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THE AMERICAN LEGION,
Tallahassee, Fla., May 21, 1957. Senator HERMAN E. TALMADGE,
Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR TALMADGE: We are writing to voice our support for Senate rule No. 22 as it now stands. We feel that all matters before the Senate should be subject to free and open debate and any change in the present filibuster rule will not guarantee this condition.
We hope that you and other Senators throughout our country will be successful in forestalling any change in this rule. Very truly yours,
H. B. FRANKLIN, Commander,
AMVETS ON THE AIR, THE VETERANS' VOICE OF AMERICA, Inc.,
Atlantic, Iowa, June 8, 1957. SPECIAL SUBCOMMITTEE, SENATE COMMITTEE ON RULES AND ADMINISTRATION,
Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C. DEAR SIRS: This is to register vigorous protest against any proposal to limit debate in the United States Senate. This is one of the most dangerous proposals ever to be introduced in this country. There are seven such proposals now pending. If debate is limited that means that the liberals and one-worlders will be able to "ram through” anything they want and stifle opposition. Yours very truly,
CLYDE M. LONGSTRETH, President.
CITIZENS UNITED, Inc.,
Los Angeles, Calif., May 30, 1957. Hon. HERMAN E. TALMADGE,
Subcommittee Member, Senate Committee on Rules and Administration. HONORABLE GENTLEMEN OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE: We look with disfavor to making any change in Senate rule 22. This rule has served a good purpose since its enactment in preventing indiscreet legislation which sometimes creeps into enactment.
We feel that this movement to change this rule is motivated by ulterior pressure of such nature as to affect civil-rights legislation which we consider dangerous to national and individual sovereignty.
You, Gentlemen, must remember that, in this land of freedom, the court of public opinion occupies a pedestal far above the bench of the executive, the judicial and the legislative branches of Government. This fact was wisely established by the framers of our Constitution.
No Executive decree, no court decision, no act of Congress can long withstand the angry pressure of adverse public opinion. Let us be bound by the provisions of the Constitution. Sincerely yours,
W. R. BEATTY, President
CONSTITUTIONAL ACTION, INC.,
Seattle, Wash., June 10, 1957. SPECIAL SUBCOMMITTEE, SENATE COMMITTEE ON RULES AND ADMINISTRATION,
United States Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C. Gentlemen: It has been called to our attention that several proposals are now pending relative to the limiting of debate.
I represent an organization with a membership running into four figures, and it is the unanimous opinion of our board of trustees that if these proposals to limit debate should become a fixed rule in the United States Senate, you would be guilty of stifling the will of the people of the United States. We trust that you will do everything in your power to defeat these proposals. Ever sincerely,
MARTIN G. JOHANSON, Secretary-Treasurer. 93635–57—--21
DEFENDERS OF AMERICAN EDUCATION,
Tucson, Ariz., May 20, 1957. Senator HERMAN E. TALMADGE, Committee on Rules and Administration,
United States Senate, Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR TALMADGE: In reply to your letter of May 11, 1957, outlining the plan of the special subcommittee to take testimony on seven proposals pending before it to change Senate rule XXII relating to limitation of debate, I assure you wholeheartedly, full cooperation and will give whatever information and assistance necessary.
We cannot allow the existing rule to be changed in any way which would restrict, restrain, or deny the freedom guaranteed all Americans by the Founding Fathers as set down in the Constitution of the United States of America,
Too, too many of our fundamental freedoms have been taken from us by “legal” and legislative procedures.
Due to limited finances, the participation of the DAE will have to be with resolutions and individual letters.
Indeed, count on us to help you and other American Congressmen who are true to their oath of office to defend the Constitution of the United States of America. No real patriot will ever suggest a change in rule XXII which might curb or even prohibit free speech and debate in our land.
With appreciation for your service to our country and grateful for the opportunity to serve it by working with you, I am, Very sincerely,
EMMA M. McLaughlin, Chairman.
DESCENDANTS OF THE SIGNERS OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE,
White Plains, N. Y., May 28, 1957. Hon. HERMAN E. TALMADGE, United States Senate,
Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR TALMADGE: Your letter of May 16 in reference to the seven pending proposals to change Senate rule XXII has been referred to my attention.
. Under the terms of incorporation of this society, it is bound not to participate in anything which might be construed as political activity.
The question involved is an highly controversial one with decidedly political overtones, hence it is felt this organization should take no official stand.
This is not to say, of course, that the members may not speak for themselves, and in this capacity I wish to put myself on record as being strongly opposed to any limitations on debate.
Thanking you for calling this important issue to the notice of the membership, and with all good wishes, I am, Sincerely,
PERCY HAMILTON GOODSELL, Jr.
RESOLUTION PASSED BY THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS, FLORIDA STATES Rights, Inc.
At a meeting of the board of directors, of Florida States Rights, Inc., held May 27, 1957, it was unanimously resolved that the board of directors of the Florida States Rights, Inc., vehemently oppose any changes, proposed in Senate rule XXII of the United States Senate, and that this resolution be and is the unanimous opinion of the said Florida States Rights organization, and copy of this resolution be sent to Senator Herman E. Talmadge on the Committee on Rules and Administration.
J. H. KEATHLEY, President.
MASSACHUSETTS COMMITTEES OF CORRESPONDENCE,
South Braintree, Mass., May 19, 1957. Hon. HERMAN E. TALMADGE, Senate Office Building,
Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR TALMADGE: Thank you for your May 11 letter asking for an expression of my views on the question of free debate in the Senate. This letter
was addressed to me as head of the Massachusetts Committees of Correspondence.
May I say that I, a firm believer in constitutional government and States rights, consider freedom of debate an absolute necessity if we are to maintain a truly representative Republic. I definitely am opposed to any limitation of debate now or in the future, and this is also the viewpoint of members I have polled.
We intend to keep fighting for God and country and America's children and thank you for your courageous support. May God guide you and give you the needed strength in the days ahead. Very sincerely yours,
Mrs. GWEN M. SCHOFIELD.
GEORGIA STATE SOCIETY,
Revolution. Subject: Testimony for forthcoming hearings on the proposed changes of the
United States Senate rule XXII pertaining to free debate. One of the cardinal virtues of the government of all English speaking people is free debate. The British Parliament and the United States Congress in both the House of Representatives and the United States Senate allow free debate because history taught all English-speaking people the dangers of limiting debate.
I am sure that the "Star Chambers Sessions” of England many centuries ago furnished one of the arguments for not only free debate but an open forum. The avarice and oppression of King John probably furnished another for when he signed the Magna Carta at Runneymede in 1215 English-speaking people would enjoy more rights than ever before including free debate in Parliament. For after this great document was signed men like William Pitt the elder spoke in the House of Commons January 16, 1776 on the right to tax America in part as follows: "Gentlemen, sir, have been charged with giving birth to sedition in America. They have spoken their sentiments with freedom against this unhappy act, and that freedom has become their crime. Sorry I am to hear that liberty of speech in this house imputed as a crime. But the imputation shall not discourage me. It is a liberty I mean to exercise. No gentleman ought to be afraid to exercise it. It is liberty by which the gentleman who calumniates it might have profited." And further that "no subject of England shall be taxed save by his own consent.” The celebrated speeches of Chatham, Burke, and Erskine are masterpieces of English oratory and none of them would have been possible under rules of limited debate for they are generally long and detailed. I refer to a book entitled “Masterpieces of English Oratory” published by Porter & Coates as authority for this statement.
Some Senators may argue the Senate is not concerned with history. But a Senator once said "a page of history is worth 100 pages of law.” It is necessary to turn back the clock and examine a few pages of history in order to understand our Government. It was wrought by the blood, sweat and sacrifice of our founding fathers, they did not have time for tears. It was created by free debate. I will recite examples and fact as proof. Patrick Henry inspired the Americans with his speech at the second Virginia Convention in Richmond, on March 20, 1775, for it was here that he asserted, “I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death."
The Declaration of Independence signed July 4, 1776, was not written in a day, but after many days of debate. There was no limited debate. The men who signed it pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor. Some of them lost their lives, some had their property confiscated but none of them lost their sacred honor for their names are enshrined in American history as patriots of the first order. I doubt if many would have signed if debate had been limited and doubt if that great declaration would have become a reality if it had been railroaded by one group against the interest of another.
There were several conventions before the Constitution of the United States was adopted among them a convention at Annapolis, Md., where many things were discussed including term of office of president. The Constitution was adopted at a convention at Philadelphia, Pa., September 17, 1787, after much free debate as to term of office of a president, selection of Senators and Members of Congress. Washington was offered power as a king or a dictator and it is
to his credit that he declined both. He had the good judgment to call on his friend and neighbor, George Mason of Gunston Hall who had written the constitution of Virginia and other States to draft a constitution that was patterned after the State constitution of Virginia except that he said it "contained no declaration of rights." Because he pointed out this defect in a free debate and many of the members of the constitutional convention were members of Congress 2 years later Congress adopted the Bill of Rights. Mason may be the most forgotten man of all history but he was the first man in the history of America to advocate by dignity of law freedom of speech, press, and the other freedoms in the Bill of Rights. Patrick Henry said of Mason, "he is the greatest statesman I have ever known.”
But let us pass on to the golden era of American oratory when freedom of debate was not questioned. Henry Clay's speech on the Missouri compromise or on taking up his compromise resolutions on the subject of slavery could not have been delivered had there been limited debate. John C. Calhoun's speech delivered December 27, 1837, on States rights could not have been delivered had there been limited debate, and it should be read into the Senate records at this hearing to remind Congress again the States do have rights under the Constitution and under the Bill of Rights which was actually a bill of reservations for it reserved some rights for the States. Last but not least is the celebrated speech of Daniel Webster on the Constitution and the Union of March 7, 1850, to the United States Senate. Webster actually agreed with Calhoun that the States did have rights and he did speak as he said “not as a Massachusetts man, nor a Northern man, but as an American, and a Member of the Senate of the United States.” The speech is about 40 pages long but it averted war. Under a rule of limited debate Daniel Webster could not have delivered this speech or many other speeches he delivered to the United States Senate for some of them were longer. I am reliably informed by the press and television that at long last Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun, and Daniel Webster will be honored by the United States Senate by having their portraits placed in the United States Senate. If the United States Senate had limited debate when they served in the Senate it is most questionable if they could have accomplished so much and also doubtful if the Senate would honor them even now.
I am reliably informed that the Senators who wish to railroad a misnamed civilrights bill want to change Senate rules and abolish free debate. The very abolition of free debate could and would violate the civil rights of every American for free debate has been the safeguard of their liberty.
The Constitution and Bill of Rights have served as the golden keys of good government in this country since it was created and guaranteed all the civil rights a citizen could ask for. Our Constitution has been changed by amendments some of which were adopted during an era when many Southern States had no representation in Congress and did not vote to ratify them by any representative group of Southerners and are just as questionable as some of the tax acts England imposed on us to cause our war with England. But in no part of the Constitution or any of its amendments is psychology or sociology an integral part of the great document. All of the history I read indicates freedom of choice was a reason this country was settled and one of the main principles our Founding Fathers had in mind when the Constitution was written.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt said of our Bill of Rights on December 15, 1941:
“No date in the long history of freedom means more to liberty-loving men in all liberty-loving countries than the 15th day of December 1791. On that day, 150 years ago, a new nation, through an elected Congress, adopted a declaration of human rights which has influenced the thinking of all mankind from one end of the world to the other.
"There is not a single republic in this hemisphere which has not adopted in its fundamental law the basic principles of freedom of man and freedom of mind enacted in the American Bill of Rights.
“There is not a country, large or small, on this continent which has not felt the influence of that document, directly or indirectly.”
What we face is nothing more nor less than an attempt to overthrow and to cancel out the great upsurge of human liberty of which the American Bill of Rights is the fundamental document. Some of our prodigal political sons of the 20th century like the one of old have gone into a foreign country and like the Biblical character wasted their inheritance and want to waste ours. Such a character was Alger Hiss who according to a recent article in the American Legion magazine tried to place the Panama Canal under the United Nations. Let us cast out this foreign idolatry and fill the vacuum with a reverence for the spiritual
truths, an undying patriotism for our country, and a profound respect for the wisdom and accomplishments of our Founding Fathers, who left us a legacy in the Constitution and Bill of Rights that should be properly and wisely administered.
Of course we all know this legacy should be administered by our courts and particularly the United States Supreme Court. As to this duty I can quote no better authority then Thomas Jefferson, a patriot, a President, a student of American Government, and a wise man. Thomas Jefferson said:
"It is not enough that honest men are appointed judges. All know the influence of interest on the mind of men, and how unconsciously his judgment is warped by that influence. To this bias add that of the esprit de corps, of their peculiar maxim and creed, that 'it is the office of a good judge to enlarge his jurisdiction, and the absence of responsibility; and how much can we expect in impartial decision between the general Government, of which they are themselves so eminent a part, and an individual State, from which they have nothing to hope or fear? We have seen too, that, contrary to all correct example, they are in the habit of going out of the question before them, to throw an anchor ahead, and grapple further hold for future advances of power. They are then, in fact, the corps of sappers and miners, steadily working to undermine the independent rights of the States, and to consolidate all power in the hands of that Government in which they have so important a freehold estate. But it is not by the consolidation or concentration of powers, but by their distribution, that good government is effected. Were not this great country already divided into States, that division must be made, that each might do for itself what concerns itself directly, and what it can so much better do than a distant authority. Every State again is divided into counties, each to take care of what lies within its local bounds; each county again into townships or wards, to manage minuter details; and every ward into farms, to be governed, each by its individual proprietor. Were we directed from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon want bread. It is by this partition of cares, descending in gradation from general to particular, that the mass of human affairs may be best managed, for the good and prosperity of all. I repeat that I do not charge the judges with willful and ill-intentioned error; but honest error must be arrested, where its toleration leads to public ruin. As for the safety of society, we commit honest maniacs to bedlam, so judges should be withdrawn from their bench, whose erroneous biases are leading us to dissolution. It may, indeed, injure them in fame or in fortune; but it saves the Republic, which is the first and supreme law."
The above quotation from the memoirs of Thomas Jefferson is most prophetic. Jefferson opposed a United States Supreme Court Justice holding office for life and advocated their removal and correctly predicted that if ever constitutional government were destroyed it would be a United States Supreme Court exceeding its authority and trying to legislate by enlarging their jurisdiction.
Over a century ago when Georgia prosecuted some criminals in its borders the Supreme Court made the mistake of ruling it could not prosecute. Andrew Jackson, President of the United States said of that decision, "John Marshall wrote that decision; lets see him enforce it”. A resolution was introduced in the General Assembly of Georgia reading in part as follows: "The Supreme Court has trampled on the Constitution". The criminal was hung as sentenced by the courts of Georgia. Both Congress and Georgia enacted laws and the Cherokee Indian was removed from the State of Georgia to reservations. If Andrew Jackson had been in the White House instead of Abraham Lincoln, who was elected by a minority of the votes cast in 1860, Jackson would have removed the race problem for all time by removing the Negroes to a reservation.
My great Uncle, Governor George W. Towns, the son of Lieutenant John Towns, who served in the Battle of Cowpens and Eutah Springs and other engagements was author of Georgia's inscription reads as follows: "The Constitution as it is, the Union as it was”. These words carved on the Washington Monument express the position of Georgia and the Nation, then, and now. We have an unquestioned allegiance to the Constitution largely written by southern men and clung to by southern people but we have a general attitude of opposition to the court trying to legislate and we take no oath to the United States Supreme Court as citizens but to the United States Constitution.
Our Founding Fathers set up a system of checks and balances in creating the legislative, executive and judicial branches of Government. Only the States and Congress are given any authority to legislate. I am sure that the delegates who adopted the Constitution and Congress who adopted the Bill of Rights 2 years later would wince at the brazen attempts of legislating on the part of the