An Act to provide means of further
securing and protecting the civil rights of persons within the
jurisdiction of the United States.
Be it enacted by the Senate and
House of Representatives of the United States of America in
PART I. ESTABLISHMENT OF THE
COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS
(a) There is created in the executive
branch of the Government a Commission on Civil Rights (hereinafter
called the "Commission").
(b) The Commission shall be composed
of six members who shall be appointed by the President by and
with the advice and consent of the Senate. Not more than three
of the members shall at any one time be of the same political
(c) The President shall designate
one of the members of the Commission as Chairman and one as
Vice Chairman. The Vice Chairman shall act as Chairman in the
absence or disability of the Chairman, or in the event of a
vacancy in that office.
(d) Any vacancy in the Commission
shall not affect its powers and shall be filled in the same
manner, and subject to the same limitations with respect to
party affiliations as the original appointment was made.
(e) Four members of the Commission
shall constitute a quorum.
Section 102. Rules of Procedure of the Commission
(a) The chairman or one designated by him
to act as Chairman at a hearing of the Commission shall announce
in an opening statement the subject of the hearing.
(b) A copy of the Commission’s rules
shall be made available to the witness before the Commission.
(c) Witnesses at the hearings may be accompanied
by their own counsel for the purpose of advising them concerning
their constitutional rights.
(d) The Chairman or Acting Chairman may punish
breaches of order and decorum and unprofessional ethics on the
part of counsel, by censure and exclusion from the hearings.
(e) If the Commission determines that evidence
or testimony at any hearing may tend to defame, degrade, or
incriminate any person, it shall (1) receive such evidence or
testimony in executive session; (2) afford such person an opportunity
voluntarily to appear as a witness; and (3) receive and dispose
of requests from such person to subpena additional witnesses.
(f) Except as provided in Sections 102 and
105 (f) of this Act, the Chairman shall receive and the commission
shall dispose of requests to subpena additional witnesses.
(g) No evidence or testimony taken in executive
session may be released or used in public sessions without the
consent of the Commission. Whoever releases or uses in public
without the consent of the Commission evidence or testimony
taken in executive session shall be fined not more than $1,000,
or imprisoned for not more than one year.
(h) In the discretion of the commission, witnesses
may submit brief and pertinent sworn statements in writing for
inclusion in the record. The commission is the sole judge of
the pertinency of testimony and evidence adduced at its hearings.
(i) Upon payment of the cost thereof, a witness
may obtain a transcript copy of his testimony given at a public
session or, if given at an executive session, when authorized
by the Commission.
(j) A witness attending any session of the
Commission shall receive $4 for each day’s attendance
and for the time necessarily occupied in going to and returning
from the same, and 8 cents per mile for going from and returning
to his place of residence. Witnesses who attend at points so
far removed from their respective residences as to prohibit
return thereto from day to day shall be entitled to an additional
allowance of $12 per day for expenses of subsistence, including
the time necessarily occupied in going to and returning from
the place of attendance. Mileage payments shall be tendered
to the witness upon service of a subpena issued on behalf of
the Commission or any subcommittee thereof.
(k) The Commission shall not issue any subpena
for the attendance and testimony of witnesses or for the production
of written or other matter which would require the presence
of the party subpenaed at a hearing to be held outside of the
State, wherein the witness is found or resides or transacts
Section 103. Compensation of Members of the Commission
(a) Each member of the Commission who is not
otherwise in the service of the Government of the United States
shall receive the sum of $50 per day for each day spent in the
work of the Commission, shall be reimbursed for actual and necessary
travel expenses, and shall receive a per diem allowance of $12
in lieu of actual expenses for subsistence when away from his
usual place of residence, inclusive of fees or tips to porters
(b) Each member of the Commission who is otherwise
in the service of the government of the United States shall
serve without compensation in addition to that received for
such other service, but while engaged in the work of the commission
shall be reimbursed for actual and necessary travel expenses,
and shall receive a per diem allowance of $12 in lieu of actual
expenses for subsistence when away from his usual place of residence,
inclusive of fees or tips to porters and stewards.
Section 104. Duties of the Commission
(a) The Commission shall—
(1) investigate allegations in writing under
oath or affirmation that certain citizens of the United States
are being deprived of their right to vote and have that vote
counted by reason of their color, race, religion, or national
origin; which writing, under oath or affirmation, shall set
forth the facts upon which such belief or beliefs are based;
(2) study and collect information concerning
legal developments constituting a denial of equal protection
of the laws under the Constitution; and
(3) appraise the laws and policies of the
Federal Government with respect to equal protection of the laws
under the constitution.
(b) The Commission shall submit interim reports
to the President and to the Congress at such times as either
the Commission or the President shall deem desirable, and shall
submit to the President and to the Congress a final and comprehensive
report of its activities, findings and recommendations not later
than two years from the date of the enactment of this Act.
(c) Sixty days after the submission of its
final report and recommendations the Commission shall cease
Section 105. Powers of the Commission
(a) There shall be a full-time staff director
for the Commission who shall be appointed by the President by
and with the advice and consent of the Senate and who shall
receive compensation at a rate, to be fixed by the President,
not in excess of $22,500 a year. The President shall consult
with the Commission before submitting the nomination of any
person for appointment to the position of staff director. Within
the limitations of its appropriations, the Commission may appoint
such other personnel as it deems advisable, in accordance with
the civil service and classification laws, and may procure services
as authorized by section 15 of the Act of August 2, 1946 (60
Stat. 810; 5 U.S.C. 55a), but at rates for individuals not in
excess of $50 per diem.
(b) The commission shall not accept or utilize
services of voluntary or uncompensated personnel, and the term
"whoever" as used in paragraph (g) of section 102
hereof shall be construed to mean a person whose services are
compensated by the United States.
(c) The Commission may constitute such advisory
committees within States composed of citizens of that State
and may consult with governors, attorneys general, and other
representatives of State and local governments, and private
organizations, as it deems advisable.
(d) Members of the Commission, and members
of advisory committees constituted pursuant to subsection
(c) of this section, shall be exempt from
the operation of sections 281, 283, 284, 434, and 1914 of title
18 of the United States Code, and section 190 of the Revised
Statutes (5 U.S.C. 99).
(e) All Federal agencies shall cooperate fully
with the Commission to the end that it may effectively carry
out its functions and duties.
(f) The Commission, or on the authorization
of the Commission any subcommittee of two or more members, at
least one of whom shall be of each major political party, may,
for the purpose or carrying out the provisions of this Act,
hold such hearings and act at such times and places as the Commission
or such authorized subcommittee may deem advisable. Subpenas
for the attendance and testimony of witnesses or the production
of written or other matter may be issued in accordance with
the rules of the Commission as contained in section 102 (j)
and (k) of this Act, over the signature of the Chairman of the
Commission or of such subcommittee, and may be served by any
person designated by such Chairman.
(g) In case of contumacy or refusal to obey
a subpena, any district court of the United States or the United
States court of any Territory or possession, or the District
Court of the United States for the District of Columbia, within
the jurisdiction of which the inquiry is carried on or within
the jurisdiction of which said person guilty of contumacy or
refusal to obey is found or resides or transacts business, upon
application by the Attorney General of the United States shall
have jurisdiction to issue to such person an order requiring
such person to appear before the Commission or a subcommittee
thereof, there to produce evidence is so ordered, or there to
give testimony touching the matter under investigation; and
any failure to obey such order of the court may be punished
by said court as a contempt thereof.
Section 106. Appropriations
There is hereby authorized to be appropriated,
out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated,
so much as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this
PART II. TO PROVIDE FOR AN ADDITIONAL ASSISTANT
There shall be in the Department of Justice
one additional Assistant Attorney General, who shall be appointed
by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the
Senate, who shall assist the Attorney General in the performance
of his duties, and who shall receive compensations at the rate
prescribed by law for other Assistant Attorneys General.
PART III. TO STRENGTHEN THE CIVIL RIGHTS STATUTES,
AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
Section 1343 of title 28, United States Code,
is amended as follows:
(a) Amend the catch line of said section to
read: "Section 1343. Civil Rights and elective franchise"
(b) Delete the period at the end of paragraph
(3) and insert in lieu thereof a semicolon.
(c) Add a paragraph as follows: "(4)
to recover damages or to secure equitable or other relief under
any Act of Congress providing for the protection of civil rights,
including the right to vote."
Section 1989 of the Revised Statutes (42 U.S.C.
1993) is hereby repealed.
PART IV. TO PROVIDE MEANS OF FURTHER SECURING
AND PROTECTING THE RIGHT TO VOTE
Section 2004 of the Revised statutes (42 U.S.C.
1971), is amended as follows:
(a) Amend the catch line of said section to read, "Voting
(b) Designate its present text with the subsection symbol "(a)".
(c) Add, immediately following the present text, four new subsections
to read as follows:
"(b) No person, whether acting under
color of law or otherwise, shall intimidate, threaten coerce,
or attempt to intimidate, threaten or coerce any other person
for the purpose of interfering with the right of such other
person to vote or to vote as he may choose, or of causing such
other person to vote for, or not to vote for, any candidate
for the office of President, Vice President, presidential elector,
Member of the Senate, or Member of the house of Representatives,
Delegates or Commissioners from the Territories or possessions,
at any general special, or primary election held solely or in
part for the purpose of selecting or electing any such candidate.
"(c) whenever any person has engaged
or there are reasonable grounds to believe that any person is
about to engage in any act or practice which would deprive any
other person of any right or privilege secured by a subsection
(a) or (b), the Attorney General may institute for the United
States, or in the name of the United States, a civil action
or other proper proceeding for preventive relief, including
an application for a permanent or temporary injunction, restraining
order, or other order. In any proceeding hereunder the United
States shall be liable for costs the same as a private person.
"(d) the district courts of the United
States shall have jurisdiction of the proceedings instituted
pursuant to this section and shall exercise the same without
regard to whether the party aggrieved shall have exhausted any
administrative or other remedies that may be provided by law.
"(e) Any person cited for an alleged
contempt under this Act shall be allowed to make his full defense
by counsel learned in the law; and the court before which he
is cited or tried, or some judge thereof, shall immediately,
upon his request, assign to him such counsel, not exceeding
two, as he may desire, who shall have free access to him at
all reasonable hours. He shall be allowed, in his defense to
make any proof that he can produce by lawful witnesses, and
shall have the like process of the court to compel his witnesses
to appear at his trial or hearing, as is usually granted to
compel witnesses to appear on behalf of the prosecution. If
such person shall be found by the court to be financially unable
provide for such counsel, it shall be the duty of the court
to provide such counsel."
PART V. TO PROVIDE TRIAL BY JURY FOR PROCEEDINGS
TO PUNISH CRIMINAL CONTEMPTS OF COURT GROWING OUT OF CIVIL RIGHTS
CASES AND TO AMEND THE JUDICIAL CODE RELATING TO FEDERAL JURY
All cases of criminal contempt arising under
the provisions of this Act, the accused, upon conviction, shall
be punished by fine or imprisonment or both: Provided however,
That in case the accused is a natural person the fine to be
paid shall not exceed the sum of $1,000, nor shall imprisonment
exceed the term of six months: Provided Further, that in any
such proceeding for criminal contempt, at the discretion of
the judge, the accused may be tried with or without a jury:
Provided further, however, That in the event such proceeding
for a criminal contempt be tried before a judge without a jury
and the sentence of the court upon conviction is a fine in excess
of the sum of $30 or imprisonment in excess of forty-five days,
the accused in said proceeding, upon demand therefor, shall
be entitled to a trial de novo before a jury which shall conform
as near as may be to the practice in other criminal cases.
This section shall not apply to contempts
committed in the presence of the court or so near thereto as
to interfere directly with the administration of justice nor
to the misbehavior, misconduct, or disobedience, of any officer
of the court in respect to the writs, orders, or process of
Nor shall anything herein or in any other
provision of law be construed to deprive courts of their power,
by civil contempt proceedings, without a jury, to secure compliance
with or to prevent obstruction of, as distinguished from punishment
for violations of, any lawful writ, process, order, rule, decree,
or command of the court in accordance with the prevailing usages
of law equity, including the power of detention.
Section 1861, title 28, of the United States
Code is hereby amended to read as follows:
"Section 1861. Qualifications of Federal jurors. "Any
citizen of the United States who has attained the age of twenty-one
years and who has resided for a period of one year within the
judicial district, is competent to serve as a grand or petit
"(1) he has been convicted in a State
or Federal court of record of a crime punishable by imprisonment
for more than one year and his civil rights have not been restored
by pardon or amnesty.
"(2) He is unable to read, write, speak,
and understand the English language.
"(3) He is incapable, by reason of mental
or physical infirmities to render efficient jury service."
Source: Civil Rights Act of 1957 Pub. L. 85-315,