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Proceedings and Debates of the 1967 Constitutional Convention
Volume 104, Volume 1, Debates 489   View pdf image (33K)
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[Nov. 8] DEBATES 489
virile, reapportioned, intelligent, and now
for the first time, a new word, visible
They ask us in this report, and will in-
deed in subsequent reports, to vest in this
new legislature a great and increased power
over the legislatures that have existed in
this State in the past.
At the same time, ladies and gentlemen
of the Convention, they say to us, that
this legislature, with these greatly increased
powers, should be deprived of that power
most crucial to its own welfare, and that
is the power to decide its own size.
I have been led to believe, Mr. Chairman,
that men entitled to command must first
learn to command themselves, and unless
the legislature is able to command itself,
unless it can be sufficiently mature and
responsible to decide its own size, I sug-
gest to you, sir, that perhaps there may
be other serious restrictions that need to
be imposed on it.
It seems to me illogical, therefore, to
say on the one hand, it should have the
power to do what needs to be done for
Maryland, except it should not have the
power to decide its own size.
I suppose the only logical reason why
that argument is advanced, certainly there
is no other reason in the report, is some
kind of an inherent feeling that the legis-
lature in determining its size will not be
sufficiently responsible to the needs of the
people, but will indeed be responsible only
to the needs of the city adjoining the dis-
trict of each individual legislator. I sub-
mit, sir, there is an effective way to start
the new constitutionally created, agressive,
reapportioned legislature. We should vest
with them our vote of confidence that they
will be able to rise above the petty indirec-
tion of their own body and decide what
their own proper size should be.
It is conceded by the majority spokesman
that there is no magic in numbers. It is
conceded by the other persons who have
spoken that there is no ideal size. We are
not talking about a Senate of Rome. We
are not talking about a senate, the precise
specifications of which can properly be
Say what you will, the last word on
Baker v. Carr and its companion cases has
not been said. No major, sweeping con-
stitutional revision as fundamental as this
one has been released in its present pos-
ture. As our cases are presented, I sug-
gest that amendmnts and refinements will
take place. All that we of the small coun-
ties ask is that the Constitution of Mary-
land be left in a sufficiently flexible posi-
tion to permit us, as the court decided that
one man-one vote needs to be refined, to
be able to take advantage of those re-
I suggest further that there is a ten-
dency on the part of all of us sometimes
to use cliches instead of thought, and I
suggest that when we mention the term,
"one man-one vote," we sometimes tend to
stop thinking. Fair, equitable and just
representation is the requirement for the
people of Maryland. One man-one vote is a
keystone of that fair and just and equitable
representation. It is not, however, the only
element, as is pointed out in both the Eney
Commission Report and by other people
who have spoken to this group. At least
leave to us the flexibility so that the future.
may determine what is fair and just. Do
not impose rigid restrictions now, with-
out having had the evidence before you.
The Committee concedes that it has not
even attempted to translate its formula
into districts or regions or boundaries—
Let that be done where indeed it should
be, in the legislative halls of this body.
We are suffering the shrinking pains of
reapportionment, and those pains for us
are real. Many of you are suffering the
growing pains of urbanization, and for
you they, too, are real. If we structure
our state government in a sufficiently flexi-
ble manner, the shrinking pains of reappor-
tionment and the growing pains of urbani-
zation can find mutual solutions to their
problems. I say to you in all candor, that
in the halls of this body, we have had here
only a limited time for debate, and inade-
quate time to present to you the many
injustices that will be brought about in
terms of adequate, fair and equitable repre-
sentation of the people of this State by
the formula which is proposed by the
majority; do not force that on us. Leave
us at least the dignity to come before this
body at the appropriate time, after the
facts are before us, to argue our case.
Leave it with the legislature. Under one
man-one vote, there is no question where
residual power of the legislature will be.
We are prepared to trust that residual
power. We do not want to have our rights,
however, foreclosed by this kind of a con-
stitutional limitation.
I urge that the legislative proposal now
before you gives the maximum flexibility,
gives the maximum opportunity to create

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Proceedings and Debates of the 1967 Constitutional Convention
Volume 104, Volume 1, Debates 489   View pdf image (33K)
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