« PreviousContinue »
was adopted. The ordinance provided a compact between the States and the new territory; it established an orderly procedure for the States to be formed from the territory and to be admitted to the Union on a par with the original States. Under the Northwest Ordinance the "Bill of Rights" was treated as fundamental law, not subject to ordinary change as in the course of normal legislation.
Thus, in the first set of States created by the Confederation-later the United States-there was a clear recognition that the whole Nation, including the separate States, had an obligation to protect the rights of the citizens.
Those who fought for the Bill of Rights made no distinction between the rights of the citizen at the State level and the Federal level. They wanted the individual protected from all tyranny. Jefferson wrote to Madison:
A Bill of Rights is what the people are entitled to against every power on earth, general or particular.
Madison analyzed the arguments of those who opposed the Constitution without the Bill of Rights. He said:
The people who opposed it disliked it because it did not contain effectual provisions against the encroachment on particular rights and those safeguards which they have long been accustomed to have interposed between them and the magistrate who exercises the sovereign power.
George Mason of Virginia, one of the leaders in the fight against ratification, was quite clear in wanting the same rights guaranteed under State and Federal constitutions. He said:
There is no declaration of rights (in the proposed Constitution), and the laws of the general government being paramount to the laws and Constitution of the several States, the Declaration of Rights in the separate States are no security.
All of these efforts sprang from a deep sense of man's capacity to wrong his fellow man. As Rev. Mr. Allen of Pittsfield, Mass., wrote at the time:
Every man by nature has the seeds of tyranny deeply implanted within him. Let it not be said by future posterity that in this great, this noble, this glorious Constitution we made no provision against tyranny among ourselves.
Tyranny and governmental wrong are not the exclusive province of the Central Government. They are not even found primarily at that level. The sins of commission and omission will be found in every level of government from the
smallest hamlet to the mightiest cities and States, as well as in the great bulk of the Federal Government.
On those basic rights which we all hold as citizens of the United States there cannot be shades of difference according to our State of residence or the color of our skin or the country of our ancestors' origin. When, in the years following the Civil War, the Nation found that added protection was needed at the State level, it adopted the 14th and 15th amendments. I realize that for many years the Supreme Court narrowed the interpretation of those amendments, but I urge that my colleagues reread them, and reconsider them in the light of the original Bill of Rights and the determination of the Founding Fathers to insure the blessings of liberty to themselves and their posterity.
What does the 1st section of the 14th amendment say? It says that:
1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Mr. ELLENDER. Mr. President, will the Senator yield?
Mr. MUSKIE. I yield.
Mr. ELLENDER. Is the Senator aware of the reason why it was necessary to adopt the first part of the 14th amendment?
Mr. M KIE. I am interested in the Senator's reason.
Mr. ELLENDER. I stated it two or three times. I think it was in 1857 that the Dred Scott decision, with which I am sure the Senator is familiar, declared Negroes to be chattels and not citizens, that they could be sold the same as any other article that a farmer owned-land and other real property. Since the Negroes had no citizenship, it was necessary to adopt the first part of the 14th amendment.
I agree with the
Mr. MUSKIE. Senator.
Mr. ELLENDER. The Senator knows that before the adoption of that amendment some legislation was submitted which really gave to the Negro what the Senator and I would term civil rightsthis included civil or legal capacity to sue and be sued, to conclude contracts
and do all things that any sui juris person could. This is the real meaning of civil rights. The pending bill does not concern civil rights, but social relations.
That is the right to own property, the right to inherit it, the right to sell it, the right to lease it, the right to do anything one desires to do with it, provided it is not against the local laws. But lately we have added to the civil rights structure all the various titles which are contained in the bill; and we dub them civil rights, when they are not.
I am sure that the State of Maine will not be affected by this bill if it becomes law because, as I pointed out earlier in my colloquy with the Senator from Pennsylvania [Mr. CLARK], the drafters have seen fit to exempt the Northern States from its operation.
Mr. MUSKIE. Does the Senator from Louisiana agree with the objectives of the 14th and 15th amendments?
Mr. ELLENDER. I do, most certainly. Mr. MUSKIE. Then what we talking about is means, not goals?
Mr. ELLENDER. No; we have a different interpretation. The latter part of the 14th amendment applies to whatever a State might do to deny a right, not what the individual would do. That has been the interpretation by the courts on many occasions.
Mr. MUSKIE. The language of the 14th amendment is quite clear on that subject.
Mr. ELLENDER. The Senator is correct. As to State action, yes; but not as to individual action.
Mr. MUSKIE. Mr. President, what does the 15th amendment provide? It reads:
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
Congress is given the power to enforce both articles by appropriate legislation.
I believe in the importance of strong State Government. I believe in diffusing the base of power as broadly as possible in a democracy. I believe that the States should assume maximum responsibility in the protection of the rights of their citizens.
But I do not believe that the Constitution of the United States was designed or intended to protect those who would block the doors of public educational in
stitutions against the admission of qualifiled students because of race or color.
I do not believe the Constitution of the United States was designed or intended to protect those who would set different standards of qualifications for voters according to their race or color.
I do not believe that the Constitution of the United States was designed or intended to protect those who would deny equal protection of the laws to individual citizens because of race or color.
I do not believe that the Constitution of the United States was designed or intended to protect those who would discriminate against individuals in places of public accommodation because of race or color.
In words that will live as long as man cherishes freedom, the preamble to the Constitution declares that
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
With these words our Founding Fathers formulated for us a standard by which our actions must be judged for all time. These men dreamed of creating a society which would provide its members with the basis for living their lives to the fullest. We now face a major challenge to this society to determine whether it is at long last ready to give to a significant segment the rights they were told were theirs 100 years ago.
If we are to make our Union more perfect, we must eliminate all obstacles to equal opportunity. If we are to establish Justice, we must eradicate all injustices that deny men their dignity and human worth. If we are to insure domestic tranquillity, we must put an end to those practices which drive men into the streets in search of their rights. If we are to provide for the common defense, we must make all Americans proud to serve their country. If we are to promote the general welfare, we must make it possible for all Americans to gain the education and training necessary for them to find and obtain jobs utilizing their full potential.
And, finally, if we are to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, we must take steps to guarantee the equality of all Americans, regardless of race, creed, or color.
Coverage and Exemptions: Agricultural Exemption
EDITORS' NOTE: Congressman Rogers (D., Tex.) introduced an amendment exempting from the requirements of Title VII individuals engaged in agriculture or the operation of nonprofit irrigation waterways. The amendment was rejected
in a voice vote.
2-10-64 p. 2729
AMENDMENT OFFERED BY MR. ROGERS OF TEXAS
Mr. ROGERS of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.
The Clerk read as follows:
Amendment offered by Mr. ROGERS of Texas: On page 64, line 24, after "1954," add a comma and the following: "or (3) individuals engaged in agriculture or in connection with the operation or maintenance of ditches, canals, reservoirs, or waterways not owned or operated for profit, or operated on a sharecrop basis and which are used exclusively for supplying and storing water for agricultural purposes."
Mr. ROGERS of Texas. Mr. Chairman, this amendment is offered for the purpose of preventing the visitation of dire difficulties on some individual farmers and ranchers in this country. I am sure it must have been an oversight on the part of those who drafted the legislation; however, the danger is present regardless of who is at fault. The act, as written, would be applicable to any individual engaged in agricultural pursuits, including water projects such as irrigation and reclamation projects devoted solely to agricultural purposes. This would mean individual farmers and ranchers could be required to comply with all facets of this measure, such as keeping all necessary records, making all reports, and complying generally with the many burdens placed upon the largest corporation. Many of these people do not have the time nor the financial means to comply with this act. In fact, they do not have the time to understand and fill out all of the reports desired by the Federal Government and the State governments under other laws. To
add to this burden is to subject these private individuals who are law-abiding, taxpaying citizens, wanting to exercise their freedom under the Constitution and make a living for their families, to difficulties, trials, and tribulations never intended under our theory of government.
The amendment is offered in the identical language used in the Fair Labor Standards Act to exempt those engaged in agricultural pursuits. It seems to me that, if the exemption is applicable under the Fair Labor Standards Act, it should be applicable under this or any other act. You will note that on page 64 the term "employer" includes everyone-individual, partnership. and corporation-except the United States, a corporation wholly owned by the Government of the United States, or a State or political subdivision thereof, and it also includes a bona fide private membership club-other than a labor organization-which is exempt from taxation under section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954. My amendment would simply add a third exemption, to include individuals engaged in agriculture. As I pointed out, this is the same exemption included in the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Unless this amendment is adopted and this exemption included, every farmer and rancher who is required to employ more than the minimum number permitted in the bill, for even the shortest period to do emergency work or to harvest the crops, would be covered by the act. This would be true, even though the work was temporary and the employment was made necessary by an emergency situation that would mean the loss of the crop to the farmer or the loss of a herd to the rancher, unless such employment was provided. These
individuals, who could aptly be called the family-sized farmers, have a difficult burden as it is to make a living for themselves and their families and to pay their taxes to help support the Federal Government. If you add to this burden it will mean that many of these farmers would simply throw up their hands in frustration and leave the farms. This would add to the unemployment situation which has been such a tragic problem for so many years.
I have tried to slow down this headlong rush into uncharted seas, which is
Coverage and Exemptions: Atheist Exemption
EDITORS' NOTE: The House adopted an amendment, deleted from the final bill, that would have permitted employers to refuse to hire atheists. The amendment was introduced by Congressman Ashbrook (R., Ohio).
2-8-64 p. 2607
AMENDMENT OFFERED BY MR. ASHBROOK
Mr. ASHBROOK. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.
The Clerk read as follows:
Amendment offered by Mr. ASHBROOK: On page 70, line 10, after the word "enterprise" insert a new section:
"(f) Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, it shall not be an unlawful employment practice for an employer to refuse to hire and employ any person because of said person's atheistic practices and beliefs."
Mr. ASHBROOK. Mr. Chairman, I have heard it said time and time again that we are not endeavoring to include all types of discrimination in this title and in this bill. However, we are prescribing very definite and positive requirements on employers.
If I may have the attention of the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, I should like to propound a question to him, because if my interpretation of the bill is incorrect I shall gladly withdraw my amendment.
I would like to propound just one question. I am thinking in terms of a private enterprise for profit, which would be covered by this bill. A man comes for employment and the employer is honest enough to tell the applicant, while he is otherwise qualified, he will not hire anyone of atheistic convictions. The man then uses his remedies provided by this measure. It is my interpretation of the bill that as a part of his civil rights purported to be extended by this FEPC title, he could allege he has been discriminated against and proceed against the employer.
I wonder if the chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary could give me his interpretation of this. As I said, if
I am wrong, I will gladly withdraw my amendment.
Mr. CELLER. The bill provides there can be no discrimination on the ground of religion. That is the answer I have to give you.
Mr. ASHBROOK. So if I do not want to hire an atheist, I can be forced to hire one?
Mr. CELLER. Not necessarily. It all depends on the surrounding circumstances. If the employer deliberately discriminates against a person because of his religion, although he may be otherwise qualified and all other things being considered, he may run afoul of the law. But just because he is an atheist would be no reason why there should be any discrimination, whether he be a Catholic, a Protestant, or a Jew. It all depends on the facts and circumstances in the case.
Mr. ASHBROOK. I think you have answered my question. I have stipulated that the man would be otherwise qualified and he has been honestly told this is why he would not receive the position.
Mr. CELLER. There is no need for your amendment.
Mr. ASHBROOK. This would be a practice which the employer could not do, according to what you said. He could not discriminate against a person because he is an atheist. Is that correct?
Mr. CELLER. That is correct.
Mr. ASHBROOK. That is what my amendment would endeavor to do; that is, to say the employer could discriminate because of the atheistic practices or beliefs of an applicant for a job. My amendment would seem to speak for itself, and I certainly encourage everyone to support it. It seems incredible that we would even seriously consider forcing an employer to hire an atheist. This is one of the booby traps in the bill which the sponsors have very glibly alleged did not exist.