The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt


NEW YORK—There is one courageous lady, I think, who deserves credit for persistence in her efforts on behalf of women's welfare. Her name is Mrs. Jency Price Houser, and for ten years she has appeared before almost every housing committee because of her conviction that there is one need which all the housing bills overlook. This is the need for providing good but inexpensive apartments for single women, for widows living on pensions, for women no longer able to work and for those living on Social Security.

Often these are women who were accustomed to greater comforts when they were young and earning high salaries, or when their husbands were alive. Now that they are left alone, they often pay prices all out of proportion to their income for even a semi-decent place in which to live. They never know when the rents will be raised and they will have to move, just as they are also forced to move if the house in which they have an apartment is sold or if the management is changed and essential services are reduced to practically nothing. These women are not all older people. Some of them are still working, but cannot meet the difficulties in finding good housing that exist in almost every city.

I also want to mention a bill recently introduced in Congress by Senators Jenner and Butler which, I believe, should be defeated. Its prime purpose is to humiliate the Supreme Court. I would suggest that the report of the minority committee, consisting of Senators Hennings, Kefauver, Wiley and Carroll, be read by every member of the Senate and by all interested citizens, for it is a powerful indictment of this bill. The minority reports shows that the bill has many ambiguities, contains what might be considered unconstitutional gestures, and is designed to "intimidate and coerce the Court into handing down `more popular decisions.'"

Its first section, for instance, would forbid the Supreme Court to hear any appeal from a state refusal to admit a qualified applicant to the bar. This of course means that if a state objected to having people of any particular race or religion qualify for the legal profession or the practice of law, those denied acceptance would have no redress. Section One of the proposed bill, in other words, would remove the safeguard of due process of law and equal protection under the law, because there would be no appeal possible to the highest court. The minority conclusion, therefore, is that Section One would "open the way to Congress to whittle away at the Federal judiciary whenever the majority disagreed with the decision of the Supreme Court."

No hearings were held by the Judiciary Committee on the issues raised in any sections of this bill, although the other three sections are almost as bad in their way as the first one is. There is no doubt in my mind that this type of legislation should be turned down with as big a majority as possible, thus making it clear to those members who want special consideration that they cannot obtain it in this way.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • New York (N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, June 10, 1958

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.