McCarthyism: The Fight for America

By Joe McCarthy | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV
Congressional Immunity

Have you ever made your charges against Communists in government without the protection of Congressional immunity?

Yes. Over the past two years I have made speeches from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from the Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian border exposing Communists and pro- Communists in government. I have repeatedly named names and documented cases. At such times there was no Congressional immunity -- nor is there Congressional immunity attached to this book.

Why do Senators and Congressmen have Congressional immunity?

The answer to this question is found in the long struggle of the human race to establish a workable representative government. History records that legislative immunity was written into English law after "The Case of the Seven Bishops" which precipitated the Revolution of 1688. During that Revolution Parliament triumphed over King James II who had been ignoring the Parliament and trying to impose one-man rule upon England. Matters were brought to a head after James II ignored the Parliament and passed a law by proclamation. The King then required the clergy to read this law to their church members. Seven bishops protested and issued a petition to the King setting forth their reasons for objecting to this arbitrary procedure. The King immediately had the seven bishops arrested and charged them with "libelous and seditious" statements. When the court set the seven bishops free, the people of England cheered the court. The same day an invitation was sent to William and Mary to take over the throne of England. After this experience, the people became determined to make sure once and for all that their representatives should have the freedom to speak out against the government without fear of arrest for what they said. After William and Mary succeeded James II in 1688, the Bill of Rights was drawn up by the people. One of the rights provided for in that document was the right of the representatives of the people to speak freely against anything which they thought endangered the welfare or security of the nation and its people, without fear of reprisal. The new monarchs, William and Mary, signed that document.31

When our forefathers drew up the Constitution, they too considered this right a basic one and wrote it into the Constitution. It is today known as Congressional immunity. Its purpose is to make a Republic workable. It the people are to have a voice in government through their representatives, then those representatives must be free to speak out even though their remarks may embarrass and hurt the party in power and tend to remove that party from power.

It should be remembered that the provision for Congressional immunity was written into our Constitution not for the benefit of the individual Congressman or Senator, but for the benefit of the people of this country. This was made clear in a court decision in one of the first lawsuits testing Congressional immunity. The court stated:

"These privileges are thus secured, not with the intention of protecting members against prosecutions for their own benefit, but to support the rights of the people, by enabling their representatives to execute the functions of their office without fear of prosecutions, civil or criminal."32

The real liberals of their day provided for Congressional immunity in the English Bill of Rights and the United States Constitution. The Communists and the phoney and deluded liberals of today would take from the people the right to hear all of the facts from their representatives. Unfortunately, the freedom of Senators and Congressmen to speak unpleasant and embarrassing truths without fear of prosecution in lawsuits is at times abused. Rather than remove this freedom of speech, it would seem wiser for the voters to remove those who abuse that freedom of speech.

Do you feel that you properly used Congressional immunity to expose Communists and pro-Communists in government?

The test is whether the facts which I gave to the Senate and the country were true. If it could be proved that the facts which I gave the Senate and the country were untrue, then, of course, the use of immunity was improper. If, on the other hand, the facts which I gave the Senate were all true, there should be no objection to my giving the country the truth under the usual rules of Congressional immunity.

Even though the opposition has at its command the vast power of the federal government, it has been unable to disprove any of the evidence on the Communists, fellow travelers, and well-meaning dupes of the Kremlin which I gave to the committee and the Senate. One by one, those whom I named before the Tydings committee are being exposed and removed from government. Were I being proved wrong on the cases of John Stewart Service, Owen Lattimore, Philip Jessup, Edward Posniak, William T. Stone, and others, then the argument that I should not have used Congressional immunity to expose them would have merit.

A Senator who is aware of treason but who refuses to expose the dangerous unpleasant facts for fear that he will be politically scarred and bloodied if he does, is actually guilty of a greater treason than the traitors themselves. Every Senator has the duty to use the means provided by the Constitution to protect the people who

____________________
31
William and Mary, Session 2, Chap. 2: Frederick George Marcham, A History of England, Revised Edition ( New York, 1950), p. 434; William, Political History of England, Edited by William Hunt, Vol. 8, pp. 273, 278.
32
Coffin v. Coffin ( 1802) 4 Mass. 1, 3 Am. Dec. 189.

-17-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
McCarthyism: The Fight for America
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 104

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.