The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes
Saturday, February 12, 2005
How Costigan-Wagner turned out
Of inter-war antilynching bills presented to Congress, the first was the Dyer bill - kiboshed in 1922 (February 8).
Then  came the Costigan-Wagner bill, I can find no timeline: but it seems that a version of the bill was introduced in the 73th Congress, and got precisely nowhere .
The bill (as S 24) was reintroduced in the 74th on January 3 1935 (December 8 2002)  and at least got a floor debate (again, no timeline ) and a vote on April 26 1935 on a motion to adjourn moved by Majority Leader Joseph Robinson of Arkansas.
The Voteview gizmo allows one to compile  some details.
The vote, according to Voteview, was 34-33 . In fact, the Confederacy comes up short: neither Walter George (GA) nor Huey Long (LA) are shown as voting . And Kenneth McKellar's Volunteer State bunk-mate, Nathan Lynn Bachman , voted with the Yankees!
Dems opposing the motion included Pat McCarran. But famous names are AWOL: Harry Truman, William Gibbs McAdoo (the dry, Klan-friendly Democratic presidential hopeful in 1924), Claude Pepper (last discussed here on January 6) and future Majority Leader and Vice President Alben Barkley of Kentucky.
The voting GOP (in its depleted state) also opposed except for James Couzens of Michigan and George Norris of Nebraska - on states rights grounds, I surmise.
Other Sons of the Wild Jackass - including Burton Wheeler (D-MT) and William Borah (R-ID) - are not recorded as voting; on similar grounds, perhaps.
Farmer-Labor's Henrik Shipstead, rated in March 1934 by the NAACP as uncertain in his support of Costigan-Wagner (Feb 8 piece), voted against the motion.
There was, of course, never any chance that an antilynching bill would pass at that or any other stage right up until the Dems' Southern Strategy kicked in in 1963, and the Senate's Southern Caucus crumbled to dust (those 1964 Civil Rights Act roll calls are rather pathetic); nor, I suspect, was there any expectation, in the Caucus, the NAACP or anywhere else, that such a bill ever would pass.
Rather like Bush's homo-marriage amendment, in fact...
The DW-NOMINATE 1st coordinates  for the 74th Congress are not without interest:
The most 'liberal' is Guffey (PA)  at -0.579. Wagner is rated at -0.287, Costigan at -0.156. But the same list shows Bilbo batting at -0.371 and Jimmy Byrnes of SC at -0.461!
Some mistake surely?
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