrannical and impose in
tolerable abuses on minorities not greatly inferior in number to the tyrannical majority.
It was doubtless this fear of tyrannical whims, no matter what motivated them, which caused the Senate to adopt the rule of unlimited debate, which it has followed for such a long period of time. There are some who say that unlimited debate thwarts the will of the majority. This has happened in only a few instances, and in those instances if the will of the majority had prevailed, it would have resulted in the suppression of the democratic rights of the minority. Which is more desirable, that the majority have their will, or that the minority have their liberties unsuppressed ?
No one will question the fact that one of the reasons why certain elements of both parties are now trying to change the Senate rules is to pass the so-called civil-rights bill. If this bill were passed, the effect would be that mentioned above, namely to give the majority their will and to deprive the minority of their freedom.
I do not believe that it can be truthfully said that any deserving person in this country is really denied his civil rights. George Washington felt that he was being denied his civil rights by George III. He fought to regain them and did. There are those in this country who think of their rights only, and nothing of their obligations. Reflect, if you please, what a different kind of citizen George Washington was. The same is true of all citizens with a sense of duty.
I do not believe that people are denied civil rights in this country because of race or color, but because of the way they act. If the actions of any citizen show a due regard for his obligations, his rights will be forthcoming with a will. Actions speak louder than words. There are among us a number of citizens who show such a vast disregard for their obligations as to make them unworthy of citizenship. This cannot be denied, it cannot be blinked, and no amount of sentimental or emotional oratory can make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. On the other hand, the facts should be faced, and every effort should be made to develop a sense of obligation in those citizens who do not have it, in the hope that one day they will be worthy citizens.
One gets a little tired of hearing the statement made that Negroes, by the action of white people, are forced to be second-class citizens. While there is some element of truth in this, it is certainly not the whole truth. There are many first-class Negro citizens. It is well known, however, that too large a proportion of that race must be categorized as third-, fourth-, or fifth-class citizens. If they could be raised to the level of second-class citizens, the entire country would be relieved and the politicians dismayed, because they would have lost one of their familiar vote-getting themes.
In closing, I wish to express the belief that the fairmindedness of our people will deny no man a role for which he has shown himself qualified. Those who are not qualified may become so if they have the will to apply themselves to the task.
I further believe that when the right of any man to stand up and speak his mind hinges on a majority vote of any group, then we have lost our democratic process. Then we can kiss democracy goodbye. That will be the time to look around for a good funeral orator, because when that happens, we will have had it.
Senator TALMADGE. Thank you.
Have you any questions, Senator Javits?
Senator TALMADGE. Dr. Koontz, thank you very much for coming and giving us your views.
The next witness is Mr. Thomas F. Cadwalader, attorney, Baltimore, Md.
You may proceed, Mr. Cadwalader.
STATEMENT OF THOMAS F. CADWALADER, ATTORNEY,
BALTIMORE, MD. Mr. CADWALADER. I represent no particular organization. I have been interested in governmental problems for a good many years, and have made some study of them.
Anyone who has studied the American Constitution and its origin, as set forth in the debates of its founders themselves, and in the Federalist, must be aware of the fact that the chief function and purpose of the Senate as an institution is to defend the rights and interests of the States, and more particularly of the small and weak States, against the large and populous ones. It was the then small States of New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Delaware that forced the compromise scheme of a Senate with equal suffrage of all the States as against a House with representation according to population. If this compromise had not carried against the vigorous protest of the big States, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts, the Convention would probably have broken up. Later, when the amending article was under debate, the same influences forced the adoption of the proviso which freezes the equality of States in the Senate beyond the possibility of repeal.
The Senate was therefore established expressly for the purpose of obstructing legislation hostile to minority interests, and especially to the smaller States. It was elected by the States' legislatures.
The 17th amendment changed the method of electing Senators from the legislatures to the voters of the several States. This gave to the mass vote of big cities the real choice of the Senators from the big States and some of the small States, incidentally—and the Senators from those States are chiefly answerable to the industrialized and urban centers, and tend to reflect their wishes. The small towns and rural parts of the country can hope to rely only on the Senators from the agricultural States, and these are getting fewer all the time.
The checks and balances by which the framers sought to restrain the excesses to which governments are always prone have therefore been much weakened in the National Legislature. At the same time, the legal and constitutional checks to be found normally in a judiciary sworn to support and defend the Constitution have become of little value. The reasons for this are perhaps more obscure, but the fact is quite obvious. Even if in some spheres such as the right of free speech it may appear that individuals are being amply protested by the courts, it is certainly true that individual rights to property, and the very basic right of local self-government, have suffered curtailment such as the framers never dreamed of.
The powers of government when exerted in the direction of collectivism are rarely, if ever, restrained by the Supreme Court, and