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most important and indeed very essential to free and democratic government to have one body where every great question could be fully and deliberately discussed.
Senator Lodge continues:
The Senate, I believe has never failed to act in any case of importance where a majority of the body really and genuinely desired to have action and the full opportunity for deliberation and discussion characteristic of the Senate has prevented much rash legislation born of the passion of an election struggle and has perfected still more that which ultimately found its way to the statute books.
And then he closes with these words:
The Members of the United States Senate have always cherished the freedom of debate which has existed in this Chamber. Senators have been reluctant to adopt any rule of cloture, and, even after the present rule was adopted in 1917, they have been reluctant to invoke it. Cloture is a gag rule. It shuts off debate. It forces all free and open discussion to come to an end. Such a practice destroys the deliberative function which is the very foundation for the existence of the Senate. It was the intent of the framers of the Federal Constitution to obtain from the upper Chamber of the Congress a different point of view from that secured in the House of Representatives. Thus the longer time, the more advanced age, the smaller number, the equal représentation of all States. Careful and thorough consideration of legislation is more often needed than the limitation of debate.
Gentlemen, Senator Lodge knew, even as we know, of the temptations and the pressures that present themselves. He knew that a party in control, perhaps at a given moment somewhat intoxicated with its new-found power or perhaps forgetful of the great responsibility of power, may be whipped on by pressure groups or spurred by political expediency to act without full and complete deliberation and mature consideration and do the very thing that George Washington warned us against.
I want to close with this quotation from the late Senator Charles McNary, who was not only a great Senator, much honored and beloved and esteemed by his colleagues as the leader of his party in the Senate, but who also was the vice-presidential nominee of his party in 1940. He said:
Every Republican except two were for the bill from sunrise to evening star and from evening star to sunrise in order to have the bill passed. But, Mr. President, I am not willing to give up the right of free speech and full and untrammeled opportunity for argument. That right is the last palladium. It is the last impregnable trench for those who may be oppressed or who are about to be oppressed. It may be the last barrier to tyranny.
Those who now press for this change, who would deny this free speech, may well be the first ones who will be in need of the protection of free speech.
We recall the words of Benjamin Franklin when he was asked what the Constitutional Convention had done. His answer was: “We have given you a republic, if you can keep it.”
Gentlemen, for 168 years we have kept this Republic. I am today pleading with you: Let us continue to keep it as it has existed and as we know it today with all its benefits and blessings for our people.
Senator TALMADGE. Thank you very much, Senator Hill, for your fine statement.
The next witness then is Mr. Bertrand L. Comparet, Citizens' Congressional Committee, San Diego, Calif.
Mr. Comparet, will you just have a seat there and proceed informally?
STATEMENT OF BERTRAND L. COMPARET, CITIZENS CONGRES
SIONAL COMMITTEE, SAN DIEGO, CALIF. Mr. COMPARET. Mr. Chairman, might I inquire first as to the matter of time limits on it? And if I do not have time for everything,
Senator TALMADGE. The time limit for each presentation has been set at 10 minutes for the remainder of the hearings. We want to be as courteous as we can to all witnesses. If some witnesses desire to go a few minutes over the time, I do not think either the Senator from New York or myself would object.
We would be happy to insert any pertinent material that you have, if you desire to do so, in the record, Mr. Comparet, in the event you do not have time to complete your testimony.
Mr. COMPARET. Yes, sir. I have turned over to Mr. West a copy of my complete statement. There will not be time to give all of it orally here.
Senator TALMADGE. If we do not get to all of it, it will be inserted in the record. Mr. COMPARET. Thank you, sir.
I want to register our opposition to these proposed amendments to rule XXII, because I believe that they represent a real threat to American liberty.
Now, my opinion, of course, means nothing unless I back it up by the reasons for it.
The situation has reached the point where the Senate of the United States is the one remaining guardian of the liberties of the American people; and the Senate's job historically, from the beginning, has not been to hastily rubberstamp all the unwise and sometimes vicious legislation that organized pressure groups try to jam through. The Senate's job has been to stop all bad legislation.
George Washington himself likened it to the matter of pouring your too-hot tea out of the cup into the saucer and giving it a chance to cool off.
And these proposed amendments are all an attempt to take away that, and to enable organized pressure groups to jam through vicious measures without time to expose what is wrong with them.
The fact is that the United States right now is actually undergoing revolution. We have been taught to think revolution is always a violent overthrow of the Government. It is not. Revolution is the substitution of a new political or social order by means other than the lawful and honest amendment of the Constitution.
And the Socialists have discovered that, although they cannot hope to succeed by violent revolution, they can have a revolution by subversion and hypocrisy. Their first method is the historic one of infiltration of the major parties and by the use of minority group pressures to appeal to the party, “Now, get a few more votes added to you by selling out the majority to get the votes of this minority group.” They infiltrate and take control of major parties—the historic method of the "tail wagging the dog."
They did it in England, and introduced some terribly vicious measures there. The English people woke up and turned the Labor Party out of office. The Socialists learned their lesson from that. They decided the thing to take over and infiltrate and corrupt or subvert was a group that cannot be turned out of office by the voters. In other
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words, if you can just subvert the Supreme Court, the subversion of the rest of the Constitution follows automatically.
There is no longer any hope, as there was in the past, that when vicious and unconstitutional measures once get by a legislative body you have a backstop in a Supreme Court which will correct those things. We might just as well face the issue on it. We have got to eventually. We might just as well be honest about it now.
The mere fact that a group of nine men almost entirely without judicial experience the Supreme Court Chief Justice has never been so much as a country justice of the peace trying $30 lawsuits before he was elevated to that position. A group of men appointed because of their political activity and appointed to continue their political activity under the guise of judicial decision.
Those men are undertaking to give us a new Constitution, created in their own image, and they are doing it under the guise of so-called interpretation—that interprets out and perverts the whole spirit of the Constitution.
Who are they kidding when they tell us that in more than a century and a half of our existence, during which the great giants of American legal history have sat on that bench, no one but the present little group of nine men ever understood what the Constitution was about? They know better than that.
When they can tell us, with no one legal authority cited—because every legal authority on the books is entirely against them—when they can throw all that out the window, when they can disturb the constitutional rights of the States that have been honored by their more honorable predecessors on the bench for two generations, when they can throw that out of the window with no authority save that of a more or less Communist alien, a man who may not have a technical membership in the party but who spouts its doctrines, a man who has said our American Constitution is, to use his own words, "a plot against the common people,” when with that as their only authority they can throw this out on the specious ground that "we cannot turn the clock back to 1896" in order to continue in force the decisions of their own Court previously made, what are you going to say when they make their next decision that they cannot turn the clock back to 1791, when we adopted the Bill of Rights, in order to keep the American constitutional liberties of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and the right to jury trial, and the rest of your Bill of Rights? That is what you are going to get next.
Now, I am a lawyer. I know that somebody has to lose every lawsuit. Í know that there are times when you have a close decision, and somebody has to make a decision. I do not have the idea that every decision I do not agree with is wrong or corrupt. I have long since learned better than that.
But, likewise, nobody can kid me when they take a sanctimonious air and subvert the Constitution and say, "Oh, this is nothing but interpretation.”. You cannot interpret contrary to its language and fool anybody who knows the law. And that is what they have done.
Now, the one guardian of the liberties of the American people remains the Senate. I do not have to tell Senators or Congressmen what pressures they are under constantly from these organized minority pressure groups. You all know just how many hours, probably, it has
been since you were last threatened with political reprisals if you do not vote for this measure or that which you knew was unwise and perhaps even vicious. Those things have jammed through evil legislation.
Now, it is against this that the public desperately needs that those particular legislators who are not vulnerable to that kind of pressure be left free to expose the inequities of these bills.
And there is where this gag-rule censorship would do its evil work. Whenever one of these things comes up supported by organized minority pressure groups, it is most necessary that those things be examined very carefully and very thoroughly. You have got to look into these things. Who are the forces, what are the motives.behind that kind of a bill? What advantage do its supporters seek to get by this bill? What effect is it going to have upon the rest of the country and upon those who have some reason to oppose it? What are the basic philosophies of government involved here? Is one side or the other seeking to go out of proper constitutional bounds?
All of those things need to be thoroughly dragged out into the light of day, and no man living can do that in 1 hour's time.
Now, of these particular bills or resolutions, Senate Resolution No. 21 would allow gag rule censorship to be applied by just 25 votes out of the 96 Senators—and even less if some of those present failed to vote, which may very well happen. Some of those present may be under a pairing agreement. Yet their presence counts to make up a quorum. Some of them may just not have the courage to stand up and be counted, and may not vote. So that even less than 25 votes can deny the American people the right to have these things dragged out into the light of day.
Senate Resolutions 17, 30, and 32 would impose this gag rule by only 33 votes—and, again, less if some if those present failed to vote.
Senate Resolutions 19 and 28, which are the least obnoxious of the lot, require a bare majority vote to apply a gag rule.
But I want to say this: When any proposed legislation is so vicious and unfair that 49 percent of the Senators are opposed to it, that is just the time when gag rule is most dangerous. That is the thing that needs to be thoroughly exposed until nobody votes on it in ignorance, until nobody can hide behind the statement, “Well, I didn't know; nobody brought that up before I voted.”
You are the only guardians left of the liberties of the American people.
The American Constitution and the laws made under it in the past have made us the greatest nation in the world. And the same people who are constantly making their slimy and slanderous attacks upon it are the very same ones who came here fleeing from the other nations of the world, coming here because this was the finest thing God has ever permitted to develop on this earth. They got here in every respect conditions superior to anything they had anywhere else.
But they come here and they crab and they quibble and they complain; and this does not suit them, and that does not suit them; and they want it changed.
Now, American constitutional liberties are not going to be lost by going awfully slow on making changes. We have had these liberties, and they have made us the greatest Nation that ever existed. It is the
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unwise change, the hasty change, under the drive of pressure groups, that threatens American liberty.
And there is now only one safeguard against it, and that is the thorough exposure of these things. When you apply gag-rule censorship, you have destroyed the last hope for the safety of the American people.
You Members of the Senate have to preserve your own liberties in order to preserve ours. And if for any reason of political expediency, to satisfy demands of noisy and threatening minority groups, you permit this liberty to be taken away, just remember this: When you permit the liberties of the American people to be taken away, your own liberties go with it. You are part of the Nation. You fare no better than it does.
When you allow minority group pressure to cause you to forge chains to bind other people's liberties, they fasten on your on wrists at the same time. The people who would destroy the
temple of American liberty by these means should remember that Samson himself perished when he pulled down a temple over him. Anybody who tries to undermine the structure of what we have can only involve himself in the common ruin of us all.
And I urge you do not permit any form of censorship.
Now, a great deal is said by those who are mostly uninformed on the subject about the terrible evils of so-called filibuster. Under the rule XXII just as it stands, the Senate has ample power to protect itself against any real abuse of the privilege of free debate on its floor. If there is a real abuse of it, party lines are not going to measure the vote. Senators rise above that when you get an instance of actual abuse of it. They can halt it any time under rule XXII.
But when you permit just those who are most vulnerable to pressure to be the ones to destroy the right of freedom of debate of the others, you do a grave disservice, not just to the Senate, but to the United States.
Senator TALMADGE. Any questions?
Senator Javits. Mr. Comparet, could you tell us a little bit about your organization, how big it is, where it is located ?
Mr. COMPARET. The Citizens' Congressional Committee
Senator TALMADGE. May I interrupt at this time? I have another meeting, and Senator Javits will act for the committee.
Mr. COMPARET. Yes, sir.
Senator TALMADGE. 'I beg to be excused, and my apologies to you, Mr. Comparet, and the remaining witnesses.
Mr. COMPARET. Thank you, sir. The Citizens' Congressional Committee is really a—I do not know what you would say is the correct word-subdivision or subsidiary of the Christian Nationalist Crusade.
Senator JAVITs. Who is the head of that?
Mr. COMPARET. Gerald L. K. Smith. It is a nationwide organization.
Senator Javits. What is your function with the Citizens' Congressional Committee?
Mr. COMPARET. I am attorney for the Christian Nationalist Crusade, and the Citizens' Congressional Committee, being a subdivision of that, I am its attorney.