September 12, 2005

Rehnquist, Bork and the Civil Rights Act of 1964

An old friend of mine sent this to me over the weekend:

I'm reading a fascinating book, JUDGMENT DAYS by Nick Kotz. The volume is
subtitled: "Lyndon Baines Johnson, Martin Luther King, Jr and the laws that
changed America."

Chapter 6 is entitled "An idea whose time has come," and deals with the
final struggle to pass the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Much time is spent on
working around the backward southern Democrats and getting the Republicans
to come around to accepting the inevitable and to stop standing in the way
of progress. The forces had to break through a 75-day talkathon, the
longest Senate filibuster since the adoption of the cloture rule in 1917.
(The vote for cloture on 10 June 64 was 71-29; the final vote on the bill,
the next week, was 73-27.)

page 152 (on the Senate's final passage of the Civil Rights Act):

"Barry Goldwater of Arizona, two weeks away from becoming the Republican
presidential nominee, voted no, rejecting Everett Dirksen's plea that he
support the bill for the good of the Republican Party. Goldwater replied
that the civil rights bill was unconstitutional - advice he had received
from a little-known lawyer named William Rehnquist and a young Yale law
professor named Robert Bork."


I wonder if Bush nominee John Roberts would have concurred?

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