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Senator Javits. Is there any other comment, Governor, you wish to make on the bill?
Governor CHAFEE. No. I thank you very much for inviting me down, and I would hope the committee would give some consideration to these points I did raise, which are not specifically concerned with the bill but are concerned with the whole discrimination problem.
Senator Javits. Thank you very much, Governor. We appreciate your testimony. It has been very constructive, very helpful, and will help us greatly in our deliberations.
The subcommittee will stand in recess until 2:30.
(Whereupon, at 1 p.m., the subcommittee recessed until 2:30 p.m., the same day.)
AFTERNOON SESSION Senator Ervin (presiding). The subcommittee will come to order. Counsel will call the first witness.
Mr. AUTRY. Mr. Chairman, the first witness this afternoon is John Stemmons, vice chairman of the Legislative Committee of the Texas Real Estate Association, Austin, Tex.
Mr. Stemmons' appearance here has been scheduled at the request of Senator Tower.
Mr. Stemmons, if you would please identify your associates for the record.
STATEMENT OF JOHN M. STEMMONS, VICE CHAIRMAN, LEGISLA
TIVE COMMITTEE, TEXAS REAL ESTATE ASSOCIATION; ACCOMPANIED BY H. W. BAHNMANN, PRESIDENT, TEXAS REAL ESTATE ASSOCIATION; GEORGE A. McCANSE, PAST PRESIDENT, TEXAS REAL ESTATE ASSOCIATION; AND VINCENT J. SCHMITT, PAST PRESIDENT, TEXAS REAL ESTATE ASSOCIATION
Mr. STEMMONS. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I am John M. Stemmons, of Dallas, Tex., a member of and representing the Texas Real Estate Association, an organization of real estate people numbering over 10,000 in the State of Texas.
With your permission, Mr. Chairman, I will present my associates: Mr. H. W. Bahnmann, from Harlingen, Tex., who is president of the association; Mr. George McCanse, from Houston, Tex., who is a past president of the association; and Mr. Vincent Schmitt, from Texas City, Tex., who also is a past president of the association. We
appear here, Mr. Chairman, in opposition to title IV of Senate bill 3296. We contend that government should not deny, limit, or abridge, directly or indirectly, the fundamental right of every person to sell, lease, or rent real property.
Our country has become and remained great because we have held highest two great principles: the inviolateness of the right of the individual and the right to hold private property. There are, of course, limits to all rights. No man is entitled to create a panic which might bring about a calamity such as screaming "fire” in the public theater, and no man can have the right to use of his property to the great detriment of his neighbors. We contend the bill under consideration does not deal with those problems.
It is our solemn belief that the individual American property owner, regardless of race, color, or creed, must be allowed, under law, to retain the right of privacy; the right to choose his own friends; the right to own and enjoy property; the right to occupy and dispose of property without governmental interference; the right of all equally to enjoy property without interference by laws giving special privilege to any group or groups; the right to contract with a real estate broker or other representative of his choice and to authorize him to act for him according to his instructions; the right to determine the acceptability and desirability of any prospective buyer or tenant of his property; the right of every American to choose who in his opinion are congenial tenants in any property he owns—to maintain the stability and security of his income; the right to enjoy the freedom to accept, reject, negotiate, or not negotiate with others. Loss of these rights diminishes personal freedom and creates a springboard for further erosion of liberty.
This country has been a melting pot where ethnic groups have developed competence, stature, and respect by their deeds, not by legislation. We urge you to defeat this vicious bill which would rob us of our birthright.
We appreciate the opportunity to appear before your committee and if there are any questions that you have, we would, of course, endeavor to answer them.
Senator Ervin. If I interpret the testimony of the Attorney General right, and the Attorney General speaks for the administration, the purpose of the bill is to promote what the administration conceives to be the welfare of nonwhites. Do you think there is any justification for depriving 190 million people of their basic rights of private property for the benefit of any group of Americans ?
Mr. STEMMONS. Mr. Chairman, I do not feel that the Negro has any more right than the white man has. I do not feel that the Catholic has any more right than the Protestant has. I think that such legislation as has been proposed here will take away these rights and create literally a Gestapo that would impinge upon every right that we as free people have.
Senator Ervin. Is it not true that, when you pass legislation for the benefit of certain groups of our population, you are destroying rather than promoting equality ?
Mr. STEMMONS. You are destroying the freedom, sir, in my opinion.
Senator Ervin. Do you not agree with me that the most precious value of civilization is freedom?
Mr. STEMMONS. I do, sir.
Senator ERVIN. And this bill would give some Americans the right to compel unwilling owners to sell and rent property to them contrary to the owners wishes.
Mr. STEMMONS. Mr. Chairman, it would boomerang against all Americans.
Senator Ervin. Now, for example, this bill says that no owner can discriminate against any person in the sale or rental of property on the basis of race or national origin or religion. Now, I wish you would tell me what is inherently wrong for a member of the Jewish faith, who owns a house in the midst of a residential community, inhabited by other members of the Jewish faith, to decide that he would rather sell that dwelling to a member of his own faith rather than a member of some other faith? What is inherently wrong in a man having that privilege?
Mr. STEMMONS. There is nothing inherently wrong with it. It is his privilege, sir.
Senator Ervin. There is nothing inherently wrong with it. Yet under title IV, if that man exercised a perfectly natural preference for a member of his own religion over a person of another religion or no religion, he could be subject to a lawsuit in which he could be assessed an unlimited amount of damages, could he not?
Mr. STEMMONS. Yes, sir. I do not think, Mr. Chairman, that I should be forced to live next to an Episcopalian if I do not want to live next to one, or an Englishman or a Chinaman or a Negro.
Senator Ervin. Certainly no man ought to be given the legal right to compel you to sell your property to him if you do not want to sell it to him.
Mr. STEMMONS. Certainly not. It takes away my birthright.
Senator Ervin. Do you not think the right of private property is an inherent right that the Americans have, in the sense that, if you do not have the right to private property, you have no method of enjoying your other rights? Mr. STEMMONS. This is correct, sir.
Senator ERVIN. Now, in my State, we have several churches which have erected at their own expense, or by use of contributions of their members, homes for the aged members of their denominations, particularly for their retired ministers. Under this bill, if some atheist or a Communist who did not belong to those churches wanted to, he could make these churches rent him an apartment in those buildings, could he not?
Mr. STEMMONS. Yes, sir, by the provision of the establishment of the-I call it the Gestapo under the Attorney General.
Senator Ervin. Now, on what kind of basis should the Government of the United States assume the power of saying to people of a particular faith that "you are not going to be pernitted to rent your property to members of your faith when your property was constructed with that purpose in view”?
Mr. STEMMONS. There is no basis.
Senator Ervin. Can you think of anything that will do more to destroy the freedom of the American people than the provisions of this law?
Mr. STEMMONS. I think the enactment of this bill would take away our freedom and our birthright.
Senator Ervin. I have to answer a rollcall. I will be back just as quickly as I can make a trip to the Senate floor and back. In the meantime, counsel would like to ask a couple of questions?
Mr. AUTRY. Mr. Stemmons, there is in the bill, as you probably know, a prohibition against discrimination in what is called "multiple-listing services.” Do you use “multiple-listing" services in Texas? I think we need to define this for the record.
Mr. STEMMONS. Well, I am generally familiar with it. Primarily, my business in the real estate business is that of a land developer; therefore, I am not a member of a multiple listing service, though there are multiple listing services in most of the cities of Texas. The multiple listing service is an agency of the profession itself wherein there is pooled the listings, primarily on residential property, so that there can be a better exposure of this property to people who would be interested in buying it.
Mr. AUTRY. Thank you, sir. ì think that will be most helpful to the subcommittee.
You say you are a land developer. Is that about the same as a home builder!
Mr. STEMMENS. Counsel, I actually am an industrial land developer. Most of my work is industrial land development in Dallas, Tex.
Mr. AUTRY. Thank you.
Senator Ervin. On behalf of the subcommittee, Mr. Stemmons, I want to thank you for making your appearance here and giving us the benefit of your views on this bill.
Mr. STEMMONS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We appreciate, very much, your many courtesies, sir.
Mr. AUTRY. Mr. Chairman, the next witness for today is Mr. W. B. Hicks, Jr., executive secretary of the Liberty Lobby, Washington, D.C.
STATEMENT OF W. B. HICKS, JR., EXECUTIVE SECRETARY,
LIBERTY LOBBY, WASHINGTON, D.C. Mr. Hicks. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I am W. B. Hicks, Jr., executive secretary of Liberty Lobby. I am here to present the views of our board of policy, in the name of the 175,000 subscribers to our monthly legislative report, Liberty Letter.
Liberty Lobby is opposed to so-called civil rights laws—at least, we do not believe that such legislation is good-primarily because this type of legislation is doing more harm to peaceful relations between the races than all the prejudices and bigotries of the people. These laws are having the cumulative effect of establishing massive and dangerous illusions in the minds of the American people, black and white alike.
With the passage of each new civil rights law, white Americans feel less and less responsble for the welfare of their less fortunate colored neighbors; and more and more convinced that the special protections contained in these laws constitute, in fact, special privileges for one class of Americans. Black Americans, on the other hand, seem to suffer from the illusion that, somehow, the mere passage of a new law is going to create a whole new world of comfort, affluence, and satisfaction of the desire not to be too obviously different from other people.
It is here that the danger lies in this kind of legislation, because, when it becomes apparent to all that this kind of law cannot produce the results that the Negro desires, the black American is going to be the most frustrated of all human beings, and the white American, who has passed one law after another in an effort to satisfy those desires, is going to be completely unsympathetic with the Negro at the time when sympathy will be most needed.
In sum, a civil rights law can have a negative effect on the minds of the American people, but it cannot change their minds in a positive way, or increase the power of their minds to cope with the problems of life. But it can increase the power of the police to control and interfere with the daily lives of Americans of all races, and this is the second general objective of Liberty Lobby to so-called civil rights laws.
Liberty Lobby's specific objections to this year's civil rights proposals are:
1. Title I: This title of the bill purports to forbid any discrimination in Federal court jury selection, but actually requires prospective jurors to give information on race, sex, and religion for entry on records that could be used to accomplish any kind of discrimination desired by the Federal jury officials. Certainly, this is a law that is more likely to be used for jury “packing" than to avoid discrimination. We urge this committee to recommend against that part of title I which provides for the recording of such information.
Senator Ervin. If you will pardon me for interrupting, what business is it of the Federal Government what the religion of a particular juror is?
Mr. Hicks. Sir, I can think of no business that the Federal Government has with this information, but I can certainly think of possible monkey business that might go on if they have it, and that is exactly the reason why we recommend that such information not be made available to jury officials.
2. Title II: This is a law which admits of just about any interpretation that one chooses to give to the phrase "undue discretion to determine” juror qualifications. Obviously, it can be used for political reasons to prevent the establishment of so-called blue ribbon juries in cases where political interests and politicians are involved. Liberty Lobby points out that such cases happen to be one of the most common instances of the use of blue ribbon juries. Furthermore, it is highly unlikely that such a law will accomplish much racial balance in juries sitting on racial cases, since juror challenges for cause are not touched by the law. Again, as in most civil rights laws, much is promised and expected, but little is changed except, as in this case, another precious
right of local government is lost. 3. Title III: Liberty Lobby feels that the courts of the Nation are already open to any legitimate complainant under existing law, and that the powers granted the Attorney General under this title are not needed.
4. Title IV: Liberty Lobby feels that title IV is not only quite unconstitutional on the face of it; but we believe that this title will do much to set back race relations in America. A distinguished member of our board of policy, Dr. Alfred Avins, has written the following statement of our objections to title IV.
Implicit in antidiscrimination legislation in housing is the “conflict between reserved private rights such as freedom of association and nonassociation, and nondiscrimination.'” The traditional rights of freedom of choice and association, long thought so inviolate as not to require formal embodiment in constitutional or statutory guarantees, have now been evaporated by the preemption of laws passed without