« AnteriorContinuar »
Petitioner, a Negro, applied for a job as a pilot with Continental Air Lines, Inc., an interstate air carrier. His application was rejected at the carrier's Denver headquarters. Pursuant to the Colorado law he then filed a complaint with the Colorado Antidiscrimination Commission which, after investigation and extensive hearings, found as a fact that the only reason he was not selected for pilot training school was because of his race. The commission ordered Continental to cease and desist from such discrimination practices and to give petitioner the first opportunity to enroll at the next course in its training school.
The State district court for Denver County set aside the commission's find. ings and dismissed petitioner's complaint. It held that the State antidiscrimination law could not constitutionally be extended to cover the hiring of flight crew personnel of an interstate air carrier because to do so would constitute an undue burden upon interstate commerce in violation of the commerce clause of the Constitution, and because the field of law concerning racial discrimination in the interstate operation of carriers is preempted by the Railway Labor Act, the Civil Aeronautics Act, and Federal Executive orders.
On appeal to the Supreme Court of Colorado, that court affirmed the judgment of dismissal but discussed only the question whether the statute as applied in this case placed an undue burden on commerce, concluding that it did (36S P. 2d 970 (1962)). The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari because of the “obvious importance of even partial invalidation of a State law designed to prevent the discriminatory denial of job opportunities." (See 372 U.S. at p. 717.)
On the merits, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Colorado tribunal.
The Court held that the Colorado statute involved, as applied in this case. did not impose a constitutionally prohibited burden on interstate commerce and that the field in question has not been so covered or preempted by Federal laws as to prevent Colorado from applying its Antidiscrimination Act under the circumstances of the case.
The Court said that under its more recent decisions any State or Federal law requiring applicants for any job to be turned away because of their color would be invalid under the due process clause of the fifth amendment and the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th amendment.
On the question of preemption, the Court noted that the Civil Aeronantics Act of 1938, now the Federal Aviation Act of 1958, forbids air carriers to subject any particular person to “any unjust discrimination or any undue or unreasonable prejudice or disadvantage in any respect whatsoever," and requires "the promotion of adequate, economical, and efficient service, by air carriers at reasonable charges, without unjust discriminations, undue preferences or advantages, or unfair or destructive competitive practices."
While stating that the foregoing is a familiar type of regulation aimed primarily at rate discrimination injurious to shippers, competitors, and localities (like the similar provision of the Interstate Commerce Act), the Court said that it might assume for present purposes that these provisions prohibit racial discrimination against passengers and other customers and protect job applicants or employees from discrimination because of race. However, although the act gives broad authority to the administering executive agency over Aight crews of carriers, much of which has been exercised by regulations, the Court was satisfied that Congress had no express or implied intent to bar State legislation in this field. Hence the Colorado statute, at least so long as any power the administering agency may have remains "dormant and unexercised," will not frustrate any part of the purpose of the Federal legislation.
Similarly, the Court concluded that neither the Railway Labor Art nor the Executive orders show an intention to regulate air carrier discrimination on account of race so persuasively as to preempt the field and bar State legislation, and, like the Civil Aeronautics Act, they have never been used by the Federal Government for that purpose.
By concluding that the Federal Government has not preempted the field in the case of carriers by air, there seems to be implicit in the Court's decision the proposition that the Government could do so should it so desire. Otherwise
there would have been no occasion to consider this question. In order to preempt a field, such field must of course be one in which the Congress may validly legislate.
If the Congress may regulate this form of discrimination in one industrythat of carriage by air-it may do the same thing in other industries, or indeed in all industries to which its power under the commerce clause extends.
The measures which are the subject of this memorandum are soldily based on the power given by the commerce clause to the Congress. This authority is very broad, extending not only to the movement of goods in commerce, but also to those related activities preceding or following such movements. The power of Congress to regulate interstate commerce extends to the regulation by law of intrastate activities which have a substantial effect on the commerce or the exercise of the congressional power over it. Moreover, the question whether the conduct of an enterprise affects interstate commerce is a matter of practical judgment, the exercise of which is primarily vested in Congress by the Constitution.
It is thus readily apparent that antidiscrimination-in-employment legislation which would apply to virtually all types of employers could be validly enacted.
Senator Javits. I would ask one other thing while we are on the question of what you could help us with in the way of data; if there is any analysis that has been made or can be made of the experience of complaints in States which have FEPC laws this would be valuable. The argument has always been made that the United States will be inundated with hundreds of thousands of complaints if you have a fair employment practice commission law.
Now, our experience in New York indicates precisely the contrary; the number of complaints is very manageable, the number of court proceedings is very manageable, but I think it would be useful if The Labor Department could give us a summary of experience under State fair employment practice law.
Mr. HENNING. We would be happy to, Senator. California experience has been comparable to that in New York; there have been only three court cases involved in the history of that act which was adopted in 1959, and until February of this year only 2,000 complaints filed with the commission, so I would say that the experience in California is like that of New York, and very much the experience throughout the 24 States which have such laws. We will be happy to provide that data.
Senator Javits. Thank you very much. Senator CLARK. Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. (The information requested follows:) This experience is not customarily reported to the Department of Labor, and 10 current comparison of this information is presently available. In 1962, however, the House Education and Labor Committee conducted a survey of fair employment practice experience in 12 States, from the date of enactment of the State fair employment practice law through the end of 1961. The result of this survey, together with certain supplemental information, is attached. As the table indicates, 99.7 percent of the complaints received by the various State agencies were settled by mediation and conciliation without being scehduled for formal hearings.
Comparative complaint eæperience under State fair employment practice luic8
(From date of law until Dec. 31, 1961)
I The Minnesota figures do not cover cases arising in Duluth, Minneapolis, or St. Paul, where local antidiscrimination laws apply.
3 The Missouri law became effective on Oct. 13, 1961. Of the 45 complaints received by July 23, 1963, 38 have been settled informally and 19 are still under investigation.
3 The figure given is that of the House committee survey. Testimony of the general counsel of the New York State Commission for Human Rights suggests that only 4 complaints have resulted in the issuance of cease and desist orders. See statement of Henry Spitz before Subcommittee on Employment and Manpower, Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare July 29, 1963.
Mr. ROBERTSON. Senator Clark, I wonder if I might make one comment in connection with your request for a brief on the constitutional aspects of this legislation.
That is, your comment or your first question as to whether or not there had been any consultation between the Department of Labor and the Department of Justice, and I understand there has not been any, and I would suggest, purely as a matter of approach to this, that perhaps the committee might address a communication to the Department of Justice rather than merely ask us to work with them in preparing something for the committee.
Senator CLARK. Well, if your executive protocol makes that a more desirable procedure the committee will be glad to follow it.
Mr. ROBERTSON. I am not saying that it requires it, but I am merely pointing out that so far as I know there has been no joint consideration between the two Departments.
Senator CLARK. Do you see any administrative difficulties in arriv. ing at such a joint consultation!
Mr. HENNING. No, Senator.
Our next witness is the Honorable Hubert H. Humphrey, the U.S. Senator from Minnesota, who has his own bill which as I understand it, Senator, you are going to introduce today. We are very happy to have you with us and I think we will waive the formality of having your legislation actually before us because I have every belief that it will shortly be before us and we can save a little time if we hear you now.
(Senator Humphrey's bill, S. 1937, appears on p. 72.)
STATEMENT OF HON. HUBERT H. HUMPHREY, A U.S. SENATOR
FROM THE STATE OF MINNESOTA
Senator HUMPHREY. I thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I have a prepared statement and if the subcommittee will indulge me I will go ahead with that statement and I hope that the members would feel free at any time to interrogate the witness.
Senator CLARK. Perhaps you would like to have it placed in full in the record at this point so it will be together in one place.
Senator HUMPHREY. Mr. Chairman, it is a privilege and honor and responsibility to appear before this Subcommittee on Employment and Manpower under the chairmanship of my good and distinguished friend from Pennsylvania, Senator Clark.
I might note briefly for the record that this subcommittee has been engaged in some of the most important and far-reaching investigations into fundamental questions relating to unemployment and manpower that have ever been held in Congress or anywhere else.
The chairman will be interested to know that the work of this subcommittee was the subject of considerable discussion in my recent meeting in Stockholm with leaders of the Scandinavian countries who are deeply concerned about the very same problems that you are discussing here.
I believe you had a witness from Sweden or three witnesses from the Scandinavian countries, at these hearings. The finding and recommendations of these hearings should provide invaluable guidelines as Congress and the executive branch seek to find workable solutions to the grave problems posed by sluggish economic growth, which, by the way, was again underscored in the morning's press, by unemployment, unused industrial capacity, and automation. I commend the chairman, the members of the subcommittee, and the staff for their fine work.
Senator CLARK. Speaking for myself only, there is nothing I enjoy more than flattery.
Senator HUMPHREY. It is really a helpful remedy for almost any problem that besets a political man.
Today the subcommittee turns to a matter of urgent national importance, the matter of recommending Federal legislation to insure nondiscrimination and equal opportunity in employment and related incidents of employment. Although the Congress has considered fair employment practice legislation in the past, the issue has at long last assumed a new urgency and importance. I once had the privilege of serving on the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, and served in much the same capacity that Senator Clark now serves, and at that time we processed legislation which was reported to the Senate on fair employment practices, calling it the equal opportunity in employment program.
Now, anyone familiar with the basic causes of racial unrest and turmoil in the country knows that until we come to grips with the problem of job discrimination and inequality of job opportunities, as well as the inequality of job training and education, we will be considering only partial solutions to the civil rights crisis. In fact, I would say that job discrimination and unemployment for whatever its cause is possibly one of the most important factors that we have relating to the present tension in our country.
I come before the subcommittee this morning to outline my thinking in regards to the serious nature of the employment problem and to propose some new concepts specifically designed to deal with this grave problem.
Mr. Chairman, as you are aware, these concepts have been translated into legislation as you have indicated that will be introduced today. I had planned to introduce this bill, the Equal Employment Opportunity Act, yesterday but the Senate did not convene in order that several committees might meet during the afternoon on vital legislation. Nevertheless, I believe it would be helpful if I discussed the nature of the employment problem as I see it, and outline the rationale behind my proposals to meet this problem.
Before proceeding further, I would like to state for the record my objectives in proposing this legislation. I do this primarily as a means of bringing these relatively new concepts to the attention of the Congress in an appropriate fashion.
It is not my intention to displace or hinder in any way existing fair employment practice legislation, such as S. 773° that has been introduced by Senator Clark, a bill that I am proud to cosponsor. I am indeed honored that Senator Clark and Senator Randolph have indicated some interest in the legislation I will introduce today and may wish to join as cosponsors.
It is, however, my hope that the concepts contained in my legislation will be considered and discussed in the course of these hearings and that is why I have come today and asked for your cooperation. I believe that these concepts represent a positive contribution toward working out the most effective fair employment practice legislation in terms of the challenges we face today. Of course, I leave in the able hands of my friends of this subcommittee the decisions as to whether any of these new concepts are worthy of their support in whatever the subcommittee may report.
With this brief explanation as to my motives and objectives, I would like to proceed to a discussion of my proposed legislation.
Mr. Chairman, the Nation remains gripped by the historic effort to remove racial segregation and discrimination from all segments of this Nation's life and to open the door of freedom and opportunity to every American whatever his race, color, or creed. I think this may be the most important year of our history because I am of the opinion that more good news is going to be written in 1963 in the field of constitutional rights, and civil rights than any time in the history of our country. And each of the proposals contained in the President's omnibus bill is absolutely essential and I intend to devote every ounce of strength and determination I possess to achieving their passage by the Senate, whatever may be the time or the energy or the sacrifices required.
The civil rights crisis has also provided fresh evidence, if more was needed, of the bitter frustration and hopelessness that exists among mi. nority gronps in our society, principally Negroes, over continuing job