Nation: Tame Talkathon

"Mr. President, Mr. President!" Mississippi Democrat John Stennis, chairman of the Senate Preparedness Subcommittee, was on his feet, demanding the floor. For a speech on Viet Nam? A ringing call for action to avenge the seizure of Pueblo? Nothing of the kind. Stennis was merely taking his turn in a lackluster mini-filibuster that has almost totally preoccupied the U.S. Senate since it reconvened three weeks ago.

The tame talkathon is directed against a civil rights bill that would make it a federal crime to commit violence—including murder—against members of racial and religious minorities trying to exercise their civil rights. The bill, already...