This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Jay Nelson Tuck moderates.
Guest is New York's Former Governor and former Senator Honorable Herbert A. Lehman.
Lehman hopes the Rule 22 - the cloture rule - which is the only formal procedure that Senate rules provide for breaking a filibuster.
He speaks in favor of unseating Senator James Eastland.
Representative Walter is attempting to take immigration policies out of the hands of the Judiciary Committee and the Foreign Affairs committee and into the Un-American Activities Committee. He believes this would be a calamity and would immediately label every alien as a suspect or enemy of the country. Lehman calls the McCarran-Walter Act evil.
Asked about treatment of Negroes in the North and South, Lehman states that Negroes are denied equal education and the right to vote. This is indefensible. The restriction on voting rights is done in many ways, and has been exposed in Alabama recently.
Lehman thinks right-to-work laws are a terrible idea. The name is misleading. They don't give people the right to work or create new jobs, they are aimed largely on the desire to weaken the labor movement.
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 72133
Municipal archives id: LT8248
This is a machine-generated transcript. Text is unformatted and may contain errors.
Well right to work laws necessary to protect the individual labor then the nation's colleges if you look forward to any tangible form of aid from the Federal or State Government will the Senate change the filibuster rule the session the Senate labor rackets Committee and the necessary police force for the answers to these and other questions listen now to your city stations campus press conference each week at this time in this transcribed discussion editors of college newspapers questioning yours whether a personality our moderators a noted editor a newspaper man J. Nelson Tuck now to introduce the panel in tonight's guest here is Mr Tuck Good evening it seems to be a habit of many moderators to tell you that the person they are about to introduce is so well known to everyone that he needs no introduction then they go right ahead with a long introduction our guest tonight on campus press conference is one who surely needs no introduction to anyone within the sound of W N Y C S transmitter and I shall not take up time which could better be spent in listening to him by giving him money long one is New York's former governor and former senator the honorable Herbert H. layman here tonight QUESTION Governor layman I stand Siegel of the N.Y.U. square Journal Elaine Paul of the Hunter College Carol and Jim Farland that's Stubber both of the Fordham Law School student Bar Association Ed has the first question Governor Lehman What do you feel other prospects of the Senate changing the filibuster rule this session so as to prevent a prolonged debate well. I think it's going to be close and I hope so very great that it may be successful attempt the effort to change the rule twenty two under the present conditions. As you know it drew. Two thirds of the entire. Electorate body to the Senate that means that in the past it's. Six to Prague olds to bring about cloture. When as admitted as they will be next Saturday it will require sixty five. I've been I've been in the Senate for that many of them watched the proceedings long before that and I know that it's almost impossible to bring about cloture under the President's rule so that starting in one thousand nine hundred fifty two we introduced. A resolution is changing the rule twenty two so that cloture could be invoked. On a. Vote of two a majority of the members present at a session after a long debate you would have to give fifteen days of the day after that every senator would have the right to speak another hour and even before that it would take another three or four weeks of debate to bring up the the motion itself the result was that it was almost impossible. To do anything now under this new rule they still would have every senator would still have the right to debate the question of civil rights that is say or any other measure that might be before the Senate for a period of. At least six weeks and possibly two months before it would come to a vote which seems very ample to me in cases of great emergencies such as the war. It could be passed by two thirds majority within a period of two days but that would only be in cases of national emergency except for that in every instance where a motion of to close debate would be had there would be a debate for at least six weeks and possibly as I've said two months certain it would seem to me to be Apple time to disclose to dispose of and discuss every facet of any motion that might come yes sir there is no doubt that certain Southern senators have abused this present rule in regarding the passage of civil rights legislation but in spite of this don't you feel that the rule as presently constituted may have an valid application toward other matters which come before the Senate No I. Believe no man believes more strongly than I in full debate on any subject that comes before the Senate and if this was a question or a proposal that would to any practical extent limit debate I would be against it but as I've explained to you there will be the right given to every senator to debate. For a minimum of six weeks and possibly two months before a vote should be taken after cloture I believe and I speak from some experience both in the state legislature and then the and in the. Congress of the United States that that is sufficient time for anybody even the most captious place. To express his religion and try to influence not only his colleagues but public opinion and I think it's extremely important to weeks to to to influence public opinion to bring the facts home to the public Jim Well Governor another senatorial tradition that has been described as being an effective obstacle to effective civil rights legislation is the Senate seniority in the light of their recent campaign victories the northern liberals have been advised by many northern liberal journalists to get together and Riley presented seniority role to unseat Senator respond because now is their opportunity would you favor such and I certainly would and I when the nomination. Eastland was up. For approval by the Senate in one thousand nine hundred fifty six high spoke very very strongly against. His confirmation by the Senate in the in spite of the fact that he was sitting on that committee will there be any other senior senators that you would see in violation of the scene and maybe but I don't want to mention the name is because it wouldn't be fair I might amid some that I think should be right. But it's a bad rule I will say this in extenuation that nobody has proposed a rule that meets with General favor to substitute for the rule which is now in play do you have a fit what the theory is of course and there's it's it's based on some merit that if you do away with seniority they really only alternative is. To elect somebody who may be popular they have been gracious to themselves and there's always danger those circumstances and in in bringing in politics very strongly and into the picture that a man would be a lek did as chairman of the committee merely because of his is willingness to yield to one side or another of his principles too but generally speaking I'm heartily against the president's. Presence in Yardley rule because I've seen it work so so with such great calm I believe the proceedings in the Senate also would you favor do you agree with the often given Southern argument and I'm election of the Senate seniority rule or return us to the problem which the Senate seniority rule is set up to solve namely dealing among senators for oh I don't believe that's an option. We hear a lot of very very silly arguments raised against various measures stand. About a compromise measure that was offered by several of the senators from the Southern bloc that perhaps instead of voting on the closure measure two thirds. The present rule being two thirds of the total the proposed ruling being one half of those present. Rather have two thirds of those present and voting to vote on the closure. Do you think this rule has any possibility of going through yes I think that it has a possibility of going through that is the main compromise that has been offered by the southerners and those who favor the position of the seven S. And it's I think it will not have very strong support in the Senate. I do not think I will ever that it would take care of the situation as we've all observed it in the past after all it's been almost impossible to break a filibuster and while there would be some slight improvement by this proposed rule of two thirds of those present is STILL would require a very very top heavy majority to pass the average measure that was before the Senate I but I do think that but I know that that is the main. Main compromise measure that will be offered by the opponents of the. Proposed rule of changing the rule twenty two. And it has got a chance of going through there's no question about that I hope I hope that the bill that has been introduced or the amendment that has been introduced by Senator Douglas of Illinois and Humphrey Minnesotan case in New Jersey and Javitz of New York will prevail. While we are in the committees in Washington and changing procedures I was wondering I've heard that some Representative Walter is attempting to take the realm of passport and immigration out of the Foreign Relations Committee and into the House Un-American Activities Committee I was wondering if you would like to comment on the Un-American Activities of immigration but I very much like to comment on your question Elaine. For many years immigration is always. In the House of Representatives just not refer to the Senate to. A been assigned. To the to the Judiciary Committee passport control has always been. Assigned to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the house now Congressman laudable by the way is one of the co-authors of the evil McCown lover act the poses to take both of these activities out of the deal out of the Judiciary Committee on the one hand and the Foreign Affairs Committee on the other and place them in the Un-American Activities Committee I think it would have calamitous if that happened I think it would immediately label every area and as a suspect or a potential enemy of this country I think it would give us a tremendous black guy in all the foreign countries who have sent us immigrants from Hunt For hundred fifty years who have helped to build up this nation and who are among our best citizens here is also what I think caused great fear and great suspicion of our proud of stations of democratic principles among our foreign born and those descendants of our farms on the pool have shown the laws of this country and that where than this I don't know anything that I believe would do more harm than if this proposal was to for they all I I can't believe it will prevail and yet I know that an effort is being made a strong effort is being made to make that transfer I think it would be and my only wrong I think it would be politically wrong internationally and nationally wrong because it would as I say put in a stigma on all aliens in this country and all the specter of immigrants. Well Governor Lehman there has been a great deal of discussion about enacting more civil rights legislation in addition to the laws covering the right to vote now since you are not working off such legislation what civil rights do you feel that the Negroes in both the north and the south are being deprived on at this present time or I think they're being deprived of. A great number of civil rights the first place I think they're denied the right to have equal in the same education which is indefensible in my opinion second place which is almost equally as important they're denied the right to vote the possibility of voting it takes great courage now for a negro to say to go up to his registration agency and ask for the right to vote and if he does and said states is miss' said in other states in the south in the Deep South it is generally feels to. I don't know whether you followed the proceedings here just within the last two or three weeks in Alabama. Where there the new Civil Rights Commission appointed by the president. Held hearings and demanded the registration records to show. What happened to the of the requests for registration among the negroes it was virtually no there was virtually no. Certificates issued to the Negroes which would permit them to vote the number of Negroes today that have the right to vote is is is is tragically small and it's done of course through many devices is done through intimidation. It's it's it's done to the loss of their jobs is done to their to through. Their becoming even more unpopular in there in that localities and I think the right to vote high but I've said it's almost as equal almost as important as the right for equal in the same education I'm not sure that in the long run it's not even Martin for us and that Sir admitting that there have been abuses of the civil rights of Negroes don't you feel that we are in danger of becoming perhaps a police state if we attempt to legislate on all these possible areas of abuse I mean the abuse of minorities is almost a facet of human nature and just where do you draw the line between legitimate legislation designed to curb the abuse of minorities and the rights of people to choose to home they will associate with but that's an easy one to answer I'm not picking. Any particular. Marginal line all I'm asking for as far as as school integration is to say is that people of a the supreme law of the land as interpreted by the Supreme Court there's no question about it that that is the supreme law of the lad and so that we're not only doing it justice to minority groups but we have plotting the law. When we refuse to recognize that they simply say well we can make our own laws down here in this community that committed on this state or that state they haven't got that right we're all they're all American citizens of the states a part of the of the of the nation and the law and and the nation as spoken through it Supreme Court through its constitution first and secondly through an interpretation of the Constitution in declaring that it's unconstitutional. To refuse equal and the same education to Negroes as to whites and addition of that man I say that there are many other civil rights which I would like to fight for and I have fought for one is that protection of a man in uniform in the eyes of the United States Army stationed in the community attacked while on duty performing his official duties he must go into the state courts which are biased against him in many states not in New York state not in Pennsylvania not Minnesota on California but in many states of the Union we might just as well be frank about this and the chances of his of the his assailant being punished is very small I introduced a bill into the Senate some years ago making those offenses federal offenses so that they could be pursued and and prosecuted by the federal authorities. JIM Well governor in the light of the current epidemic of strikes labor relations seem to be a very important issue in the average person's mind and Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona described by the National Review as an outstanding conservative survivor the last election drew a great deal of applause from the American Farm Bureau Federation when he said and I quote the power of labor will have to be curbed I can't see any difference between corporations barons who used to buy elections at the turn of the century and labor unions today if it was wrong for corporation barons to buy elections at the turn of the century it is wrong for labor barons to do the same thing today if you care to comment on a state well or I know very broad Goldwater very well he's a charming man but you're very charitable when you want to rise him as a conservative I don't care if you're right rob them are stronger than that. And have