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Senator HOEY. I think the same way. I think that the times and the question would have a good deal to do with it. Some questions are so much more momentous than others, and all of that, and if it is a matter of not such great concern or public interest, and if for personal reasons, or otherwise, some Senators are just prolonging the matter and delaying the vote, I think there is so much more justification for applying cloture in such a case than in a situation which affects vitally the whole public interest.
Senator HAYDEN. That was very well brought out when Senator Wagner placed in the record the names of certain Senators who were opposed to the particular cloture pending at that time, but had on previous occasions voted for cloture. I think that Senator Glass answered the Senator from New York very well by saying that it was dependent upon the merits of the proposal before the Senate, and whether it had or had not been fully discussed.
Senator GEORGE. That is much my feeling, Mr. Chairman. I have never signed a cloture petition so far as I recall, I am very sure that I never have. I voted for cloture on one occasion, I believe, but that matter at that time had been under discussion for a long, long time, had been thoroughly discussed and was thoroughly understood, and, moreover, I reached the conclusion that it was being deliberately held before the Senate to prevent some other legislation to which there was no real objection, and I thought it was time to get it out of the way.
Senator WHERRY. We have asked the Governors to furnish us with the legislative practices in the different States, which I thought might be of interest to the members of the committee. I take this position: a man has a right to his day in court. I don't want to assume the position--after 40 years of a rule that has worked so satisfactorily, as Senator George has said, with very little being lost in some measures, and maybe time will heal what has been lost in the greater measures, yet I just can't conceive of filibustering on amending the Journal when there is an issue at stake that a great number feel should finally be voted on. I can't feature that myself and I am against that; I am going to tell you that now.
I think if we do nothing more in these hearings than to take out the amending of the Journal, and rule 6, and get at the meat of the matter, we have done something along the line of helping a little bit on this matter of filibustering. Of course we are never precluded the right of staying there and breaking up one if we can do it, but that is pretty hard to do. But I do think if we do progress and are aggressive that there ought to be some system of value based upon the safeguards. I think the Senate is going to pass in a few days upon a confirmation that is the most serious thing that has come before the Senate in years. That is the way I feel about it independently. There is no partisanship about it with me; there are no personalities about it. I just think it is a tremendous vote that is to be made. If we do that on a majority rule, why should we quarrel about these other things on a two-thirds rule, and if these others are so important under a two-thirds rule, why don't we confirm by a two-thirds rule. I can't get that out of my head.
Senator OVERTON. If, when that nomination comes up for debate, this rule should be in operation, a mere majority can shut off debate in 2 hours, and the matter cannot be properly presented.
Senator WHERRY. I understand that, Senator.
Senator OVERTON. I certainly think it is a question that ought to be debated for 2 or 3 weeks.
Senator WHERRY. Is there anyone in this room who would like to testify, who has not testified? (No response.) If there is no one here, and there has been ample notice given, I think we will consider these hearings closed. I think that the committee should have the transcript of the hearings printed immediately.
Senator HAYDEN. By all means.
Senator WHERRY. When that has been done we will call the committee into session, give them a chance to review the hearings and will make our recommendation.
We have several telegrams and letters which, without objection, will be included in the record. (The documents are as follows:)
THE COUNCIL FOR SOCIAL ACTION,
OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Washington 6, D. C., February 10, 1947. The Honorable KENNETH S. WHERRY,
Senate Office Building, Washington D. C. MY DEAR SENATOR WHERRY: Because you are chairman of the subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration to consider the matter of Senate rules regulating the filibuster, we wish to call your attention to a recent action of the legislative committee of the Council for Social Action of the Congregational Christian Churches.
Our church group has long been opposed to the continuation of the undemocratic procedure which permits the obstruction of the will of the majority of our highest legislative body. We therefore support any proposal which will modify the rules of the Senate in such a way as to make the filibuster impossible. We sincerely hope that the Committee on Rules and Administration will act upon this matter promptly and that the Senate itself will take this forward step in the extension of democracy. Very sincerely yours,
THOMAS B. KEEHN,
THE METHODIST FEDERATION FOR SOCIAL SERVICE,
New York 11, N. Y., February 7, 1947. Senator KENNETH S. WHERRY. Subcommittee Chairman, Senate Office Building,
Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR WHERRY: We urge you to use your good offices to report favorably on the antifilibuster resolution, Senate Resolutions 25, 30, 32, and 39.
The filibuster technique is rule of the minority and this is certainly not con: sistent with the necessary majority procedure in a democratic Nation.
We would like this letter to be made part of the official record.
JACK R. McMICHAEL,
NEW YORK, N. Y., February 11, 1947. Senator KENNETH S. WHERRY, Chairman, Subcommittee on Rules and Administration,
United States Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C.: The National Urban League, an interracial social work organization with local affiliates in 56 cities in 29 States, serving nearly one-half of the Negro population of the Nation, vigorously supports the antifilibuster resolutions now being considered by your committee. We unreservedly join all real Americans who consider it unthinkable in a democracy to permit any entrenched minority to thwart the expression of the will of a majority by preventing Congress from voting on an issue before it. We therefore urge a favorable report on the resolution.
NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE, LESTER B. GRANGER, Executive Secretary.
WASHINGTON, D, C., February 11, 1947. Senator KENNETH S. WHERRY,
Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C.: American Veterans Committee urges a favorable report on resolutions before subcommittee to end filibuster by majority vote in Senate. Majority rule is a basic 'American and democratic concept. Numerous bills basic to democratic process in America such as antipoll tax, antilynching, and FEPC have been defeated by a determined minority in Senate after some of these bills have been passed by overwhelming majority in House. In these cases a majority of Senate Members were publicly committed in favor such measures and willing to vote for passage but were denied such opportunity through filibuster tactics. Every citizen must be assured the fundamental right of ballot, employment, and security of life and limb. The continued use of the filibuster to defeat basic human-rights legislation underlines the importance of permitting the Senate to end tilibuster by majority vote. We would appreciate having this statement introduced in committee record.
CHARLES G. BOLTE, National Chairman, American Veterans Committee.
NEW YORK, N. Y., February 13, 1947. Senator KENNETH S. WHERRY, Chairman, Subcommittee on Antifilibuster Resolutions, Senate Committee on Rules and Administration,
Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C.: The American Jewish Congress strongly urges favorable action on antifilibuster resolution. Present rule to end debate requiring two-thirds approval contains technicalities which in effect permit unlimited discussion. To safeguard democratic process majority of Senate must be able to close debate after allowing reasonable opportuniy for full discussion. FEPC, antipoll tax, antilynching laws have been blocked by filibusters sabotaging majority rule. The fact that the cloture rule to end debate has been applied successfully only four times since adoption in 1917 proves necessity for reform. Would appreciate your making this statement part of the official record of hearings on the antifilibuster resolution.
Rabbi IRVING MILLER, Chairman, Executive Committee, American Jewish Congress.
NEW YORK, N. Y., February 22, 1947. Hon. KENNETH S. WHERRY, Subcommittee Chairman,
Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C.: The National Board of the Young Women's Christian Association is deeply concerned that every effort be made to eliminate devices which block democratic processes so essential in our form of government. Therefore, we wholeheartedly endorse Senate Resolutions 25, 30, 32, and 39 which aim to eliminate the filibuster and assure majority rule in our Federal legislature. We strongly urge that you lend your influence for a favorable report on the antifilibuster resolution and that this message be made part of the official record of the hearings on this vital legislation.
Mrs. ARTHUR FOREST ANDERSON,
President, National Board of the YWCA. Senator WHERRY. The hearings are now closed.
(Whereupon, at 3:50 p. m., the hearings in the above matter were closed.)
SUCCESSION TO THE PRESIDENCY
COMMITTEE ON RULES AND ADMINISTRATION
UNITED STATES SENATE
S. Con. Res. 1
PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT
AND THE VICE PRESIDENT
RESIGNATION, OR INABILITY BOTH OF THE
PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT
MARCH 7, 11, AND 12, 1947
Printed for the use of the Committee on Rules and Administration