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The bill would carry out many of the proposals of the Civil Rights Commission.
In going over the report of the Commission on Civil Rights, I would say that virtually every enforcement provision of the present bill merely carries out a recommendation previously made by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
In the first place, the bill is designed to improve the selection of juries in both State and Federal courts. Jury lists are sometimes manipulated in a strange and wonderful way to obtain virtually all white juries or such overwhelmingly white juries as to make any other representation merely token and of no account. Our bill provides for a representative cross section of the population on jury lists, and to avoid discrimination on grounds of race or color in the selection of juries.
We, in effect, provide for a broad list, and then selection within this list by lot, with the proviso that the representation of any race should not be less than two-thirds the proportion which that racial group has in the population.
In other words, if 20 percent of the population of the State is Negro, that on the list not less than 13 percent should be from the Negro race. Very frankly, Mr. Chairman, I think this should also include the Latin Americans of the Southwest, who in many respects are treated as badly as Negroes. We are interested in the protection of all minority groups, and in a jury system which will not be weighted against them or weighted against any group.
That is buttressed by provisions which would set up jury commissions in each Federal district court, which would put into effect a sampling plan subject to the approval of the Director of the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts which would furnish a representative cross section of the population of the Federal district without exclusion on the basis of race, color, sex, religious or political affiliation, or economic or social status.
In addition, literacy tests are banned for Federal juries, but the judge may exclude illiterate jurors from particular cases where reading is a significant factor, except that no person shall be excluded on this ground who has completed the sixth grade in an English language school.
With regard to the State courts, when a Federal district court finds that there has been discrimination on the ground of race, or color, the Director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts would take over and would administer the selection of juries under the Federal system created by this act, and he might use the Federal jury list if that were practical. In other words, discrimination on grounds of race or color is the trigger for Federal action, but where this discrimination is found, the jury rules for fair juries apply.
These can be ordered into effect only by a Federal judge and upon appeal of the Attorney General. Of course, the assistance of the Bureau of Census can be called upon in the preparation of representative cross sections of the population.
The second feature is an extremely important one because it makes it possible for the Federal courts to have jurisdiction of certain crimes when Federal prosecution is necessary to assure equal protection of the laws. That may seem to some to be a very radical proposal, but I would like to read from the report of the Civil Rights Commission for 1963, page 125, recommendation No. 4. The Commission recommended:
That Congress amend Section 1443 of Title 28 of the United States Code to permit removal by the defendant of a state civil action or criminal prosecution to a district court of the United States in cases where the defendant cannot, in the state court, secure his civil rights because of the written or decisional laws of the state or because of the acts of individuals administering or affecting its judicial process.
So, we are merely carrying into effect the very important recommendation on this point by the Civil Rights Commission. That was a unanimous recommendation.
If we may put this in simple terms, perhaps I should list the objective criteria for determining whether or not there is discrimination in State courts. Such discrimination would be judged to exist:
Where members of the racial or color group are: 1. Systematically excluded from jury service.
2. Systematically denied the franchise in elections for judges, prosecuting officials, states attorneys.
3. Systematically segregated or discriminated against in jails, police stations, courts or other public buildings relating to the administration of justice.
4. Systematically subjected to harsher punishments upon conviction.
5. Systematically subjected to more onerous terms or conditions of bail or conditional release.
We have tried to spell out five objective criteria which the several district courts may follow in determining whether or not a civil rights case should be transferred within a given jurisdiction from a State to a Federal court.
There must be proof of such a segregated system of justice, and in the second place, à certificate by the Attorney General of the United States for prosecution in the Federal court would fulfill the responsibility of the U.S. Government to assure equal protection of the laws.
Under similar circumstances, the Attorney General may remove to Federal court a case which has already been commenced in a State
Under our bill these provisions last for only 10 years and expire on the first of January 1975, or perhaps more technically speaking, 10 years after the date of enactment of this measure.
We hope that this will stimulate the States to purify their own jury systems and to improve their own systems of justice so that the transfer of jurisdiction need not occur in many cases, but will be held in reserve and be employed only if the States and the civil subdivisions thereof continue to be derelict.
(At this point of the proceedings, Senator Smathers entered the committee room.)
This title would also amend section 241 of the United States Code to broaden Federal offenses in the area of civil rights. It is believed that this broadening of Federal offenses may be the least important part of the title. But we submit, Mr. Chairman, the killer of a civil rights worker ought to be tried for the crime of murder in a Federal court rather than for depriving someone of his constitutional rights, which is the main avenue of approach now. Basically, that is what this title does.
In addition, we have part III which really restores the original title III of the 1957 civil rights bill. This provides preventive relief in the form of injunctions to those who exercise rights under the 14th amendment to the Constitution. As I have said, this is in a sense the old title III or part III of the 1957 bill, which was debated before the Senate for many weeks, and upon which there was a rather close
It permits an individual or the Attorney General to obtain injunctions against violations of constitutional rights. This is now true in many circumstances, such as segregation in the schools, segregation in public facilities, the denial of voting rights, and the rest; but the proposed authority would also provide protection against police violence and private violence, and do it in advance, rather than to have, as so often occurs at present, futile subsequent trials almost universally resulting in acquittal.
The fourth title provides for the removal of defendants in certain cases from State to Federal district courts. What I discussed before was where a person guilty of attacks, offenses, could have their cases transferred and the other is where defendants can have their cases transferred. This is where a county or other political subdivision provides a segregated and discriminatory system of justice, and the criteria are the same as those which I have already mentioned.
Where a county or other political subdivision provides a segregated and discriminatory system of justice, those who attack Negroes and civil rights workers have almost universally done so with impunity, while Negroes and civil rights workers who themselves are charged with crimes have not received fair trials.
Just as title II of this bill provides for the prosecution in the Federal courts of those who attack Negroes and civil rights workers in areas of segregated justice, to title IV permits the removal to Federal courts of Negroes and civil rights workers who are subjected to prosecution in such areas.
A somewhat novel feature is introduced by title V, which I think is crucial. It provides for civil indemnification awards by a Federal board in certain cases where a person is injured in his person or property or is deprived of his life while he is lawfully exercising rights protected by the Constitution. This would be done by creating an indemnification board within the Civil Rights Commission to indemnify persons killed or injured or who have lost their property because of lawful civil rights activities. I emphasize lawful civil rights activities. Just as the Federal Government assists those who have served their country, and just as States provide compensation for injured workmen, so those hurt in the struggle for civil rights should also be compensated.
Under this title, the Federal Government would make payments to the injured person and would then have the right to collect such payments from the person or persons who caused the injury and from the State or political subdivision where the injury was caused by a person acting under color of law.
The idea that persons injured by unlawful acts should be allowed to bear the full burden of their losses, physical and financial, is being gradually replaced by the idea that the community owes some responsibility to those people. This proposal is an attempt to apply that principle to the field of civil rights.
Title VI provides that the FEPC provisions of the 1964 Civil Rights Act shall now be made applicable to State and local governmental units. It is only by integrating State and local personnel engaged in the administration of justice that equal protection of the laws can be a reality.
As I have stated, the Civil Rights Commission supports most of these provisions.
A recent study by the Southern Regional Council cites 93 deaths, arising out of civil rights activities, between 1955 and 1965.
The American Friends Service Committee, the National Council of Churches, and the Southern Regional Council have documented more than 500 cases of violence in civil rights matters from January 1961 to May 1965.
The Civil Rights Commission reports 150 serious racial incidents in Mississippi.
The NAACP has forwarded hundreds of complaints to the Department of Justice.
I do not call the roll of these complaints, though I have some of the most prominent cases here, for the reasons I have mentioned; but the solid evidence indicates that there is a need for action. It may be that not every feature of the bill is perfect, but I hope that it will be seriously considered, not only by the committee, but also by the general public, and that we shall recognize the deep practical problem which underlies this whole matter.
We sometimes say that justice delayed is justice denied; but justice which operates under the threat of fear, intimidation, physical violence, and other improper pressures is a justice which largely tends to be inoperative, justice which sometimes proceeds on the assumption that not the murderer but the murdered is guilty. We can enact all the laws we want; the courts can hand down all the decisions they wish; but if there is no will to obey these decisions and if those who resort to the crudest of methods and then deny them and are often almost certain to be freed in any court before which they may be brought, we have an inoperative system.
I do not believe anyone is more desirous of preserving the functions of localities than I am. I started my political life in a humble way as an alderman of a city. I have always felt the importance of local self-government.
It is my sincere hope that this threat of the removal of cases to the Federal court may serve as such a stimulus to State action that it will be seldom invoked.
I live in the hope that a new spirit is rising in the country underneath the ashes, and that more and more the American people in their hearts want to make these principles of equal rights a reality and are not condemning people because of their race or color.
This requires to a certain degree a good deal of change in our thoughts. My mind
goes back to 1956 when we were able to get only six votes in the Senate for a civil rights measure. However, something was started with that discussion which helped to bear some fruit in 1957, 1960, 1963, 1964, and 1965. I hope that the measure we have introduced may have a somewhat similar effect.
And now may I take up title IV of the administration's bill which deals with housing? Many southern advocates of segregated schools have reproached us northerners who have supported the Supreme Court decisions on desegregation, and who have tried to give them practical vitality, with being insincere and, in fact, hypocrites. They told us and they still tell us, "You are opposed to legal segregation of the schools in the South but you defend de facto segregation in the North.” First, let me say that de facto segregation is not as bad as legal segregation since in school districts, in mixed neighborhoods, the schools are desegregated while in legally segregated school districts a change in neighborhood conditions cannot produce an increase in desegregation, without taking legal action.
Nevertheless, de facto segregation is not desirable and we should proceed in the North to practical desegregation. Our support of title IV, of the administration's bill, should be proof that we are not hyprocrites and that we are willing to apply to ourselves what we prescribe for the South.
For the large degree of de facto segregation in the big cities of the North is due to the practice of tightly compacted Negro and Latin American neighborhoods. Elementary schools must, in the main, follow neighborhood patterns because of the necessity that a child should not have to walk too far to his school. On the whole, a 15minute walk is about as far as a child should be asked to travel on his way from home to school. Perhaps 10 minutes would be a more convenient radius. The distance for high school students can be greater, but even here there are limits. If virtually all the homes in the neighborhood are lived in by people of one race, then in practice the schools will be attended by the children of that race. That is why all Negro neighborhoods give rise to all Negro schools and all Latin American neighborhoods create all Latin American schools. That is the fundamental reason behind de facto segregation in the big cities in the North.
Now, to a certain degree, many, though not all of the people of the same race like to live ether since they share a large number of common interests and possess much the same background. What Franklin H. Giddings of Columbia used to call “The consciousness of kind" acts as a cohesive force to hold such communities together and to produce as a voluntary derivative a large degree of racial similarity in the people who live in the same neighborhood and whose children attend the same schools. No law should interfere with this voluntary type of residence provided it is truly voluntary and not forced or compulsory.
But there will be some who, for one reason or another, will want to live in a neighborhood lived in largely by those of another race or other races. If landlords, however, will not rent or sell houses to them solely because of their color, the minority groups will be held against their will in segregated neighborhoods and they will be forced together by iron bands. And their children will be forced to attend schools which-naturally enough—will also be largely segregated. If the minority groups are also economically poor, as they so often are, the children will suffer from the disadvantages of poverty and it will be hard for the schools to compensate for this lack.
As long as potential buyers and tenants of homes are not considered on their merits in the sale and renting of homes but are discriminated against solely or primarily because of their race, then we will have de facto segregation in the schools and we will justifiably lay ourselves open to the charge of implicit hypocrisy.
But let it be understood that the adoption of fair renting or home selling practices does not mean that tenants or purchasers must be accepted merely because they are members of a minority race. If they are of a bad moral character, their applications for renting or