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From the moment the President’s omnibus
Civil Rights Bill was introduced in June,
the entire resources of the Federal Government
have been thrown behind its support.
As a consequence, many Americans
have heard only a case for the bill.
This commentary is an attempt to present
the other side.
VIRGINIA COMMISSION ON CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT
Travelers Building, Richmond, Virginia
CIVIL RIGHTS AND LEGAL WRONGS
The logic is said to go something like this: All decent Ameri-
cans should support good things. All decent Americans should op-
pose bad things. Racial discrimination is a bad thing. Bills to prohibit
racial discrimination are good things. The President's pending Civil
Rights Bill is intended to prohibit racial discrimination. Therefore,
his bill is a good thing, and all decent Americans should support it.
If this were all there were to it—if the problem were as simple
as A plus B, and therefore C—nothing could be gained by further
discussion of the President's proposal. All decent Americans would
be of one mind.
But the problems that have produced this bill are not easy prob-
lems, and the bill is not a simple bill. One of the great distinctions of
the American system is that we try always to distinguish between
the means and the end—between the goal itself, and the way in
which a goal is reached. Such careful distinctions need to be made
in this case.
We believe this bill is a very bad bill. In our view, the means
here proposed are the wrong means. The weapons the President
would contrive against race prejudice are the wrong weapons. In
the name of achieving certain “rights” for one group of citizens, this
bill would impose some fateful compulsions on another group of
citizens. The bill may be well-intentioned—we question no man’s
motivation in supporting it—but good intentions are not enough. In
this area, we need good law. And the President's bill, in our view, is
plain bad law.
‘That is perhaps the least that could be said of it. In our judg-
ment, this bill violates the Constitution in half a dozen different
It would tend to destroy the States’ control of their own voting
It would stretch the Commerce Clause beyond recognition.
It wrongly would invoke the 14th Amendment.
It would undermine the most precious rights of property.
It would raise grave questions of a citizen's right to jury trial.
The bill would open new doors to the forces of government
And in the end, because of the violence that would be done to
fundamental law, Americans of every race would suffer equal harm.
The emotionalism of this turbulent summer is largely respon-
sible for the serious attention now given the bill and for the eminent
voices raised in its behalf. In a calmer climate, the bill’s defects
would be readily apparent. But this is not a calm time; it is a pas-
sionate time, and dispassionate thought comes hard. What is here
proposed, in this brief pamphlet, is simply that we sit down and
reason together. Those of us who strongly oppose the bill believe our
position is sound. We should like to explain this position to you.
THE BILL ITSELF
Mr. Kennedy's omnibus Civil Rights Bill of 1963 (S. 1731) is
divided into seven major titles. Briefly:
e Title I relates to “voting rights.” It would place elaborate
new controls upon the States’ constitutional authority to
fix the qualifications of voters.
e Title II relates to “public accommodations.” It would com-
pel the owner of almost every business establishment in
the United States to serve all persons regardless of race.
e Title III, relating to the “desegregation of public educa-
tion,” would vest sweeping new powers in the U. S. Com-
missioner of Education and the Attorney General to deal
with “racial imbalance” in schools throughout the country.
e Title IV would set up a new Federal agency, the “Com-
munity Relations Service.”
e Title V would continue the Commission on Civil Rights
until 1967, and endow it with broad new authority.
e Title VI amends all statutes providing financial assistance
by the United States by grant, contract, loans, surance,
guaranty, or otherwise. It would permit such assistance to
be suspended upon a finding of racial or religious discrimi-
e Title VII authorizes the President to create a “Commission
on Equal Employment Opportunity,” possessed of “such
powers as may be conferred upon it by the President” to
prevent discrimination under contracts in programs or ac-
tivities receiving direct or indirect financial assistance from
the United States government.
This is what the bill is all about. At first glance, perhaps, many
persons may see nothing wrong in the several proposals. In this
emotional hour, one is tempted to leap from a sincere conviction
that discrimination is wrong, to a false conclusion that a Federal
law is the proper way to prevent it. We do not believe the intensely
personal problems of racial feeling can be solved by any Federal law;
the roots go deeper than Congress can reach. In any event, we be-
lieve that whatever might be gained by this particular Federal law,
if anything, the positive harm that would be done to constitutional
government would far outweigh the hypothetical good.
TITLE I—VOTING RIGHTS
In the United States, beyond all question, the right to vote is
just that—a right to vote. For most Americans, probably the ancient
right of property ranks first in their daily lives; it is the oldest right
of all. But as political beings, they view the right to vote as basic.
As the President has said, it is ultimately the right on which the
security of al] other rights depends.
A moment's reflection, however, reminds us that the right to
vote is not an absolute right. Children cannot vote. Lunatics cannot
vote. Certain convicts cannot vote. Beyond these obvious limitations,
it is evident that persons in Virginia cannot vote for a Senator from
New York. Residents of Albany cannot vote for the City Council of
Schenectady. And the man who moves to Manhattan on a Monday
cannot vote for the Mayor on Tuesday. These are elementary con-
siderations, of course, but it does no harm to spell them out.
Why is all this so? It is because the right to vote, though it is
described in the 15th Amendment as a right accruing to “citizens of
the United States,” is in its exercise a right accruing to citizens of
the several separate States. It never should be forgotten that when-
ever we vote, we vote as citizens of our States. We never vote
nationally. We are always, at the polls, Virginians, New Yorkers,
Texans, Missourians. As voters, we are never “Americans.” The
idea is hard to get accustomed to; but it is so. The Constitution makes
Three provisions of the Constitution merit attention. First, the
15th Amendment. It is very short:
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.
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by ap-
The briefest perusal of Mr. Kennedy's pending Civil Rights
Bill will disclose that some of its most important provisions are not
related to the denial or abridgment.of the right to vote “on account
of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” The 15th Amend-
ment is not relied upon at all. If the bill were based clearly upon the
Fifteenth, the position of the Virginia Commission would be wholly
different. We might object that a bill along these lines were unwise,
or unwarranted; but we would not oppose it as unconstitutional. No.
In its provisions relating to a standard literacy test, and in other
provisions, the administration's bill has nothing to do with State
deprivals in the area of “race, color, or previous condition of servi-
tude.” This bill applies to all citizens, everywhere.
Therefore, other provisions of the Constitution come into play.
The first of these provisions appears in the second paragraph of
Article I. It tells us who shall be qualified to vote in what often are
termed Federal elections—that is, who shall be qualified to vote for
members of the Congress. It reads:
The House of Representatives shall be composed of mem-
bers chosen every second year by the people of the several
States, and the electors in each State shall have the qualifica-
tions requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of
the State legislature. [Emphasis supplied].
visions quoted. The bill would prohibit the use by any State of a
literacy test unless such tests met Federal requirements—unless the
tests were “wholly in writing” and unless a copy of such test were
furnished the individual registrant “within 25 days of the submission
of his written request.” Beyond this, the bill would provide that
State literacy tests were of no consequence anyhow: Any person who
had completed the sixth grade in a public school or an accredited
private school would arbitrarily be deemed to possess “sufficient litera-
cy, comprehension, and intelligence to vote in any Federal election.”
We take no position here on the merits of these proposals as
such. They are as may be. Our contention is that such proposals
plainly deal with the qualifications of electors in the several States.
These proposals have nothing whatever to do with the “times, places,
and manner of holding elections.” In our view, they are simply be-
yond the authority of the Congress to enact. They plainly encroach
upon the power of each State to fix “qualifications requisite for
electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislature.”
The President’s bill continues with a provision aimed at certain -
of the Southern States, in which—in a scattering of counties—fewer
than 15 percent of the adult Negroes have registered to vote. The
Virginia Commission would make its own position clear: We have
no patience with conspiracies or chicanery or acts of intimidation _
intended to deny genuinely qualified Negroes the right to vote. We
have no patience with acts of bland partisanship that may give the
vote to certain white persons and prohibit the vote to Negroes of
equal stature. Wherever such acts have occurred, they are to be
emphatically condemned. We do say this: There is abundant law
on the books—there was abundant law on the books even prior to
enactment of the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1960—to prohibit
and to punish such willful acts by local registrars. All that is re-
quired is that the existing laws be enforced. If the Congress some-
how is persuaded that still further Jaw is required to enforce the
15th Amendment, the Virginia Commission will raise no constitutional
objection. In the area of “race, color, or previous condition of ser-
vitude,” the Amendment plainly vests in Congress the power to
adopt appropriate legislation.
We come back to the larger point. The key provisions of Title
I, as a whole, have nothing to do with “race, color, or previous con-
dition of servitude.” These provisions assert, on the part of the
There are two other such provisions, but it is needless to quote
them. The second proviso impales the smallest hotdog stand upon
the transportation of its mustard. There is not a neighborhood soda
fountain in American, not a dress shop, not a hat shop, not a beauty
parlor, not a single place or establishment beyond the tiniest roadside
stand of which it may be said that a substantial portion of its goods,
held out for sale or use, has not moved in interstate commerce.
We would urge thoughtful Americans, wherever they may live,
whatever their views may be on questions of race relations, to ponder
the twisted construction here placed upon the Commerce Clause.
When the Congress first began to regulate “commerce among the
several States,” the object was to regulate the carriers in which the
goods were hauled. In time, a second area of regulation developed, as
the nature of the goods themselves came into the congressional power.
Then a third area developed, as Congress sought to regulate the
conditions under which the goods themselves were manufactured.
In this bill, a fourth area is opened up. It is as wide as the
world. Here the Congress proposes to impose a requirement to serve.
Heretofore, such a requirement has been imposed solely in the area
of public service corporations—the telephone companies, electric
power companies, gas and water companies—the companies that op-
erate as regulated public utilities. Now the restricted class of public
service corporations is to be swept aside. Here Clancy's Grill and
Mrs. Murphy’s Hat Shoppe are equated with AT&T. The neighbor-
hood drug store is treated as the gas company: It must serve. Within
the realm of Section 202, the owner has no option, no right of
choice. Yes, he may reject drunks, rowdies, deadbeats. But his right
to discriminate by reason of race or religion—or any other related
personal reason—is denied him under the pain of Federal injunction
and the threat of prison sentence for contempt of court.
At this point in our argument the Virginia Commission would
beg the closest attention: We do not propose to defend racial dis-
crimination. We do defend, with all the power at our command, the
citizen’s right to discriminate. However shocking the proposition may
sound at first impression, we submit that under one name or another,
this is what the Constitution, in part at least, is all about. This
right is vital to the American system. If this be destroyed, the whole
basis of individual liberty is destroyed. The American system does
not rest upon some “right to be right,” as some legislative majority
may define what is “right.” Jt rests solidly upon the individual's right
to be wrong—upon his right in his personal life to be capricious, ar-
bitrary, prejudiced, biased, opinionated, unreasonable—upon his right
to act as a free man in a free society.
We plead your indulgence. Whether this right be called the
right of free choice, or the right of free association, or the right to be
let alone, or the right of a free market place, this right is essential. Its
spirit permeates the Constitution. Its exercise colors our entire life.
When a man buys union-made products, for that reason alone, as op-
posed to non-union products, he discriminates. When a Virginian buys
cigarettes made in Virginia, for that reason alone, as opposed to cig-
arettes made in Kentucky or North Carolina, he discriminates. When
a housewife buys a nationally advertised lipstick, for that reason
alone, as opposed to an unknown brand, she discriminates. When her
husband buys an American automobile, for that reason alone, as
opposed to a European automobile, he discriminates. Every one of
these acts of “discrimination” imposes some burden upon interstate
The examples could be endlessly multiplied. Every reader of
this discussion will think up his own examples from the oranges of
Florida to the potatoes of Idaho. And the right to discriminate ob-
viously does not end with questions of commerce. The man who
blindly votes a straight Democratic ticket, or a straight Republican
ticket, is engaged in discrimination. He is not concerned with the
color of an opponent's skin; he is concerned with the color of
his party. Merit has nothing to do with it. The man who
habitually buys the Times instead of the Herald Tribune, or Life
instead of Look, or listens to Mr. Bernstein instead of to Mr. Presley,
is engaged in discrimination. Without pausing to chop logic, he is
bringing to bear the accumulated experience—the prejudice, if you
please—of a lifetime. Some non-union goods may be better than some
union goods; some Democrats may be better than some Republicans;
some issues of Look may be better than some issues of Life. None of
this matters. In a free society, these choices—these acts of prejudice,
or discrimination, or arbitrary judgment—universally have been re-
garded as a man’s right to make on his own.
The vice of Mr. Kennedy's Title II is that it tends to destroy
this concept by creating a pattern for Federal intervention. For the
first time, outside the fully accepted area of public utilities, this bill
undertakes to lay down a compulsion to sell.
We raise the point: If there can constitutionally be a compul-
sion to sell, why cannot there be, with equal justification, a compul-
sion to buy? In theory, the bill is concerned with “burdens on and
obstructions to” commerce. In theory, the owner of the neighbor-
hood restaurant imposes an intolerable burden upon interstate com-
merce if he refuses to serve a white or Negro customer, as the case
may be. But let us suppose that by obeying some injunction to serve
a Negro patron, the proprietor of Clancy’s Grill thereby loses the
trade of ten white patrons. In the South, such a consequence is en-
tirely likelv; it has been demonstrated in the case of Southern movie
houses. Can it be said that the refusal of the ten whites imposes no
burden on interstate commerce? Plainly, these ten intransigent
customers, under the theory of this bill, have imposed ten times
as great a burden on commerce among the several States. Shall they,
then, be compelled to return to Clancy's for their meals? Where _
does this line of reasoning lead us?
How would all this be enforced? Under Title I, the At-
tornev General would be required to investigate complaints of denial
of service. Persistent acts of discrimination would be prohibited by
Federal injunctions, obtained in the name of the United States. Any
person who attempted to interfere with Clancy's decision would be
subject to individual injunction. And at the end of every such pro-
ceeding lies the threat of fine or imprisonment for contempt of court.
There would be no jury trials.
This has been a very abbreviated summary of the “public ac-
commodations” features of the President’s bill. A definitive analysis
could be much extended. Not only is the Commerce Clause distorted
beyond recognition, the provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment
also are warped to cover individual action as opposed to State action.
Our hypothetical Clancy could not call upon the police to eject an
unwanted customer, trespassing upon his booths and tables. Reliance
upon local police to enforce old laws of trespass, under this bill, would
be regarded as an exercise of “State action.” Clancy has become the
State. Like Louis of old, he too may say, “L’état, c'est moi.”
TITLE III—DESEGREGATION OF
Title TI of the President's bill goes far beyond all decisions of
the Supreme Court in the field of school desegregation, for it im-
plicitly couples the formal desegregation of public schools in the
South with the elimination of “racial imbalance” in schools through-
out the land. The bill proposes to achieve these aims by vesting
broad new powers in the Commissioner of Education and the Attor-
ney General. Even private schools, if their pupils received tuition
grants from a governmental source, would be brought into line.
The opening provisions of Title III authorize the Commissioner,
upon application from local school officials, to engage in a wide varie-
ty of programs of advice, technical assistance, grants, loans, contracts,
and training institutes. The Commissioner would control the
amounts, terms, and conditions of such grants. They would be paid
on the terms he prescribed. He alone would fix all “rules and
regulations” for carrying out these programs to promote desegregation
and to relieve “racial imbalance.”
Presumably, the authority of Congress to promote this busywork
for the Commissioner is to be found in the fifth section of the 14th
Amendment. This is the section that empowers Congress to adopt
“appropriate legislation” in support of the Equal Protection Clause.
If the Equal Protection Clause truly were intended to prohibit a
State from maintaining racially separate public schools, such legisla-
tion perhaps would be “appropriate.” The history of public educa-
tion in the United States, in the years immediately following the
purported ratification of the 14th Amendment in 1868, utterly denies
any such intention. To this day, no law of the United States re-
quires desegregation. These programs of the Commissioner of Educa-
tion are cart before horse; they are the sort of programs that would
implement a law if there were a law; but there is no law. There is
the Supreme Court's opinion of 1954 in Brown v. Board of Education,
and there are other high court opinions emanating from it, but im-
pressive and historic as these decisions may be, they are still no more
than judgments binding named defendants in particular lawsuits.
It should be emphasized, again, that these decisions have noth-
ing to do with “racial imbalance” in public schools. They are limited
to judgments requiring that the States shall not deny to any person
on account of race the right to attend any school it maintains. The
shifting of students from school to school in order to “remove racial
imbalance,” with or without Federal aid and regulation, is not
within the ambit of the desegregation decisions. Under this gross
distortion of the 14th Amendment, school children throughout the
country would become pawns in a game of power politics.
It seems to us desirable to keep this distinction in mind, between
laws enacted by the Congress, and judgments imposed by the court.
The Constitution is the supreme law of the land, but when the
court acts in a suit arising under the Constitution it acts judicially,
not legislatively. If local school boards throughout the South are to
be prohibited by law from maintaining separate school systems, a law
must be passed “pursuant to the Constitution” to impose such a pro-
hibition. Until then, any such grants and loans and training pro-
grams as these would appear premature. And we would take the
position, in the light of the history of the 14th Amendment, that such
a law would not be “pursuant to the Constitution.” It would violate
the plain intention both of those who framed the amendment and
also of the States that ratihed it. Such legislation would not be “ap-
Meanwhile, we do not intend to be captious or legalistic. The
Brown decision has been treated as if it were indeed legislation. For
good or ill, the desegregation of public schools proceeds, These partic-
ular provisions of Title III are better subject to criticism simply as
manifestations of the bureaucratic Federal sprawl.
More serious, in our view, are the provisions of Title III that
would vest elaborate new powers in the Attorney General. The ef-
fect of these provisions would be to throw the entire massive weight
of the Department of Justice, with its unlimited resources, into the
scales of almost any parent in search of a free lawsuit. The basic
complaint would be that some local school board “had failed to
achieve desegregation.” But as we have tried to point out, in the
overwhelming majority of school districts in the South, there is now
no legal requirement that local school boards even attempt to
achieve desegregation. Before there can be a failure of a duty, there
must first be a duty. These provisions of the bill simply assume the
duty, and leap to its failure.
Our apprehension is that the awesome power here proposed, for
a proliferation of suits “in the name of the United States,” would
create more turmoil than it would settle. The “orderly progress of
egation in public education” would not be enhanced, but im-
paired, as resentments were stirred up that otherwise might be peace-
fully resolved. And we cannot see the end to the bureaucracy that
could be required to prosecute suits “in the name of the United
cedent were set in the single area of school de-
States,” once this pre
TITLE IV—ESTABLISHMENT OF
COMMUNITY RELATIONS SERVICE
This title would create a new Federal agency, the “Community
Relations Service,” headed by a director at $20,000 a year. Presuma-
bly, it would fulfill some functions not now fulfilled by the Civil
Rights Commission, the President's Fair Employment Practices Com-
mittee, the established churches and various civic bodies, the count-
less racial commissions around the country, and the civil rights divi-
sion of the Department of Justice. The duties of this Service would
be “to provide assistance to communities and persons therein in
resolving disputes, disagreements, or difficulties relating to discrimina-
tory practices.” [Emphasis supplied].
We are not inclined to haggle over the amount of time, energy
and money that might be wasted by one more Federal agency in the
civil rights field. We do call attention to the italicized language. In
our own view, it simply is not the function of Congress, under any
provisions of the United States Constitution, to dispatch Federal
agents to countless communities in order to resolve racial disagree-
ments among “persons therein.”
TITLE V—COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS
The Virginia Commission on Constitutional Government ex-
presses neither opposition to nor support of Title V of the President's
bill. This portion of the bill would extend the life of the Commission
on Civil Rights to November 30, 1967, and would lay down certain
standardized rules for its further hearings and investigations.
In our own view, the Commission on Civil Rights has contri-
buted little or nothing toward the unraveling of the knotty tangles of
race relations in the United States. Its recommendations in the spring
of 1963, proposing the withdrawal of grants, loans, and even con-
tracts from Southern States that did not meet its own notions of right
conduct, amounted to an outrageous proposal for denial of the very
equal protections it professes to support. We perceive no useful
achievements of this Commission, but we raise no constitutional ob-
jections to its continuance.
TITLE VI—NONDISCRIMINATION IN
FEDERALLY ASSISTED PROGRAMS
Title VI of the President's bill is not long. It had perhaps best
be quoted in full:
Sec. 601. Notwithstanding any provisions to the contrary in
any law of the United States providing or authorizing direct or
indirect financial assistance for or in connection with any
program or activity by way of grant, contract, loan, insurance,
guaranty, or otherwise, no such Jaw shall be interpreted as re-
quiring that such financial assistance shall be furnished in cir-
cumstances under which individuals participating in or bene-
fitting from the program or activity are discriminated against
on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin or
are denied participation or benefits therein on the ground of
race, color, religion, or national origin. All contracts made in
connection with any such program or activity shall contain
such conditions as the President may prescribe for the pur-
ose of assuring that there shall be no discrimination in em-
ployment by any contractor or subcontractor on the ground
of race, color, religion, or national origin. [Emphasis sup-
The thinly veiled intimidation of Title VI goes back to a state-
ment made by Attorney General Robert Kennedy in London in
October of 1962. At that time, he speculated publicly that a threat
to withdraw Federal subsidies, grants, loans, and contracts might be
used as a club over the Southern States. Mr. Kennedy was quick to
point out that such a threat would have to be used with great delicacy.
He seemed unsure of its desirability. He did not defend its consti-
tutionality. He was just thinking aloud.
‘In April of 1963, the Civil Rights Commission evidenced no
such finesse. The Commission recommended flatly to the President
that he seek power to suspend or cancel either all, or selected parts of,
the Federal financial aid that now flows to such States as Mississippi,
“until [such States] comply with the Constitution and Jaws of the
United States.” It was unclear precisely how a judicial determina-
tion would be reached that entire States had failed to comply with
the Constitution and laws of the United States, but this small ques-
tion of due process apparently troubled the Commission not at all.
The question troubled Mr. Kennedy. In his press conference of
April 17, the President blinked at this startling proposal and turned
away from it:
I don’t have the power to cut off aid in a general way as was
proposed by the Civil Rights Commission, and I would think
it would probably be unwise to give the President of the
United States that kind of power because it could start in one
State and for one reason or another might be moved to
another State which has not measured up as the President
would like to see it measure up in one way or another.
It is a fair question to ask what happened. What happened be-
tween April 17, when the President voiced these comments at his
press conference, and June 19, when his majority leader introduced
his Civil Rights Bill? How did a power that was “probably unwise”
in April become a power that was “essential” in June? The obvious
answer is that the interim was marked by widespread racial demon-
strations. But it is not pleasant to conclude that the President of the
United States may be coerced, intimidated, or black jacked into
changing his mind so swiftly on a legislative proposal of fateful im-
portance. What happened?
We earnestly submit that the punitive terms of Title VI of this
bill threaten gross violation of every principle of due process of law.
No provision whatever is made for determining when individuals
“participating in or benefitting from” various programs are “discrimi-
nated against.” The two sentences of this Title define no terms. They
propose no judicial inquiry. They leave hundreds of millions of dol-
lars in “Federal funds,” paid for by all of the people—black, white,
Liberal, Conservative—at the uncontrolled discretion of the President
or someone else who may determine this “discrimination.”
These programs include aid to dependent children, aid to the
blind, aid to the permanently disabled. They include funds for vo-
cational education, hospital construction, public housing, the insur-
ance of bank deposits. Federal personnel would be authorized to super-
vise loans by banks and building and loan associations, farm financ-
ing of all kinds, government subsidies, conservation programs, small
business loans and contracts in any activity affected by government
loans, insurance, guaranties, or grants. If a Federal agency made an
administrative finding that discrimination exists, Federal support
could be withdrawn and the institution or program wrecked.
To permit a President—any President—to suspend such programs
on his own unchecked conclusion that certain beneficiaries are “dis-
criminated against” would violate the whole spirit of uniformity
that pervades the Constitution. The supreme law of our land provides
that “direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States ac-
cording to their respective numbers.” Duties, imposts and excises
“shall be uniform throughout the United States.” There. must be a
“uniform rule of naturalization” and “uniform laws on the subject of
bankruptcies.” Many other provisions attest this same concept of
equal treatment among the States.
Only by a fantastic distortion of the congressional power under
the 14th and 15th Amendments could this Title VI be justified. Its
effect would be to penalize the many for the occasional unlawful
conduct of the few. Its potential application would jeopardize the
very lives and well-being of thousands of innocent and law-abiding
persons, including veterans, blind persons, and disabled persons, in
order to bludgeon a handful of State officials into line with a Presi-
It seems to us sufficient merely to quote the language of this
tyrannical Title of the President's bill. The language speaks most
eloquently for itself.
TITLE VII—COMMISSION ON EQUAL
This final substantive section of the bill authorizes the Presi-
dent to establish a “Commission on Equal Employment Opportuni-
ty.” This permanent agency of the government would be headed by
the Vice President; the Secretary of Labor would serve as vice chair-
man. There would be up to 15 members in all. An executive vice
chairman would run the operation. The Commission would be em-
powered to employ “such other personnel as may be necessary.” The
bill defines the commission's duties:
It shall be the function of the Commission to prevent discrimi-
nation against employees or applicants for employment be-
cause of race, color, religion, or national origin by Govern-
ment contractors and sub contractors, and by contractors and
sub contractors participating in programs or activities in which
direct or indirect financial assistance by the United States
Government is provided by way of grant, contract, loan, in-
surance, guaranty, or otherwise. The Commission shall have
such powers to effectuate the purposes of this title as may be
conferred upon it by the President. The President may also
confer upon the Commission such powers as he deems appro-
priate to prevent discrimination on the ground of race, color,
religion, or national origin in Government employment. [Em-
Again, it seems to us necessary merely to quote the provisions
of the bill in order to make their autocratic nature evident to every
thoughtful observer. The power here proposed to be conferred upon
the President is virtually unlimited. No legislative limitations of any
sort are suggested. The President may confer upon the Commission
“such powers as he deems appropriate.” And whether these include
the power to impose criminal sanctions, or to seek civil injunctions,
or to abrogate contracts awarded under sealed bid, no man can
say. The Commission’s powers would be whatever the President re-
garded as appropriate; and the definition of “government employ-
ment” is as wide as the Federal budget itself. The administration's
bill proposes, in effect, that the Congress abdicate, and turn its legis-
lative powers over to the White House. The powers here demanded
are not the powers rightfully to be exercised by a President in a free
country. These are the powers of a despot.
* + *
There is a final Title VII in the bill, authorizing the appropria-
tion of “such sums as are necessary to carry out the provisions of this
Act.” What these sums might amount to, again, no man can say.
This is the package Mr. Kennedy has asked of the Congress.
He has asked it in an emotional hour, under the pressures of dem-
onstrators who have taken violently to the streets, torch in hand.
We of the Virginia Commission ask your quiet consideration of
the bill. And we ask you to communicate your wishes to the members
of the Congress who represent you in the House and Senate.
Members of the Virginia Commission on
Davip J. Mays, Chairman, Richmond, Va.
Attorney; Pulitzer Prize winner for historical biography.
James J. Kivpatrick, Vice Chairman, Richmond, Va.
Editor, The Richmond News Leader; author.
ALpertis S. Harrison, JR., Richmond, Va.
Ex-officio member of Commission; Governor, Common-
wealth of Virginia.
E. ALMeER AMES, JR., Onancock, Va.
Attorney; member Virginia Senate; Vice-President and
Director, First National Bank, Onancock, Va.
Hate Cotuins, Covington, Va.
Attorney; member Virginia Senate.
W.C. (Dan) Daniet, Danville, Va.
Business executive; member Virginia House of Delegates;
past National Commander, American Legion.
Joun A. K. Donovan, Falls Church, Va.
Attorney; member Virginia Senate; General Counsel and
Director, Security National Bank, Fairfax County, Va.
J. Secar Gravatt, Blackstone, Va.
Attorney; Trial Justice for Nottoway County, Va.
Freperick T. Gray, Richmond, Va.
Attorney; former Attorney General of Virginia.
Burr P. Harrison, Winchester, Va.
Attorney; former member of the United States Congress.
Epcar R. Larrerty, Jr., King William, Va.
Business executive; farmer.
Garnett S. Moore, Pulaski, Va.
Attorney; member Virginia House of Delegates.
Wiutam T. Muse, Richmond, Va.
Dean, T. C. Williams School of Law, University of
W. Roy Smrru, Petersburg, Va.
Business executive; member Virginia House of Delegates.
W. Carrincton THomrson, Chatham, Va.
Attorney; member Virginia House of Delegates.
Witi1am L. WinsTon, Arlington, Va.
Attorney; member Virginia House of Delegates.