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Under the chairmanship of Frank E. Gannett, the Committee To Uphold Constitutional Government was to reach home folks and their leaders by mail, by radio, by radio transcriptions, by press releases, by telegram-every medium of communiciation. During the next 20 weeks, 10 million envelopes packed with arguments against the Court-packing plan were mailed. Every envelope went to a carefully chosen recipient.
This intensive campaign began February 6 and was continued without interruption and steadily broadened. Every piece of mail that went out carried a subscription blank. As rapidly as funds were available, the educational effort was extended ; 20,000 individuals sent in funds averaging $12.50 per person. But despite this, the issue was still undecided in June. At that time the opponents of the bill could definitely count on only 44 votes. There were 12 Senators in 11 States who had not yet made known their decision. James A. Farley, who was managing the President's bill, said, “We have this Court bill in the bag."
In the middle of June, the Senate Judiciary Committee released an adverse report, of which the Senate printed 10,000 copies and the Committee To Uphold Constitutional Government printed 200,000 for immediate distribution. This was one of the most effective statements. It called for a decisive defeat of the bill so that no future President might ever attempt to dominate the Supreme Court.
At that time, the showdown neared. The opponents of the amendments were sure of only 44 votes; 5 more, or 49 in all, were needed ; 12 Senators were believed to be wavering or still undecided.
Then the committee made its supreme effort. Out of its lists of hundreds of thousands were culled the names and addresses of 32,000 influential citizens in States represented by the 12 doubtful Senators. To each of these 32,000, at a cost of $1.27 per name, the committee sent a 125-word telegram explaining the situation. In part, it read:
“Your Senator (the recipient was given his name) in pivotal national position. With four others he can defeat Court altering bill, protect Nation and preserve democratic government in gravest constitutional crisis. Issue transcends party lines. You and your family can well pledge you will never forget his stand protecting courts from politicians' control.”
This was on a Thursday. When the 12 Senators reached their offices the next Monday morning they found floods of telegrams demanding that they vote against compromise on the Court bill. The next day, 8 of these Senators met in a colleague's office, and all but 2 expressed intention of voting to recommit the Court bill to the Judiciary Committee. That was 6 more votes, where 5 were neded, and it meant the legislative death of the Supreme Court plan.
Thus ended one of the most dramatically waged congressional battles in our history-as well as one of the most effective and intensive public mobilizations ever put forward during any legislative struggle.
But it had required a full 5-month period before the people of the country could be sufficintly informed to understand the destructive nature of the Courtpacking bill and to induce them to speak to their representatives in Congress, and particularly in the Senate. Even so, in the final count opponents had but 50 votes to recommit the bill.
Had cloture been possible, there is little doubt that it would have been invoked and debate cut off after a month or two of discussion. Thus rule XXII saved the independence of the Supreme Court.
I have checked my own judgment with that of Senators who participated in the fight. Senator Burton K. Wheeler was one of the leaders. He recently gave it as his judgment that had cloture been available, the fight to safeguard the Supreme Court could not have been won.
STATEMENT OF LT. GEN. PEDRO A. DEL VALLE, UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
(RETIRED), PRESIDENT, DEFENDERS OF THE AMERICAN CONSTITUTION, ON PROPOSED CHANGES IN RULE XXII
As president of the Defenders of the American Constitution, Inc., an organization dedicated to the preservation of the basic principles of the American Constitution, I hereby enter our determined objection to any changes in Senate rule XXII which have for their objective, facilitation of limit of debate.
Among these principles are found the sovereignty of the individual States which form the Union; and the God-given right of the people of these sovereign
States to defend themselves by every means available, against any invasion or encroachment by the Federal Government of this sovereignty. The most important single means of orderly, peaceful defense of these basic rights, guaranteed by the Constitution, is by means of their representatives in the Congress. The easements on rule XXII contemplated in Senate Resolutions 17, 21, 28, 29, and 32 have obvious, immediate, and very dangerous implications because they would deny a beleaguered minority the, right, by unlimited debate, to defend their sovereign rights against an unconstitutional assault by a misguided majority. The honorable gentlemen of this committee are respectfully requested to consider that this attempt to limit debate is a two-edged sword. It may cut right today and left tomorrow. It may be their ox that was gored today, and yours tomorrow.
That the majority can be in error is a fact proven by such historical blunders as the 16th amendment, the 18th amendment, the Federal Reserve Art, all of which are contrary to the basic principles of the Constitution, in which the powers of the Federal Government are spelled out, and in the 10th amendment wherein it is made clear that the powers not granted by the sovereign States to the Federal Government in forming the Union, are reserved to the States and to the people of the States. Any act of the Congress, or any amendment to the Constitution, which strays beyond the strict limits of the proven basic principles of the Constitution is bound, as George Washington warned us in his Farewell Address, to end disastrously. There is no need to remind the honorable gentlemen that they, even as I, have sworn an oath to defend and support the Constitution against all enemies, foreign or domestic.
Even now, we see the chaos induced by the highest Court in the land, in departing from those basic principles of which I speak, and in disregard of their oath to support the Constitution, upset the system it creates of checks and balances by invading the well-established prerogatives of the legislative branch. The Congress is astir with this violation of their constitutional rights. Would they submit without a struggle, or would they take every known constitutional means to protect their rights? Article III, section 2 of the Constitution reads as follows: "In all other cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions and under such regulations as the Congress shall make.”
This digression is justified because it is a case in point. Departure from the principles of the Constitution means the end of the Republic. The proponents of the changes in rule XXII may well be aiming at the ulterior purpose of forcing a minority to accept an invasion of their sovereignty, such as the pending civilrights bill indubitably is, by making it impossible for the minority to defend their sovereign rights by unlimited debate. I conclude, gentlemen, by repeating that this dangerous weapon you are forging here cuts both ways, and that its advocates today may easily be its victims tomorrow. Take warning from the tale of the Frankenstein monster.
I thank the committee for this opportunity to express the views of the Defenders of the American Constitution.
STATEMENT OF JOHN FRANK, PRESIDENT OF THE FRANKOMA POTTERY, SAPULPA, OKLA., PRESIDENT, TULSA MANUFACTURERS CLUB, TULSA, OKLA., ON PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO STANDING RULE XXII
Hon. HERMAN E. TALMADGE,
Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, Washington, D. C. Mr. Chairman and honorable Senators, it is a matter of real regret that I cannot present this statement in person. My business requires my constant attention, especially at this season of the year. Therefore, I am presenting this brief and humble statement in relationship to the issue at hand.
I claim no unusual wisdom, and I do not represent myself as a profound student. However, I am considered by my business associates and competitors as a typical independent manufacturer. It has been my honor to be recognized by national, regional, and State organizations interested in industry in general as well as the specialists in my own field.
I realize full well that this does not qualify me to speak with authority on the subject of constitutional law or parliamentary procedure, but I can at least speak as a citizen and taxpayer with what I believe to be a mature under
standing of the rich traditions of our constitutional Republic. I have spoken before over 500 educational, professional, and religious groups, both large and small.
As every Member of the United States Senate knows, the independent and small manufacturer is engaged in one of the most hazardous business enterprises known to our society. Competition is tense, keen, and permanent. It requires that we keep our mind on our business every minute of the day and every day of the year.
We cannot afford to retain special representatives in the Nation's Capital, and we do not have the time to journey to Washington ourselves except under rare and unusual circumstances. It is great consolation for me to know that if anything is brought before the Congress of the United States which might imperil my business, it cannot be rushed through as long as one man in the United States Senate understands the disastrous potentials contained in such proposed legislation.
The right of unlimited debate protects our citizenry from certain attempts which might be made to rush legislation through Congress in favor of some special interest. I say unlimited because some issues demand more time for thorough consideration than others.
To illustrate: Those of us who are engaged in the manufacture of porcelain, potteries, and other forms of ceramic merchandise are constantly facing the danger of being annihilated by foreign competition thriving on cheap labor. Five large China plants have closed their doors during the last 30 months in America mainly for this reason. As long as one man in the United States Senate is well informed concerning our problem, we can hope that unwise legislation, regardless of its sincerity, will not be passed until we have had time to alert our fellow manufacturers in every district and State in order that they in turn may concentrate on the enlightenment of their elected representatives concerning any ominous legislation which might be proposed regardless of how sincere the proposal may be. The right of unlimited debate in the United States Senate is the most logical method which could be imagined for protecting minorities.
Occasionally, our elected representatives forget that there are other minorities beside racial minorities in the United States. Businessmen are a minority. Small manufacturers are indeed in the minority, but as long as we have the magnificent formula of unlimited debate in the United States Senate, one Senator can slow down the legislative process if it becomes necessary to protect one isolated group against the potentials of hysteria, propaganda, corruption, and even sincere but misguided haste. I appeal to the Members of the United States Senate to do nothing to destroy the beautiful assurance which I have as an American citizens in knowing that one Senator or a little handful of Senators can save me from becoming the victim of legislation which might pass if deliberative processes intended by our Founding Fathers are not duly and properly respected.
I am indeed honored for the opportunity to present these humble remarks. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF ROBERT H. GOLDSBOROUGH, BALTIMORE, MD. The Constitution has provided for passage of bills in the Senate into law and proper discussion or unlimited debate has been established by these years of precedent and where it is true in a certain few instances a seemingly good piece of legislation has been talked into the ground, this procedure has provided ample protection for the less populated States to safeguard their constituents.
I am aware of the arguments put forth by those who wish to change Senate rule XXII by limiting debate in their statement that "after all that is enlightening has been said then debate should be shut off and a vote be taken," however, the same advocates want a simple majority to close off debate which in the eyes of a smaller State affords them no protection whatsoever from yote trading of larger States to gain a purely sectional piece of legislation at the expense of the rest of the States. Also, if a simple majority was allowed to shut off debate the powerful States with plenty of trading would simply bide their time and when ready shut off debate by a simple majority. This, of course, in effect would be having law made by a simple vote.
For these reasons I respectfully request that Senate rule XXII be left unchanged.
Emory University, Ga., July 28, 1957. Senator JAVITS,
Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR JAVITS: I see by a press report that Dr. Albert Saye of the University of Georgia has defended (before your subcommittee) the filibuster and bases his argument largely on our constitutional system of checks and balances. Dr. Saye is an old student of mine and a good friend, but he is a conservative and I am a liberal. I don't see any validity to his argument. The Preamble to the Constitution says “the people of the United States” established our Constitution. To me this means that the people of the United States—not the States—are sovereign. How can the people be sovereign while a small band of Senators can thwart their will by filibustering and killing legislation which they favor? In order to carry out the will of the people there must be majority rule. One of the founders of the Democratic Party—Thomas Jefferson—said the democratic principles in which he believed included majority rule, equal justice to all, and civil liberties. He is the patron saint of many Democratsconservative as well as liberal.
I would like to refer you to a book of which I am coauthor, Fundamentals of American Government, published by McGraw-Hill Book Co. (1957 edition), chapters 12 to 14, inclusive, in which I discuss the Congress. You will find a great deal of material there on the filibuster. Sincerely yours,
CULLEN B. GOSNELL, Professor of Political Science, Emory University, and Director of Emory
University Institute of Citizenship.
STATEMENT OF BERNARD WEITZER, NATIONAL LEGISLATIVE DIRECTOR, JEWISH WAR
VETERANS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA On behalf of the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America, I am happy to express appreciation for this opportunity to present our views in favor of correcting Senate rule XXII along the lines of resolutions which have been passed for many years at the annual conventions of our organization. Following is the resolution passed at our convention last year.
“Whereas the rules of the Senate permit debate unless and until 64 Senators vote to close debate;
“Whereas this rule in practice often degenerates the process of debate into obstruction of a vote by the Senate; and
"Whereas this rule permits filibustering by which a small minority may frustrate the majority of the Senate: Now, therefore, be it
"Resolved, That the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America at 61st annual national convention assembled in Milwaukee, Wis., August 7-12, 1956, do urge the Senate of the United States to adopt a rule which will safeguard debate, yet provide a time certain to bring bills, resolutions, and motions to a vote."
This resolution recognizes the importance of full debate in the Senate.
It equally recognizes the importance of permitting the Senate to vote its will when adequate debate has gone forward to a point where continuation of debate is merely repetitious and carried on only to prevent a vote.
Senate rule XXII as now written, makes it too easy to indulge in unreasonably prolonged discussion on the Senate floor and to prevent the Senate from voting a decision on the matter before it.
Since the resolution of our organization quoted above does not endorse, specifically, any of the measures which you are considering, I can only suggest that you report, favorably, a change in the rule which will provide a fixed time of termination for debate on any Senate procedure which is provided for in the Senate Rules. Thereafter, a vote may be called for on the previous question. Respectfully submitted.
Hollywood 38, CALIF., June 3, 1957. Hon. HERMAN E. TALMADGE,
Senate Office Building, Washington, D.O. DEAR SENATOR TALMADGE: Thank you for your letter of May 11. The delay in my reply has been caused by my absence from Los Angeles for several weeks.
As an individual and a damnyankee, I believe that there is no single Senate rule which should be more zealously guarded than the one protecting the right of members to speak or debate without limitation. It is my private guess that most of the citizens in the various States who support the right-to-work fight would probably agree with me in this stand if only for the reason that it is conceivable that one day Senate rule 22 might save us from the catastrophe which could follow an amendment to the Taft-Hartley Act repealing or invalidating section 14 B
However, my interest in this subject goes far beyond my particular concern for the right to work. If this rule were to be changed, it is further conceivable that the historic role of the Senate in modifying and restraining momentarily popular surges of democratic enthusiasm might be seriously changed or completely eliminated. If such a situation as this were to come about, much of the usefulness of the upper House would be lost and we might even have in factif not in form-a unicameral legislature.
If there is anything further I can do, please let me know. I shall probably be in Washington between June 17 and 20. Sincerely yours,
DORAN & MANION,
South Bend, Ind., June 25, 1957. Hon. HERMAN E. TALMADGE,
Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR TALMADGE: Thank you for your invitation to testify before the special subcommittee on Rules and Administration of the Senate now considering proposed amendments to rule XXII.
It was my hope and intention to appear personally and present the enclosed statement, but a series of engagements on the west coast during the month of July will make this impossible.
I therefore hope that you will incorporate the enclosed statement in the record of the subcommittee. Very sincerely,
MEMORANDUM IN OPPOSITION TO PROPOSALS FOR FURTHER LIMITATION OF FREE
DEBATE IN THE SENATE BEYOND THE LIMITATIONS Now PROVIDED FOR IN RULE XXII
Mr. Chairman, I wish to express my opposition to any proposals which would carry the limitations on free debate in the Senate further than the limitations now provided in rule XXII.
"RULE XXII. PRECEDENCE OF MOTIONS
"* * * If at any time a motion, signed by 16 Senators, to bring to a close the debate upon any pending measure is presented to the Senate, the Presiding Officer shall at once siate the motion to the Senate, and 1 hour after the Senate meets on the following calendar day but one, he shall lay the motion before the Senate and direct that the Secretary call the roll, and, upon the ascertainment that a quorum is present, the Presiding Officer shall, without debate, submit to the Senate by an age-and-nay vote the question :
“ 'Is it the sense of the Senate that the debate shall be brought to a close ?"
"And if that question shall be decided in the affirmative by a two-thirds vote of those voting, then said measure shall be the unfinished business to the exclusion of all other business until disposed of.
"Thereafter no Senator shall be entitled to speak in all more than 1 hour on the pending measure, the amendments thereto, and motions affecting the same, and it shall be the duty of the Presiding Officer to keep the time of each Senator who speaks. Except by unanimous consent, no amendment shall be in order