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Resolved, That the present rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate must be continued in effect to protect the best interests of the citizens of the United States of America.
The foregoing resolution was unanimously carried at a meeting of the board of directors of the American Education Association held on June 14, 1957, in New York, N. Y.
AMERICAN EDUCATION ASSOCIATION,
Executive Director. NEW YORK, N. Y., June 15, 1957.
AMERICAN VETERANS COMMITTEE,
Washington, D. C., June 17, 1957. Hon. HERMAN E. TALMADGE, Committee on Rules and Administration,
United States Senate, Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR TALMADGE: We have received your letter regarding the hearings and study being made of rule XXII in the Senate. We are glad to express the views of the American Veterans Committee on this important matter, and we respectfully request that this communication be made a part of the record.
The American Veterans Committee, of course, favors full discussion of all matters which come before the Congress since we realize that Members of Congress should not have to legislate in a vacuum. Nonetheless, we are equally convinced that there should be a means whereby when the majority of the Members want to get a vote on a particular issue, they ought not to be hamstrung by a majority.
We support the Douglas bill, Senate Resolution 17, cosponsored by Senator Javits and others. AVC feels that this measure provides adequate time for bringing out all of the facts of any measure which might come before the Senate. At the same time, this bill gives to a majority in the Senate the right to ask for and to obtain a vote on any matter which may be before it.
At the 10th national convention held in Washington, D. C., in April, AVC adopted a national affairs platform which calls for "changes in the rules of the House and Senate of the United States which will make it impossible for a willful minority to delay a vote on legislation after a reasonable period of debate has taken place." Sincerely yours,
KENNETH M. BIRKHEAD,
STATEMENT BY JOHN K. CRIPPEN, PARK RIDGE, ILL., PREPARED TO BE READ
JULY 2, 1957, ON PROPOSED CHANGES IN SENATE RULE XXII The undersigned, executive secretary of the Anti-Communist League of America, an organization devoted to helping in the fight to preserve the basic freedoms of our beloved country, and to fight against the insidious encroachments of communism and its twin brother, socialism, has been asked by the Honorable Herman E. Talmadge, United States Senator, to appear before this committee and to present either my personal views or those of the league on the proposed changes in Senate rule XXII, on limitations upon debate in the Senate.
Time has not permitted the taking of a poll of members and affiliates of the league, but I have discussed with and corresponded with a number of our key members and directors, including our president, Mr. Theodore W. Miller, of Chicago, and general counsel, John Unger, a probate judge residing in Danville, Ill. In addition, prior knowledge of the earnest beliefs and convictions of affiliates of the league, voluminous correspondence and reports, leads me to believe that I am truthfully expressing herein the feelings of those individuals and, in most cases, of the organizations or publications of which they are a part.
Without attempting to go into a detailed analysis of the proposed changes in Senate rule XXII, many of which are obviously intended to lighten or mollify the more drastic changes proposed, such as that which would enable 18 Senators, in a motion, to almost immediately cut off further debate upon any bill upon which those 18 members so moved.
I can say unreservedly, speaking for myself as an individual, and I believe accurately presenting the similar views of the great majority of the league's members, that we would unalterably oppose any method or effort to drastically limit debate in the United States Senate or House, such as is proposed in portions of the proposed amendments, particularly as proposed in section 2, where a small minority of Senators can, with a single motion, shut off all further argument, discussion, consideration, exploration, or factfinding in the Senate; and which would further have the effect of calling up a bill, however controversial, for passage before some Senators, who may not have been too well informed upon a given measure, have had an opportunity of scrutinizing the measure in question. For a drastic limitation upon debate would accomplish precisely these things.
I have been cautioned by Senator Talmadge, a great Senator, in my opinion, and a man dedicated to preserving our matchless Constitution, to confine my remarks to matters pertinent to the proposed Senate rule. This I have tried to do. However, one cannot discuss or editorialize upon so important a matter as a change in a standing rule such as Senate rule XXII, without touching upon the matter of free speech. Many members of the league, including myself, have had some definite experiences relating with efforts to curb free speech, and we can speak with some authority on the subject. There have been suppressions of information with respect to legal information involving the communistic National Lawyers' Guild in the Chicago area, as an example, and efforts to suppress such information when collated and presented in newspaper articles and letters—one of these involving a trial in a Federal court, where an all-American jury promptly acquitted Mr. Theodore W. Miller and myself, in a brilliant defense by our general counsel, the Honorable John Unger. There have been many, many other cases in all parts of our land brought to our attention. It is not my intent to discuss them here. I mention the matter in passing merely to indicate that the efforts to resrict a free and untrammeled discussion of facts do not begin and end in the United States Senate. They are everywhere about us. The preservation of our Union requires that people may have access to information and facts.
Thus, I view, speaking here only for myself and as an individual, the efforts to restrict debate in the Senate through some of the provisions of the proposed amendments as a move to restrict free speech, where it is so urgently and desperately needed. Where, if not in our great legislative bodies, is an honest, open, untrammeled debate of basic issues needed?
There has been, through other means, far too much limitations already placed upon debate. How many "plans” have been laid before the American public, only in glossy public-relations ways, and without detailed discussions of their ramifications. How many secret treaties, agreements, Executive agreements, or discussions have taken place, often between foreign and even enemy powers, without an adequate presentation of their true imports before the American people.
Shall the Senate then, through drastic limitations on debate, be deprived also of the right to explore these matters about which, often, the American people have been told but little? Shall these matters, in a flowery-worded, legalistic measure, be formulated into a bill for consideration by our highest legislative body without due consideration? Shall the last resort of free debate, in the very body where debate is the breath of our national existence, be stripped from us? Is our Senate to be finally reduced to a rubberstamp Kremlin-type organization, whose only function will be to place their blessing upon some latest plan or scheme which might easily become the law when there is not "free and untrammeled discussion,” even though that plan might easily become another device for wrecking our Constitution?
I should like to depart, for a brief moment, from the strict consideration of this matter of drastic limitation of debate in the Senate, to a plan which this observer personally believes a very dangerous plan. The statements are made to indicate that we need more, not less, debate upon vital matters. I am referring to the “Atoms for Peace” proposal, which our late great Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, warned us about, almost with his dying breath. If you will examine the cover of the document which outlines the setting up of an international agency for the exchange of atomic materials and know-how, you will note that this document was placed before the United Nations 5 months prior to the time it was placed before the American people, and, in the words on the face of the document, the limitations of secrecy were removed. The point I am making here is that there have been some open discussions about this proposal, and its dangers brought out. Perhaps the bill will pass (though I personally believe it to be a very dangerous, very treacherous bill per se). The proposed limitations on debate could very easily do away with such debate although the very security of America may be in the balance.
Another example, which we cannot help but ponder, and which I mention briefly here because of its possible application, is the so-called civil-rights bill. Leftwing newspapers and columnists try to identify opposition to this measure strictly to southern Senators, and—more basically speaking—to southerners, whereas such is not the case. In the enormous number of publications, clippings, and so on, which we have seen from the rightwing of America, we can find almost as much opposition to the presently proposed civil-rights bill in the North, East, and West, as in the South itself.
The civil-rights bill inherently holds a threat to our liberties of incalculable possibilities. In its effort to strip some of our people (those charged with a crime of discrimination, as it is defined) of the basic right of trial by jury, we must face squarely all the implications thereof. Stripping of any citizens of rights of trial by jury would be the rankest sort of discrimination-discrimination at its very worst. While the Communists loudly cry for passage of the civilrights bill, we must surely have left to us, in the United States Senate, the "right to be heard" by opponents, as well as proponents of the bill. Regardless of how this bill may be later voted upon, the fact remains that all of the pros and cons should be heard—and not just the cons.
In these closing days of Congress—with both good and bad bills to be considered, voted upon, and accepted and rejected--our elected representatives must not yield to the impulse to "vote it through and go home.” This would imply that all bills which contain elements of badness, or implications of further loss of our constitutional system (as some of them, in my opinion, do) if they have been sold by vast public relations and propaganda effort, would go throughwithout those changes or amendments necessary to purify and clarify them. If debate—the one element for bringing to the light inherently dangerous implications of a given bill—is shut off, I repeat, the United States Senate would then become merely a rubberstamping organization. If the people themselves are uninformed about all the elements of a proposed piece of legislation, and if informed men in the Senate are unable to counter that widespread misinformation and propaganda which sometimes precede the launching of any controversial measure, then all avenues of information have been shut off to the general public.
As an American who loves his country, and our matchless and often-attacked United States Constitution, I unalterably oppose any serious or drastic limitations in debate in the United States Senate.
I will go further, and state that I oppose, both individually, and as an executive officer of the Anti-Communist League of America, Inc., its affiliates, and many friends and coworkers and organizations whom we support to the fullest of our individual and collective abilities, are undoubtedly equally and cojointly opposed to any such drastic limitations of debate in the United States Senate or House. I personally favor retention of Senate rule XXII as' now constituted, without any amendments, but particularly without any such amendment as would permit a small minority bloc of Senators to place a ban on free speech upon all other Senators.
A RESOLUTION OF THE ASSOCIATION OF CITIZEN'S COUNCILS OF SOUTH CAROLINA,
SUMTER, S. C. Whereas there are seven Senate resolutions now pending before a subcommittee of the Committee on Rules and Administration of the United States that propose changes in Senate rule XXII, which rule now permits free and open debate of all legislation on the floor of the Senate; and
Whereas the excesses of an unrestrained majority can be as ruthless, dangerous, and destructive to the rights of a people as are the excesses of totalitarianism; and
Whereas through the medium of free and open debate the Senate provides the only practical means whereby, the American people can be informed of all measures affecting their lives and fortunes; and
Whereas this privilege of free and open debate provides the only means whereby measures of overriding importance can be put to the critical test of deliberate and unhurried examination by the collective intellect of the people and of the members of the Senate, a body explicitly created as one of our governmental checks and balances; and
Whereas in most instances the said resolutions propose to permit the drastic curtailment, if not the complete destruction, of this right to free and open debate by no more than 33 Senators out of a total authorized Senate membership of 96 Members and in no instance by more than a simple majority of such total authorized Senate membership; and
Whereas in most instances the adoption of any of the changes proposed will place potentially tyrannical powers in the hands of a small minority of future Senate Members for whose prudence and patriotism no present Member of the Senate can now vouch: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That we, the Association of Citizens' Councils of South Carolina, do hereby appeal to the honorable members of this subcommittee to recommend that further consideration of these dangerous changes in Senate rule XXII be abandoned and that the said rule be permitted to remain unchanged; and be it further
Resolved, That a copy of this resolution be mailed to each Member of the United States Senate from the State of South Carolina.
Respectfully submitted this the 21st day of June 1957 by direction of the board of directors.
THE ASSOCIATION OF CITIZENS' COUNCILS
OF SOUTH CAROLINA,
CIRCUIT RIDERS, INC.,
Cincinnati, Ohio, July 10, 1957. Hon. HERMAN E. TALMADGE, Chairman, Senate Special Subcommittee,
Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. GENTLEMEN : It is a privilege to be recorded as advocating the continuance of the present and long-standing rule and practice in the United States Senate which permits free and unlimited debate.
In contrast with executives or officers of church-related organizations, who have created the impression they spoke for the individuals in their organizations, I announce that I speak as an individual who reflects the opinions of clergymen and laymen in the United States.
There is a mistaken impression that officers and executives of church and church-related organizations speak for millions of people. In the case of the Methodist Church, no officer can speak for the church.
It is important to the security of the United States as a sovereign power and of prime importance to the citizens of the United States that a Senator or group of Senators continue to be able to speak or debate without limitations beyond those already established by many years of custom and rules of long standing.
The men who founded the United States Government and established its structure were wise men. These Founding Fathers apparently believed they had devised a balanced legislative, executive, and judicial system of government which would always retain the identity, integrity, and independence of each of these three branches of government.
During the past two and present administrations there has been a shocking and alarming destruction of the effectiveness and value of the three-unit system of government made up of the legislative branch, the administrative branch, and the judiciary.
The executive branch of our Government, through the allocation and trading position of billions of dollars, political favors, prestige, and other bargaining positions, has emasculated and desecrated the function and performance of the legislative branch of the Government. It appears that an elected representative of the people in the Congress is more at the mercy of the executive branch of the Government than dependent upon his constituents.
Legislative aims and goals of the White House, by pressures upon the legislative branch of the Government through the direct efforts of the executive branch, seem to have been aided, and at times superseded, by decisions made by the Supreme Court, manned with individuals some of whom are not believed to possess either the legal training, knowledge, temperament, or other characteristics which would enable a jurist to reach decisions based upon law. It would appear that during the past 20 years decisions of the Supreme Court often fail to interpret the law. More often they seem to reflect the political, economic, and sociological beliefs or prejudices of individual judges, plus the habit or custom of reflecting the political, economic, and sociological viewpoints of the White House apparatus.
An important part of the formula which made the United States a great power for God and good, and which until now protected and preserved the rights of individuals and minorities, has been the inability of a numerical majority or a superior force in the Government to arbitrarily remove the rights of individuals or minorities.
It is imperative for the protection of all individuals and minorities (even those who now think they represent a majority position in the United States) to preserve the right and privilege of any Senator, or group of Senators, to speak or debate without limitations beyond those now incorporated in the rules and contained in the customs of the United States Senate.
It might be said that an individual Senator, or an occasional group of Senators, might sometimes capriciously take advantage of the practice of free and unlimited debate on the floor of the United States Senate. Those who are thus concerned, are requested to visualize whether or not an individual Senator, or a group of Senators, could successfully and continuously debate without limitation if the subject of their unlimited debate was shallow or meaningless. Such a fiasco would fall of its own weight, and the contsituents of the individual, or individuals, would correct that condition at the next election. A minor nuisance or annoyance such as this would be a historic speck compared with arbitrary or tyrannical pressures further directing, or forcing, the United States as we know it into the historic' garbage can.
M. G. LOWMAN.
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN LIBRARIES
COMMITTEE FOR CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT, INC.,
New York, 17, N. Y., July 9, 1957. Senator TH08. C. HENNINGS, Jr.,
Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C. HONORABLE AND DEAR ŞIR: Herewith a corrected statement of Edward A. Rumely, regarding the proposed amendments to Senate rule XXII. The correction is in the final paragraph on page 1. The Senate judiciary report, one of the ablest public documents ever presented, was written by Senator Joseph O'Mahoney and was printed by the Senate committee in 10,000 copies, while the Committee for Constitutional Government printed and distributed an additional 200,000 copies.
Supreme Court decisions, and the dominant position of the executive branch because of huge spending under its control, have thrown new and greater responsibilities on Congress to assert its proper rule as "general manager" of the United States and to reestablish the balance between the three departments that the Constitution requires.
In this situation, the opportunity for adequate discussion without cloture is a valuable Senate right and a protection against precipitate action at a time when crowd emotions have been aroused.
Great issues persist and adequate discussion is basically important even if it involves postponement of decision over a longer period from one session of Congress to later sessions.
COMMITTEE FOR CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT, INC. STATEMENT OF EDWARD A. RUMELY, REGARDING PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO SENATE
RULE XXII My name is Edward A. Rumely. I am executive secretary of the Committee for Constitutional Government, 205 East 42d Street, New York City.
Had Senate rule XXII not been in effect in 1937, there is little doubt that the debate on the reorganization of the judiciary would have been ended by cloture long before the country could have been made aware of the danger to our form of government in the bill entitled "Reorganization of the Judiciary."
This bill would have empowered the President to appoint six new members to the Supreme Court and thus bring the judiciary branch of government under the control of the Presidency. The President at that time had been elected by the largest electoral vote in history. None ever had a greater majority of his own party in both Houses of Congress. The President stood at the peak of his power and he sought more.
Senator Borah told a group of opponents of this Court-packing bill, "There is no hope of defeating this proposal unless the people can be aroused. If this is not a people's fight, the fight is lost."
1 Garbage can of history.