Anderson-Aiken amendment

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When the United States Senate took up the Civil Rights Act of 1957, the Anderson-Aiken amendment[1] was passed, which removed Title III from the legislation as originally proposed by Dwight Eisenhower's Attorney General Herbert Brownell. The special provisions covered in Part III granted additional powers to the United States Attorney General to seek preventative relief in civil rights cases under the 14th Amendment.[2] The majority of Democrats voted for the weakening measure, while less than half of Republicans did.

The two senators who introduced the amendment were Democrat Clinton Anderson of New Mexico and Moderate Republican George Aiken of Vermont.[1] Anderson initially hesitated to spearhead the measure because he did not want to be associated with obstructions towards civil rights, though was successfully urged by then-Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson to do so by introducing it along with a Republican.

According to historian and biographer Robert A. Caro, President Eisenhower stated during a press conference that he did not fully support Title III because it attempted to "go too far too fast in laws," instead emphasizing the importance of Title IV which covered voting rights.[1] This caused a few more Senate Republicans to support the Anderson-Aiken amendment.

The vote on the amendment was not along purely partisan or ideological divides. Some northern liberal Democrats such as Paul Douglas staunchly opposed the motion on the grounds that it gutted desegregation efforts, while others such as Mike Mansfield, James E. Murray, and Joseph O'Mahoney supported it.[1]

After the passage of the Anderson-Aiken amendment, the only remaining strong provisions left in the Civil Rights Act of 1957 covered in Part IV. Those efforts were similarly rendered meaningless when the Senate later passed the O'Mahoney jury trial amendment.

The following table shows the votes for the amendment by party and region:[2]

Republican Democrat
Northern 42% (18/43) 48% (12/25)
Southern N/A (0/0) 100% (22/22)

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Caro, Robert A. (2003). Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson (pp. 910–43). Retrieved September 24, 2021
  2. 2.0 2.1 HR. 6127. CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1957. AMENDMENT TO DELETE AUTHORITY FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL TO SEEK PREVENTIVE RELIEF IN CIVIL RIGHTS CASES UNDER THE 14TH AMENDMENT.. GovTrack.us. Retrieved September 24, 2021.