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(From the Washington Times-Herald)
SOMEBODY'S BEEN KIDDING
HARRY'S BEING USED BY SELFISH INTEREST'S
President Truman again, and as usual, for purely selfish purposes. This time he has been thimblerigged into socking over the head an already balky and sullen Democratic majority in the House of Representatives, with a demand for passage of the so-called home-rule bill for the District.
This bill, which passed the Senate on May 31, has since been hung up in the House Committee on District of Columbia affairs and will stay there indefinitely unless Speaker Sam Rayburn uses his extraordinary powers to jerk it out, as per Mr. Truman's order of the day.
The people who drafted that order for Mr. Truman's signature caused him to refer to the bill in question (S. 1527) as "a bill to give home rule to the people of the District of Columbia."
S. 1527, if it becomes law, undoubtedly would provide a lot of comedy, paid for by the taxpayers. But it could not deliver to us any real home rule or even any improvement in executive administration.
"HOME RULE” IS A FALSE LABEL
By any common sense definition, “home rule” means government by consent of the governed, laws enacted by the representatives of the people subject to the laws, taxation with representation.
None of these is or can be delivered to the District of Columbia this side of an amendment to article 1, section 8, clause 17 of the Constitution, which provides that Congress shall have power:
“To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever over such district (not exceeding 10 miles square) as may, by cession of the particular States and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of government of the United States and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the State in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings.”
Words cannot possibly be plainer in their meaning. Until the Constitution is changed, Congress must remain our town council, State legislature, and legal master.
Many times Congress has tried to delegate and evade the responsibility for its powers. But there still remain judges who will point out the law.
Case after decided case in the 150 years of this city's history stand in evidence that no town council or other agency can substitute for Congress in making the laws and fixing the taxes for the District of Columbia until the Constitution is amended to such an end.
Aside from the false branding of S. 1527fas a home-rule bill, the letter of support for it that somebody got Mr. Truman to sign, makes numerous other busts obvious to anybody familiar with the facts of life in the District.
Item: He is caused to say, “I am sure there is nothing partisan about this proposal.”
Item: "I am sure that the great majority of the people of Washington want home rule."
COMEDY AT HIGH PRICES As for the first item, all anybody needs to do is look at the characters who have been making the most noise for S. 1527.
They are a fantastic collection of boobies from within the Democratic Party's central committee for the District of Columbia, who see a chance at long last to crack open another public treasury and run off with other people's money.
Until now, they have had to serve in hope of hand-outs from the Federal patronage. But if S. 1527 becomes law, they will have a chance to whack up a real live salary-tapping set of jobs, all their own by right of political conquest.
Washington is a town of long experience with hogs in the trough pretending to be philosophers, so we all know now that the scrambles for dough, growing out of S. 1527, would be fascinating to watch, though costly
But the suggestion that any improvement over the present commission system of administration could possibly be extracted from such a nonsense is even funnier than the prospect of watching the "City Council” provided in S. 1527.
Mr. Truman is on record to the effect that the people here want this "home rule.” Who told him that? Public sentiment on suffrage was tested by referendum in 1938 and again in 1946.
Public indifference was the outstanding characteristic, both times.
WE SHOULD ALL VOTE
Not that we think people ought to be indifferent about self-government. Ninetenths of the ruin and disaster that have been saddled on this Republic in the past 20 years have their origin in public indifference to the way politicians use public power.
The people in the District of Columbia fight wars, pay taxes, obey laws, just as much as any other people in the United States and should therefore have full equality of citizenship.
But they can hope for this only when the Constitution grants it, and that the Constitution cannot until amended.
Mr. Harris. I believe an editorial of the Washington Post was placed in the record a day or two ago.
Mr. O'HARA. Yes; and this will counterbalance.
Mr. HARRIS. The next witness will be Mr. William A. Roberts. I will ask him to come around. Is Mr. Roberts here?
Mr. HARRIS. Then we will hear from Mr. William F. Fadler, Jr., representing the Young Democratic Club of the District of Columbia. Is Mr. Fadler present? Mr. FADLER. Yes, Mr. Chairman. Mr. HARRIS. You may proceed.
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM F. FADLER, JR., ESQ., YOUNG DEMO
CRATIC CLUB OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Mr. FADLER. Mr. Chairman, my name is William F. Fadler, Jr. I am a practicing attorney in the District of Columbia, with offices in the Union Trust Building.
I am happy to have the opportunity to appear on behalf of the Young Democratic Club of the District of Columbia, as a member of its legislative committee.
The Young Democratic Club of the District of Columbia is an organization composed of approximately 500 young men and women (nearly all of the men being veterans) in the District of Columbia, who are actively interested in governmental affairs and have organized to foster and perpetuate the ideals and principles of the Democratic Party.
Although our organization is located in the District of Columbia, over 80 percent of the members maintain a voting residence in various States throughout the country.
At a regular meeting of the club on June 27, 1949, a resolution was unanimously passed to urge the House of Representatives to take prompt action and pass the Kefauver home-rule bill, S. 1527, for the District of Columbia.
Mr. HARRIS. Thank you very much, Mr. Fadler.
I might say to you and the other witnesses that are to come that we would certainly ask you a great many questions that might arise during the course of your testimony, some of which would be repetitious, and in an effort to close our hearings we will defer asking such questions if it would be satisfactory.
Mr. FADLER. Thank you. Mr. HARRIS. The next witness will be Mr. Thomas B. Scott, of the Washington Chapter, Unitarian Laymen's League.
Mr. HARRIS. Is Miss Sylvia Altman, of the District Central Suffrage Conference present?
We will call on her later.
The next witness will be Mr. F. S. Tilton, of the Kalorama Citizens Association.
Mr. HODGKINS. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Tilton, the president of the Kalorama Citizens Association, was unable to be present and I am here to speak for him for the association.
Mr. HARRIS. We are glad to hear you. What is your name?
STATEMENT OF GEORGE W. HODGKINS, MEMBER, KALORAMA
Mr. HODGKINS. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, my name is George W. Hodgkins, former president of the Kalorama Citizens Association. I am speaking in behalf of that organization instead of Mr. Tilton, who is the present president of it.
This organization has gone on record several times in favor of local suffrage as well as national representation.
It has not OK'd every detail in the Auchincloss bill or the Kefauver bill, because we feel that it is impracticable to get agreement on all the details. What we are interested in doing is to get a working homerule government so that the citizens of the District of Columbia can participate by the vote in their own local affairs.
The Kalorama Citizens Association went on record in favor of the Auchincloss bill last year, it being at that time the bill current before Congress. There was no one representing the association officially at the hearing last year. I personally appeared at the joint hearings sponsored by both the House and Senate last spring, and shortly after that the organization took the matter up; and in general, not in exactly its terms, approved what I testified to in the hearing at that time. This spring the organization has taken action, approved the Kefauver bill in principle. It has not attempted to go into details or the difference between the two bills. I think there is the general feeling that many of the differences between the two bills are such as could be reasonably enacted in either form, and we would not want to commit our organization to favoring one or the other of those measures. In some ways I think the organization, although not officially on record on this, regrets that Mr. Auchincloss' committee and other groups following them attempted to put so many controversial things into the bills. We are primarily interested in getting home rule and many of those details can be straightened out afterward, either by the procedure of home rule itself under the bill or by further action from Congress. You cannot solve all problems in one bill, but if we do have a home-rule procedure such as is set up in the Kefauver bill or the Auchincloss bill, then we can go on from that to a still more perfected type of governmental organization for the District.
Mr. Chairman, might I take a moment or two to say something about the question you raised with Mr. Deane a few minutes ago about the statement by Mr. Madison. I think I could clear that up.
Mr. HARRIS. We would be very happy to have you clear it up.
Mr. HODGKINS. The statement which has been most often quoted from Mr. Madison, "That a municipal legislature derived from their own suffrage would, of course, be allowed them," was in one of the issues of the Federalist; which was, of course, while the Constitution, having been adopted by the Constitutional Convention, was before the people of the various States for their approval; and Mr. Madison, having very shortly before been in that Constitutional Convention, felt that he was reporting their views that the local government of the District should take care of the suffrage rights of the people who might be resident there; and there does not seem to be any dispute on that coming from other members of the Constitutional Convention, many of them who were still living and who were serving in Congress at the time that the Congress set up a municipal legislaure for the District of Columbia.
As far as national representation is concerned, that was not provided for at the time the Convention drafted the Constitution. There was no Federal district; nobody knew where it would be located, how large it would be, what population it would have, and I think that Convention had enough worry to settle the question of representation for the different States and the Senate and House of Representatives, so that it would not be expected to try to settle up the representation, if any, for a nonexistent district. They left that for later determination.
Mr. HARRIS. Where did Madison make that statement?
Mr. HODGKINS. That was in—I don't remember which number of the Federalist.
Mr. HARRIS. I know it was in the Federalist; but where was he when he made the statement?
Mr. HODGKINS. In the ratification campaign in the State of New York.
Mr. O'HARA. He did not make it in contemplation of the set-up of the District of Columbia or that which resulted in the set-up of the District of Clumbia. Isn't that true? I say the statement wasn't made in the light then of any set-up which existed at the time Mr. Madison made the statement.
Mr. HODGKINS. No; there was no such district in existence then. Mr. O'HARA. That is right.
Mr. HODGKINS. He was trying to reflect what he understood was the feeling of the Constitutional Convention as to what ought to be done to safegurrd the rights of the people who might be living in the area which was to be set aside for the purposes of the seat of government.
Mr. O'HARA. Will the gentleman tell us also the answer to the question my colleague Mr. Allen of California brought up this morning, as to what type of government was provided between 1801 and 1872 or 1874, when the District local government was abolished by act of Congress?
Mr. HODGKINS. Between 1800 or thereabouts and 1871, the governments in the District of Columbia resembled quite closely the
governments of the towns and counties in the various States. There were two there, in the early period three municipalities, and then outlying territory which had a county form of government. The municipal governments of Georgetown and Alexandria were continued practically without change. They included the right of their citizens to vote for local officers so far as that was customary in those days, and they had a new city government for the newly created city of Washington, occupying only a relatively small part of the total District area, which was also set up with progressively increasing amounts of popular participation in the votes as the charter was amended from time to time.
Mr. O'HARA. Does the gentleman recall what the qualification of citizenship was, whether they had to be permanent residents of the District and whether they had any right to vote in other States?
Mr. HODGKINS. I don't recall that that matter came to an issue. That is a rather recent development. Of course, the point of it was that would not apply in any other area. There were a good many people, physically residents here in the District of Columbia, but since they are not able to vote in national elections here they wish to retain that right if they can through absentee voting or by going back home in time of national elections.
Mr. O'HARA. Or for any other reason.
Mr. HODGKINS. Or for any other reason; and if we were getting national representation at this same time I think there would be no excuse for that so-called dual-voting provision; even though it might be stated incidentally that the chief example that we have of the right now is some of the suburban towns right now in Maryland, where people coming from some distance stay to work in the Government; and, living in the suburban areas of Maryland, they are granted the right to vote for the town officers in Maryland, but retain national and general State voting rights in the States from which they come.
Now, if those people who make their residence in Maryland, which has national representation, are reluctant to give up their back home voting rights, but still would like to vote for their town officers, it certainly would seem to be still more desirable that those locating here within the District of Columbia should have that same right to participate in local elections and still retain the national voting right they had somewhere else, so long as there is no provision whereby they can have similar rights here in the District of Columbia. That whole question, I think, is a rather unfortunate controversy. I regret it was ever put in there. I am rather in favor of giving such people the right to vote here in the District; and would, if that is going to harm the chances of the bill to pass, I would prefer to have it left out, and I think that is the sentiment of a great many other people. Yet some of the people who are objecting to that provision, if it had been left out they would think the other way and say, “Look at all these people who actually live here but they retain a voting residence somewhere else. Why don't you provide for them to participate?” So it is a matter to be clarified either way, and I think it would be worth trying either way.
Mr. HARRIS. We appreciate having your opinion on that dualvoting question, particularly referring to the situation in Maryland.
Mr. HODGKINS. These last things I have been saying, of course, are matters of my personal feelings and do not represent the Kalorama Citizens Association, although I know many agree with me on it.