Weekend talkshows past with CBS Radio's The Leading Question - featuring Emanuel Celler (D-New York) and William Kramer (R-Fla.) discussing Reapportionment in 1962.
April 16, 2011

Emanuel Celler - Thought the districts in New York looked like a Crazy Quilt.

Talk shows where issues were actually discussed has me digging up this broadcast, part of the CBS Radio series The Leading Question from April 1, 1962. The subject is the Supreme Court decision on Reapportionment and how it was likely to affect voting patterns between urban and rural areas of the country. Featured were two members of the House Judiciary Committee, Emanuel Celler (D-N.Y.) and William Kramer (R-Fla.).

Again, as in most of these Sunday talk shows, there is a remarkable amount of civility to be had, even between two people diametrically opposed to each other.

Emmanuel Cellar: “For example, in New York State we had a horrible example of gerrymandering when the state legislature, with the approval of our Governor of our State of New York, approved the re-drawing of Congressional district lines. And the contours of those districts looked like crazy quilts, looked like jigsaw puzzles. The lines are neither compact nor are they contiguous nor do the districts themselves have equal populations. And in my opinion, that drawing of the lines by the New York State Legislature with the approval of the Governor is in violation of the principle annunciated by this Tennessee case. And I’m asking the Governor of our state, Governor Rockefeller, to send a special legislate . . . .send a special message to the Legislature of the State of New York to do away with this unfair discrimination as between the voting populations of the country area and the city areas. Because that representation as announced by the Legislature with the approval of the Governor is weighted in favor of rural areas decided as against urban areas. In addition, I don’t like to bring in the political situation, but since this was a Republican Legislature and a Republican Governor, there was a gerrymander in favor of the Democrats as . . . in favor of the Republicans as against the Democrats. And that weighting in favor of a particular party is in violation of this very momentous decision which has just been announced.”

I hate to sound like an old fart, but I really miss it when people on opposite sides of the fence could present cases and not resort to name calling and abstract off-topic talking points. Maybe some day . . . ..

I'm not holding my breath.

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