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bad laws. I believe it was George Washington who used the famous illustration of the funetion of the Senate: That it was like pouring your too-hot tea from the cup into the saucer, to cool it off. No law should be passed until careful study has shown it to be not only wise but actually desired by the real majority. This cannot be done under gag-rule censorship. It requires the utmost freedom of debate. And it is just when minority group blackmail pressure is the strongest that it is most essential that the courageous Members should be left free to fight it.
All of the proposed amendments to standing rule XXII are bad. Resolution 21 would allow the gag rule to be applied by just 25 votes out of the 96 Senatorsand even less if some of those present failed to vote. Resolutions 17, 30, and 32 would impose gag rule by only 33 votes and even less if some present fail to vote. Resolutions 19 and 28 require a bare majority vote to apply gag rule. But when a law is so unfair that 49 percent of the Senators are opposed to it, that is just when gag rule is most dangerous. Such a law demands the most careful serutiny, the utmost freedom of debate. The forces and motives behind it, the advantages its supporters seek to gain by it, the effect it will have on those who oppose it, the clash of philosophies of government between the two groupsall these need to be explored fully. Its iniquities cannot be exposed in 1 hour's time by anyone.
The Senate already has the power, under rule XXII as it now stands, to protect itself against any abuse of the right of free speech on its floor. But if any of these proposed amendments are adopted, it will have lost the effective power to protect the Nation from the abuses of gag-rule censorship and the tyranny of pressure groups. The Senate is our last line of defense against the subversion of our liberties : This can be accomplished only by preventing passage of bad laws, not by looking to someone else to undo the damage you have done. If you let this defense fall, you will have proved unworthy of the trust placed in you by the American people. If you are ready to pull down the Temple of American Liberties, remember that Samson himself perished in the common downfall he created. If you destroy our liberties, how can you keep your own?
Senator Javits. W. L. Foster, United States Day Committee, Tulsa, Okla.
Mr. Foster, under the rules of the committee which we have had to adopt because of our problems with the length of hearings, we have, as the chairman said I think when you were here, expressed our desire to the witnesses to confine their oral statements to 10 minutes. But we are not overly strict on that.
I do notice your statement is quite long, so that we will leave it to you as to how you wish to present the matter. We will be glad to include anything you wish us to in the record as well as your oral statement.
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN LIBRARIES
STATEMENT OF W. L. FOSTER, UNITED STATES DAY COMMITTEE,
TULSA, OKLA. Mr. FOSTER. Mr. Chairman, I represent the United States Day Committee as national chairman. And I have no oral statement to make any further than to say that we are here in opposition to any limitation of debate in the Senate of the United States.
I have here with me our statement, which, as you say, is somewhat long. And I would like to read from that.
Senator Javits. Please go right ahead. Read as much as you feel you should
Mr. FOSTER. And we want to present that for the record and also the official resolution that was passed by the central committee of the United States Day Committee.
Senator JAVITs. You proceed in your own way.
Will you tell us first what the committee is and what its membership consists of, Mr. Foster?
Mr. FOSTER. United States Day Committee was organized in Tulsa in 1953 for the purpose of promoting Americanism. The local membership, of the central committee, is composed of some 30 to 35 members. It is growing. And the membership lists are constantly being revised upward. There are many local committees over the country the registration of which we do not have. We only have some general idea as to the following by the fact that many governors have proclaimed the day, and something over 200 mayors the last year proclaimed the day under the influence of local committees.
Senator Javits. You may proceed, Mr. Foster.
Mr. FOSTER. We say sound and salutary reasons of public policy prompt our unyielding opposition to any proposal for modification of the rules of the United States Senate for the further limitation of debate upon proposed legislation, thereby expediting the passage of more new laws.
Any proposed new law obviously involves a departure from laws, regulations, and practices theretofore in effect. For this reason, every new law is in a large measure an experiment. The circumstance that a law is new can be no assurance that it is wise, needed, or will prove helpful.
On the contrary, it may be stated as a general thesis that the oldest and simplest laws in the world—those tried and tested by long experience are the best. Moses, as the oracle of God, was able to summarize all the essential basic rules of human conduct in Ten Commandments. To the 10th, Jesus, the Divine lawgiver, added only one, and that but a summation of all the others.
Contrast the simplicity and comprehensiveness of this code of laws with the thousands upon thousands of pages of complex, confusing and often contradictory, senseless, and illogical product of modern legislative assemblies, not excluding, we admit with regret, the Congress of the United States.
To us it seems hardly debatable that the trend in modern times in the Nation's Congress is toward the passages of far too many, rather than too few, laws. The laws passed by the Congress too generally involve extension of Federal authority into fields either previously regulated thoroughly and at least reasonably well by laws of the States or reserved as rights and liberties to the people.
For such reasons, it is to us but reasonable and proper to place upon advocates of new legislation the very heavy burden of showing both the need for the change and convincing evidence that the proposed new way is better than the tried and established old way.
It is also submitted as a sound thesis that new legislation is too frequently sponsored by combinations of minorities of special interest group, promoted to serve private interests, to gain votes, or further personal objectives.
The more indefensible such legislation is, the more agitation there will be for speedy passage and restrictions upon analysis and debate.
Seldom in modern days does new legislation represent a general demand from a majority of the people, nor does new legislation originate with citizens who have considered the matter objectively or solely from the standpoint of the general public welfare.
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. I 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
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 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
Because so much new legislation is the end product of agitation by minority groups, it too often is so that any given new law itself represents compromises, group combinations among minorities, trades, and deals. It cannot therefore be presumed in favor of proposed and particularly highly controversial legislation, that it represents even the considered will of an informed majority of the people.
Considerations of this character lead us to favor rules and regulations which if anything tend further to restrict passage of new legislation rather than to encourage its enactment,
Even though the Constitution of the United States clearly vests legislative power in the Congress, in practice the legislative power has been too largely usurped by other branches of the Government. The executive branch, particularly, forgetting its primary responsibility for seeing the laws faithfully executed, assumes power to dictate to the Congress what laws shall or shall not be passed, as well as to legislate directly by Executive orders, administrative rules and regulations.
Each succeeding administration appears committed to the view that its primary function is to secure enactment of a whole new body of law, radically changing important public policies. To procure enactment of pet measures, succeeding administrations do not hesitate to bend the legislative mind to the executive will be promises of political patronage or outright diversion of public funds either to punish or reward members of the legislative arm of Government as occasion makes necessary.
Because executive pressure in favor of new legislation favored by that branch of Government is exerted in so many ways and often so unscrupulously as to amount to bribery, the right of the United States Senate, and through its debates, of the people to examine new laws without haste or further limit on discussion should not be further restricted.
The end result of executive usurpation of legislative power is both personal irresponsibility of the people's constitutionally designated legislators for legislation and neglect and incompetency of the executive in performance of its constitutional function of seeing the laws faithfully executed, which results from preoccupation with "administration” legislative programs.
The Nation is presently alarmed also because of a fear that the judicial branch of the Government, wherein appointive judges are installed at full pay for life, will usurp both the functions of making and of executing the laws. Since Federal judges are neither elected by the people nor responsible to them for continued tenure in office, such trends legitimately raise concern lest the people find themselves under control of a judicial oligarchy. Hastily considered actions of the Congress itself, even of the Senate, have helped bring about this regrettable situation.
These circumstances constitute further grounds for permitting the closest possible scrutiny in the United States Senate of new laws and proposals of every kind or character, for there is no assurance that an enactment of the lower branch of the Nation's lawmaking body represents even a free and voluntary expression of the true convictions and opinions of a majority even therein.
Only 96 Senators in the United States Senate exist to speak the collective voice of 160 million people and of all the States in the