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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
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UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM
INTERVIEWEE: Manning Dauer
INTERVIEWER: Denise Stobbie
December 16, 1986
S: Professor Dauer, where did the drive to revise the Florida Constitution
D: There were actually two committees that worked toward establishing the
Constitution Revision Commission by law. Those were volunteer citizens'
committees. The first was a committee of the Florida Bar Association,
which was designed not so much to change the substance of the 1885
constitution as to eliminate obsolete sections and re-write the material
coherently. I have forgotten the name of the individual, but all that
material is recorded in the Florida Bar Journal. I became familiar with
it when I returned from World War II, where I served in the armed
services. That was back in 1946. This committee had been at work during
World War II. Their draft of a new constitution for the state of Florida,
which would not substantially change the substance, was published by the
Florida Bar Association. So that is one committee.
S: That one was the one that was working in 1946, so that was the first
effort at revision?
D: I think it preceded 1946, but I became familiar with the fact that its
work was ongoing when I returned in 1946. How far back it goes, I
recommend that you check the files of the Florida Bar Journal. Now, at
that point the League of Women Voters of the state of Florida became
interested in revision of the Florida Constitution of 1885 to include, in
its interest, substantive revision. Therefore, they invited some of us to
address members of the Florida League of Women Voters at statewide
meetings in Winter Park and Orlando in 1947 and 1948. At that time, there
was established a voluntary corporation, which was entitled "The Florida
State Constitutional Revision Committee." Now that should be clearly
distinguished from the later one established by the legislature in 1965 by
a specific act of the legislature, which is the official Florida
commission, whereas what I am talking about is a voluntary corporation.
It then met separately but with the support of the Florida State League of
Women Voters. A number of prominent members of the Florida political
community, including later
Governor Farris Bryant [Farris Bryant, Governor of Florida, (1961-1965)] and
Senator John McCarty [John M. McCarty, Florida State Senator, 12th District, (1963-1967)]
were members. John McCarty was at one point the president of this voluntary committee.
S: Who organized that?
D: It began with the Florida State League of Women Voters. There were two of
the presidents of the Florida State League who were from Orlando. I think
they were sisters, and I think their last name was Piper. That group had
meetings around the state to publicize the need for substantive revision
of the Florida State Constitution. That committee, for example,
recommended changing the executive article, looking at the question of
whether there should continue to be an elected cabinet, and trying to have
reforms in the local government article that would do away, for example,
with many local bills. Under the Constitution of 1885, you could enact a
law for each separate county, and that depended upon the action of the
members of the house and senate from that particular county. The idea was
to try to take the local bill authority away or to limit the local bill
authority of the legislature proper. Really, local bills were
automatically passed by the legislature if they had the approval just of
the house member and the senate member from the county involved. Local
bills were passed affecting the organization of the county government of a
county or as affecting a city within a county. Then there was also a move
for reform of the state court structure, which became a project of the
Constitution Revision Committee. That idea of reform of the court system
was also favored by the Florida Bar Association. So there was a separate,
parallel move going on to amend Article V, which pertains to the
judiciary. There were conferences of the bar on a regional and local
basis. They brought in experts from the American Judicature Society, for
example, which is a national legal reform organization. A fairly
prominent role in those conferences was carried out by Dr. Stephen C.
O'Connell [Stephen C. O'Connell, President, University of Florida, (1968-
1974)], who later became a member of the official Constitution Revision
Committee. You might well ask John McCarty about the work of the general
committee and also Dr. Stephen O'Connell about the work of the Florida Bar
Association, which ultimately led to the revision of Article V; which,
while the later legal Constitution Revision Commission worked on it, was
not presented in the 1968 revision, but came about later.
S: Right. Before you go further, were there revisions to Article V in 1955?
They were considering it then, and in some of the things I have read, it
says Article V had been revised.
D: There were revisions, but there was no complete revision of Article V.
The Constitution of 1885, before it was finally superceded with the
present Constitution of 1968, had, as I remember, about 155 amendments.
Among those were provisions to abolish justices of the peace, for example.
So there were revisions like that which were adopted during this period
because the justices of the peace did not have to be lawyers and they were
under constant criticism. They had been wiped out in most of the counties
of the state by local bills, by the way. So even before they were wiped
out by constitutional amendment for the whole state, they had been
abolished in the majority of the counties by local bills.
S: So there had been some revisions to Article V.
D: If you want to go through the 155 amendments, you have my blessing, which
I am not entitled to give you. You can take all the time you want, and
you will probably find twenty amendments to Article V.
D: Now partly due to this work of the Constitution Revision Committee,
Governor LeRoy Collins [LeRoy Collins, Governor of Florida, (1955-1961)]
made it a prominent part of the platform on which he ran for the
governorship. In the special election for the governorship after the
death of Governor Dan McCarty [Daniel T. McCarty, Governor of Florida,
(January 6-September 28, 1953)] Collins made it a point of his platform
in both races to have constitution revision. He had the legislature adopt
a law setting up a Constitution Study Commission, which met at that time.
He also appointed a Constitution Revision Committee, which I served on--
the governor's Constitutional Commission. Then, the study commission
employed Dr. Ernest Bartley [Ernest R. Bartley, Professor of Urban and
Regional Planning, University of Florida, (1949-present)], who currently
is a professor of planning at the University of Florida. He was the
outside consultant to the study commission. The governor tried,
therefore, to get the legislature to adopt some measures for constitution
revision. But he was never able to get anything--except a study
commission--during his two terms that lasted six years in the 1950s. I
would recommend that if you can, get an interview with Dr. Bartley, he
probably also has considerable file material. He earlier had been a
consultant to the state of Alaska when it was admitted to statehood, and
also to the state of Hawaii. At that time, he was a member of the
political science department, but he later became a specialist in zoning
law. He transferred about ten years ago out of the department of
political science, where he was professor of public law, and went into the
present department of planning, where he still is a professor. Now, it
was finally in 1965 that, because of these past pressures that had been
building up, the Florida Legislature passed a law establishing the
Constitution Revision Commission; members of which were named by the
speaker of the house, the president of the senate, and the governor. The
attorney general served on it, and so did some from the supreme court.
That commission finally met in 1966. At its opening session, there were
addresses from consultants, who were: Professor William Collins of the
University of Georgia; Professor Albert Sturm, a professor of government
at Florida State University; and myself. We gave three addresses at the
opening session at the invitation of the chairman, Mr. Chesterfield Smith.
[S. Chesterfield Smith, Florida State Representative, (1951-1967)] The
commission then proceeded to its own work during 1966, and finally made
its report. Of course, there is a stenographic record of the proceedings
and reports of many of the sub-committees. Besides general
recommendations, items that I particularly spoke to were recommendations
for the limitation on local bills, and also the idea of forcing
reorganization of the executive department. I recommended that they
follow the model state constitution, which had been drafted by the
National Civic League and which proposed that there be no more than ten
executive departments in the state government; and that the legislature
had to reorganize state executive agencies into no more than ten
departments. This caught on in the commission and ultimately, they and
the legislature itself, once it got hold of the commission draft, changed
it to the present provision of no more than fifteen state executive
departments. That ultimately forced the State Executive Reorganization
Acts of 1968 and 1969, which consolidated some 155 independent departments
into no more than fifteen.
S: Besides making the opening address to the commission when it met, did you
serve as a consultant to that commission? Did you have any other part in
D: From time to time, I would communicate with sub-committees of the
commission at the request of such sub-committees. For example, that on
the executive branch.
S: Your were just called in as a consultant on those?
D: That is correct.
S: How much do you think the work of this commission in 1966 was refining the
work of previous committees and groups?
D: Well, in things like court reform, things were beginning to gel. For
example, one thing that I have left out that I recommended was that they
not have over three layers of courts. However, the Constitution Revision Commission
recommended to the legislature that that be postponed to a
separate vote, because they were worried at the time about taking on the
possible opposition of many of the county judges.
S: That is why they just held off on the Article V revisions until a
D: I think they could have agreed among themselves. But the main reason, as
I interpret the climate at that time, was that they thought that the
judiciary article by itself would be sufficiently controversial. Rather
than having the whole thing possibly go down the drain because somebody
opposes this or that, it would be better to have one vote leaving Article V
as it was, but leave to the reform legislature the idea of the ultimate
work. One other thing that I recommended was that they have an article on
reapportionment which would throw reapportionment into the hands of the
state supreme court or of an independent reapportionment commission. They
later chose the option of letting the legislature do it, and if they
turned up with a plan that was not valid, then the state supreme court
should do it.
S: From the materials I was using to prepare, I could see there was some
opposition from you and from other gentlemen. I just wanted to ask you
D: That was an analytical pamphlet published by the Public Administration
Clearing Service of the Department of Political Science at the University of Florida.
The three principal authors of that pamphlet were
Dr. Gladys Kammerer [Gladys Marie Kammerer, Professor of Political Science and Director of Public Administration Clearing Service, University of Florida,
(1958-1971)], who was a professor of public administration;
Professor Clement Donovan [Clement H. Donovan, Head of Economics Department,
University of Florida, (1940-1977)], who was a professor of economics; and
myself. Actually the pamphlet is ambivalent, and there are two separate
conclusions (laughs): one by Dr. Kammerer, which really does oppose it,
and another by Donovan and I, which says that it has flaws but is not bad.
S: So it was not really opposing it on your part.
D: It does have analytical sections where you discuss the pros and cons. It
also has conclusion sections in which Dr. Kammerer, while not making a
flat recommendation, turns up with more opposition than for it.
S: Well, good. Those were things I wanted to ask you about. One thing I
would be interested in doing would be interviewing you back in Gainesville
once I have talked with all these members--just getting your ideas on the
work that they did and also the changes between what the commission did
and what they have done in the legislature.
D: By the way, the legislature had to meet twice. In January of 1967, the
then new Governor Kirk [Claude Roy Kirk, Governor of the State of Florida,
(1967-1971)] convened the legislature in special session immediately in
January. But at that time, the federal district court found the
legislature to be invalidly constituted and declared they had to run
again. So ultimately it was a newly elected legislature in special
elections in late winter and early spring before April that ran through
two primaries and another general election. It was the new legislature
that then met to take up the work that the Constitution Revision Commission ended.
It met in the summer of 1967. I was the author of the
plan presented before the court, which declared the old legislature
apportionment invalid. I also drew up the districts for the new plan.
That was in an amicus curiae brief that I filed in the case of Swann v. Adams.
S: So they were new legislators that finally approved and adopted this.
D: I think they were much more receptive to the work of the commission
than I believe would have been the case with the old legislature.
S: Thank you for your time, Professor Dauer.
D: You are welcome.