The Senate talk-a-thon on civil rights is droning right along this morning. At noon,?
The Senate talk-a-thon on civil rights is droning right along this morning. At noon, Eastern time (3/1/60), the law-makers will have been at it for 24 (twenty-four) hours straight ... with no end yet in sight.
The lights burned in the capitol dome all night, as Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson kept the Senate in session to force a vote on the package civil rights bill.
These cots had been set up earlier in the day in the Senate cloak-room to allow the law-makers to snatch what rest they could between quorum calls. Before mid-night many visitors tried to get in to see the session, but abandoned their attempts as time wore on. Shortly before dawn only a half-dozen senators still were on the floor....the others had taken to bed, with the statues of many of their predecessors staring down at them.
Fifty-one United States senators, who would have preferred to be in dreamland at three thirty this morning, trudged sleepy-eyed and wearily into the Senate Chamber.
They had been called there by a southern demand for a quorum -- one of the parliamentary manoeuvres opponents of the Civil Rights Bill are using to fight passage of that legislation.
Some of those fifty-one senators had been asleep in their offices or on these army cots, set up in the improvised dormitory in the capitol. It took twenty-one minutes to get them in for nose-counting.
The sixteen southerners, who are keeping them in round-the-clock session, are working in relays. A few visitors spent the night in the gallery and so did seven newsmen. The opponents of the Civil Rights Bill have spent the hours since noon yesterday talking about the measure and a variety of other topics --- some relevant, some not. No telling how many days these twenty-four hour sessions will continue.
It would take a two-thirds vote to invoke the cloture rule. That would limit speakers to one hour and bring a quick end to the southern filibuster.