The two portions of this bill to which I have constantly and consistently voiced objections, and which are of such overriding significance that they are determinative of my vote on the entire measure, are those which would embark the Federal Government on a regulatory course of action with regard to private enterprise in the area of so-called public accommodations and in the area of employment—to be more specific, titles II and VII of the bill. I find no constitutional basis for the exercise of Federal regulatory authority in either of these areas; and I believe the attempted usurpation of such power to be a grave threat to the very essence of our basic system of government; namely, that of a constitutional republic in which 50 sovereign States have reserved to themselves and to the people those powers not specifically granted to the Central or Federal Government.
By its attempt to regulate and govern the private businesses, which are miscalled public accommodations in the bill, this proposal would inject the Government into the most sensitive areas of human contractual relations—agreements for personal services. In so doing, constitutional interpretations of long standing are being swept aside in favor of tortuous rationalizations which studiously ignore the constitutionally-forbidden imposition of involuntary servitude on citizens
I say further that for this great legislative body to ignore the Constitution and the fundamental concepts of our governmental system is to act in a manner which could ultimately destroy the freedom of all American citizens, including the freedoms of the very persons whose feelings and whose liberties are the major subject of this legislation.
These reports, of course, deal only with the surface exposure of Communist influence in the Negro movement. The actual extent and degree, while obviously substantial, remain unknown, for Congress has chosen to pretend that there is no such problem, even while methodically and relentlessly seeking to satisfy the demands of the very militant groups in which the Communist influence exists. Mr. President, the Nation, and even the Congress, once its hypnotic trance has passed, will find that in this bill are the seeds of destruction of a political system which has served its people better than has any other ever devised.
This bill would renounce the safe, proper, and acceptable role for Government as a referee of disputes between the governed. It would interpose the Government as a biased protagonist, armed with the awesome authority of the Federal Government, in addition to rulemaking and umpire powers. The broad grants of power to the Attorney General to initiate and intervene in civil actions would go far toward transforming him into George Orwell’s ‘Big Brother’ of ‘1984,’ in the year 1964.
…this bill will require the creation of a Federal police force of mammoth proportions. It also bids fair to result in the development of an ‘informer’ psychology in great areas of our national life—neighbors spying on neighbors, workers spying on workers, business spying on businessmen—were those who would harass their fellow citizens for selfish and narrow purposes will have ample inducement to do so. These, the Federal police force an ‘informer’ psychology, are the hallmarks of the police state and landmarks in the destruction of a free society.
Mr. President, passage of this bill will visit the heel of oppression on all the people, vitiate their constitutional shield against tyranny, and materially hasten the destruction of the best design for self-government yet devised by the minds of men. Its passage will mark one of the darkest days in history
This bill, by vesting the power to withhold or terminate Federal funds, creates a concentration of power of economic coercion unequaled in the history of governments—a power concentration which defies the experience of mankind with the temptation of power to corrupt.
[Health labeling on cigarette packs] would interfere with freedom
Now, if there is a real purpose to be accomplished by what you ask here from a safety standpoint, then you have my vote. But if the only purpose is to set up something that you say is going to be another police force, like they had in Germany and Russia, to inspect other policemen…then I say we are wasting our time.