Civil Rights: Dirksen's Defection

The historic civil rights bills of 1964 and 1965 would never have become law if Senate Republican Leader Everett Dirksen had not marshaled the G.O.P. votes that quashed Southern resistance. Nor does the most controversial proposal in President Johnson's 1966 civil rights bill, a clause banning racial discrimination in the sale, rental or financing of all housing, have any chance of approval without Republican backing. That support may not be forthcoming for the provision, at least in its present form. Last week Dirksen pronounced the housing section "absolutely unconstitutional," on grounds that it would invade the rights of private-property...

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