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to the House to protect both the constitutional rights of the individual, in accordance with the Robel decision, and the security needs of our defense industries as well.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of this committee for scheduling rapid consideration of these bills and appreciate the opportunity to submit testimony on behalf of H.R. 15018.
Mr. Tuck. Thank you, sir. We appreciate very much your coming over here and giving the committee the benefit of your views.
Mr. Wilson. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Tuck. I agree with you that the decision is a very unfortunate one. I hope that it—that the bill, or at least one of the bills now under consideration, may contain a provision that will enable us to revise the standard set by the Supreme Court in the opinion.
I would like to ask you this question, whether or not you have given any thought and consideration to the powers of the Congress to include a provision in this legislation, and in all other legislation, or a general provision in the law, making it so that no act of Congress and no provision of any of the State constitutions can be declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States, unless at least seven members of the Court concur.
I understand, and I think everyone does, that the Supreme Court has the power to interpret the Constitution, but the question in my mind is, does not the Congress have the power to determine the number of votes by which that is done?
Do you have any thoughts on that subject?
Mr. WILSON. I should think that this would be one means of seeing that we are getting majority decisions by the Supreme Court. I understand that some of the decisions are obviously the work of the minority and, I believe, are ill timed.
Speaking to this bill, Mr. Chairman, I have a number of defense plants in my district and I have spoken with the presidents of these firms, and they are genuinely concerned about their lack of control of employment of individuals that they would just prefer not to have in their plants, from a security standpoint.
And I honestly believe that the mere existence of a bill of this type would be beneficial, that many of the problems that they now have on security clearances would disappear with passage of this bill.
Mr. Tuck. It seems to me, as one member of this committee, that many actions by the Supreme Court of the United States since Mr. Warren became the Chief Justice are opening up the floodgates to harmful, malicious forces, out to destroy this country, including the Communists, the executive department, and the Supreme Court; and unless something is done, there won't be any Constitution left, or anything else. And I am in favor of taking whatever action may be necessary to curb this Court and to stay its hand and stop it from rendering these foolish decisions that are destroying everything that we hold dear in America, for which our men surrendered their lives and spilled their blood on the battlefields of the world.
Mr. Wilson. Well I think Congress has been at fault in giving up its prerogatives which it has under the Constitution, not only to the judiciary, but to the executive branch as well.
We have quite a problem in the Armed Services Committee with the Defense Department dictating, making legislative decisions, and
certainly the judiciary and the Supreme Court have been making legislative decisions that are really the prerogative of Congress. And I would certainly support any move to try to clarify just how much authority the Supreme Court has over the Congress and, likewise, how much authority the executive has over the Congress.
I think it has been the fault of Congress in the past, in many instances, that we have just let both the courts and the executive run over us.
Mr. Tuck. Yes. I certainly agree with you and I am a strong adherent to the view that it is in the highest public interest to have three separate, equal, and coordinate branches of the Government. It seems to me that the Supreme Court has usurped the powers that are delegated to the Congress, in many instances, and also some of the powers delegated to the executive.
Mr. Wilson. Well, this minor piece of legislation-and it is relatively minor-I think it could very well lead the way in indicating that the Congress goes around a Supreme Court decision and finds a means, legislatively, to achieve our end, and I think it is important that we do these things.
Mr. Tuck. Well we certainly thank you very much and we are delighted to have had the privilege of inviting you back to your old home, this fine meeting room here.
Mr. Wilson. Thank you.
Mr. Tuck. And the Committee on Un-American Activities is glad to have you. We hope that your new quarters are even better, if possible.
Mr. Wilson. No, I think this is a much better room than we have. Thank you.
Mr. TUCK. Now we have another distinguished Member of the House of Representatives, my neighbor and colleague, the Honorable David N. Henderson, of North Carolina.
You may proceed, Mr. Henderson.
STATEMENT OF HON. DAVID N. HENDERSON, A U.S. REPRESENTA
TIVE FROM NORTH CAROLINA
Mr. HENDERSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
It is a little strange to address you that way. We know you and love you as a Governor of our neighboring State of Virginia.
I appreciate the opportunity to appear here in support of H.R. 15626, Mr. Chairman, and have a very brief statement in support,
if I may
I want to make my position clear. My constituency in the Third Congressional District of North Carolina is not composed primarily of experts in the field of constitutional law. Nor is it composed of liberal law professors, politically appointed judges, or sophisticated theorists.
My constituents are ordinary, hard-working, taxpaying citizens who love their country, who support it against all enemies, both foreign and domestic, and who cannot understand why we cannot or should not prohibit by law a member of the Communist Party of the United States from being employed in work directly related to the military defense of our Nation.
Mr. Tuck. Now right at that point, I don't like to disagree with the distinguished Supreme Court of the United States. Maybe they might be right about the right of association. You may have the right to associate with anyone, but if you do associate with someone who is bad, why then it seems to me that you have the right not to associate with them.
Mr. HENDERSON. I certainly agree, Mr. Chairman.
I might also say at this point that I am sure that I would not have to convince the chairman, who visits eastern North Carolina as often as you do, about the sentiments of my people, but, for the record, I am delighted to have made the statement I did.
Mr. Tuck. Yes, I may say at that point that I am well acquainted with the territory represented by the gentleman from North Carolina and well acquainted with many of its citizens, a great number of whom have made themselves distinguished in the field of government, industry, and in the cultural world. It is a very beautiful, picturesque, and serene section of our country. And whenever I have the privilege of visiting that port of North Carolina, I come back with a renewed appreciation of our great country, and particularly the Old North State.
Mr. HENDERSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I am certain that the argument will continue to be advanced that we are attempting to exercise “thought control” to suppress freedom of thought, and all sorts of similar contentions,
It seems to me that somewhere, sometime, we must face the fundamental question, "How long are we going to permit avowed enemies of our constitutional form of government to advocate its violent overthrow?" At the present time, not only have we failed to attach any criminal penalties to membership in the Communist Party, but by permitting known Communists to be gainfully employed by defense contractors, we are literally feeding the hand which bites us.
Mr. Chairman, of course I recognize the long interest of you and other members of this committee, your very fine staff, in the pursuit of the objective that I have in mind.
Now in the case of United States v. Robel, decided December 11, 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the provisions of the Subversive Activities Control Act of 1950 were unconstitutional when applied in such a manner as to deny employment to Robel, a known member of the Communist Party of the United States, at the Todd Shipyards Corporation in Seattle, Washington, which had been designated by the Secretary of Defense as a “defense facility” as that term is defined in the act.
Among other points mentioned by the Court was the fact that the Subversive Activities Control Act was too broad; that it did not establish meaningful standards for the designation of defense facilities by the Secretary of Defense, or provide specific authority for the Secretary of Defense to establish personnel screening facilities, including the regulation of the privileges of confrontation and crossexamination.
Frankly I cannot escape the conclusion that the Court in this case, as in so many others in a similar vein, was engaging in judicial nit picking of the nth degree, but I hope that in H.R. 15626 we have effectively provided for these nits to be eliminated.
Thank you for your courtesy.
Mr. Chairman, I might add that, as a member of the House Post Office and Civil Service Committee, as well as chairman of the Manpower and Civil Service Subcommittee, I feel strongly that the right to Federal employment should be controlled by the laws and regulations, laws of Congress and regulations that would be adopted by the executive pursuant thereto.
I would like to assure you and the members of the committee that if, in your deliberations, you feel that there is legislation that could support you in your effort that might be introduced in the area of civil service employment, I would be delighted to have such advice and will certainly sponsor any legislation that your very distinguished Un-American Activities Committee feels would be of assistance to close every possible door with regards to the employment of avowed enemies of our country in the employment of our own Government.
Mr. Tuck. Well, we thank you very much for the information you brought us in your very fine and most effective statement, and I certainly am one who takes the older view that employment in the Federal Government is a privilege, and not a right, and that the Government has the authority to set up standards.
Mr. HENDERSON. Not only in the employment in the first instance, but the right to continue in employment, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Tuck. That has always been my view, too, and I am opposed to some of the recent executive orders, having to deal with people and groups. And I take the position that it is a great privilege to work for the Government at any level.
Mr. HENDERSON. Mr. Chairman, I would like to conclude by saying that I am very appreciative of the difficult technical problem of drafting legislation in an area as controversial and as difficult as this area is and I am delighted with what I think is a fine piece of staff work. And I certainly would like to commend the staff, through you, for the assistance that they gave to the sponsors of this legislation.
Thank you very much, sir.
We have our colleague, my personal friend from Louisiana, Congressman John R. Rarick, of the Sixth Congressional District. Welcome. I will tell you what you can do, if that is your preference.
You can either file the statement at this point and let it go in the record, or you can speak from it. But I think if you could file it and summarize it, it would be easier for us to follow.
STATEMENT OF HON. JOHN R. RARICK, A U.S. REPRESENTATIVE
Mr. RARICK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is a very short statement.
The CHAIRMAN. All right. The statement will be printed as a part of the record. And John, proceed and summarize it, please.
Mr. RARICK. All right, sir.
Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee, I am proud to join with my distinguished colleagues in cosponsoring H.R. 15626, a bill to amend the Subversive Activities Control Act of 1950. This committee is duty bound to report favorably on this measure; the Congress must approve it; our Nation must have its protection. These are perilous times. We must do all in our power to assure our people that America has an invincible shield against the constant assaults of the Communist conspiracy. Our people look to us in Congress for this protection, sir.
Twice within the last 3 months, the U.S. Supreme Court has attempted improvidently to strike down the legal protection we so diligently sought to establish. This Court, which seems intent upon jeopardizing America's ability to protect herself from the Communist threat from within, struck down a vital provision of the Subversive Activities Control Act. This same Court, seemingly intent to destroy the security of our national defense program, has not only repudiated the word of Congress, but also the President of the United States' power to protect defense facilities from infiltration by subversive elements. The members of the Court ask to be given specific instructions of congressional intent in these matters and this legislation proposes to do just that.
The CHAIRMAN. Let me say this, John. That I agree with you on your criticism of the Court. What the Court said in that case, the Robel case, was that this bill, the present Internal Security Act of 1950, of which I was the author of the latest amendment, overreached itself and was too vague in a definition of what constitutes employment in the national defense, national defense facilities, so I tried, and my staff tried, the best we could, to be specific in order to comport, if humanly possible, with that decision.
I hope that we have done the job and that even the Supreme Court will find this new version to be satisfactory. At least we did the best we could.
Now let me say this. Last year this committee reported out, the Congress passed, and on January 2 of this year the President signed another amendment of mine to the Internal Security Act of 1950.
That amendment would breathe new life into and sustain the life of the Subversive Activities Control Board. The Senate added a provision to the House bill that unless the Attorney General filed proceedings citing Communist outfits before the Board within a year, the bill would die.
In conference with this committee and the Senators, we made a report, and in the conference report we said that the Attorney General would have within that year to report twice to Congress what he was doing. Thus far he has done zero, goose egg. Nothing. Do you agree that he is delinquent?
Mr. RARICK. Í most certainly do. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Well he is to testify-not he, but someone from the Justice Department. I was telling them this morning I was all ready for them, but it is going to be tomorrow, and I am going to be in Louisiana, but I am going to tell them that by the way, I am going to be perfectly frank with you and with the Department, I am going to put my cards entirely on the table.
I am a very tolerant, maybe sometimes too tolerant a man, but I am not going to bail him out. They tell me that the Appropriations Committee will be keeping a careful watch on them when they come for their appropriations, and give them the living devil for not doing the