Pat McCarran

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Pat McCarran
Pat McCarran (Nevada) (1947).jpg
United States Senator
from Nevada
In office
March 4, 1933 – September 28, 1954
Preceded by Tasker Oddie
Succeeded by Ernest S. Brown
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Nevada
In office
January 2, 1917 – January 4, 1919
Preceded by Frank Herbert Norcross
Succeeded by Benjamin Wilson Coleman
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Nevada
In office
January 2, 1913 – January 1, 1917
Preceded by James G. Sweeney
Succeeded by Edward Augustus Ducker
Member of the Nevada Assembly
In office
1903-1905
Personal details
Born Patrick Anthony McCarran
(1876-08-08)August 8, 1876
Reno, Nevada, U.S.
Died September 28, 1954(1954-09-28) (aged 78)
Hawthorne, Nevada, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Profession Lawyer

Patrick Anthony McCarran (August 8, 1876 – September 28, 1954) was a Democratic United States Senator from Nevada from 1933 until 1954. McCarran was born in Reno, Nevada, attended the Nevada State University, and was a farmer and rancher. In 1902 he won election to the Nevada Assembly, but in 1904 he was an unsuccessful candidate for the Nevada State Senate. He completed private law studies and was admitted to the bar in 1905; in 1906 he won election as Nye County's district attorney. He served a two-year term, after which he relocated to Reno.

From 1913 to 1917, McCarran was an associate justice of the Supreme Court of Nevada, and he served as chief justice from 1917 to 1919. In 1932 McCarran defeated Republican incumbent Tasker Oddie for Nevada's Class 3 Senate seat; he was reelected three times, and served from 1933 until his death. In his Senate career, McCarran served as chairman of the District of Columbia, Judiciary, and Joint Foreign Economic Cooperation Committees. He died in Hawthorne, Nevada and was buried in Reno.

McCarran is remembered as one of the few Democrats to reject the New Deal. In addition, he was a proponent of the aviation industry; he was a sponsor of the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938, and was a proponent of establishing the United States Air Force as a separate entity from the Army. McCarran was also an ardent anti-Communist, to the point where he supported fascists including Francisco Franco as a way to prevent the spread of communism.

Early life and education[edit]

McCarran was born in Reno, Nevada, the child of Irish immigrants.[1] He was educated in Reno, and in 1897, he graduated as valedictorian of his class at Reno High School.[2]

He attended the University of Nevada, Reno, but withdrew to work on the family sheep ranch when his father suffered an injury.[2] He studied law, and served in the Nevada Assembly from 1903-05. In 1904 he was an unsuccessful candidate for the Nevada State Senate.[2] He was admitted to the bar in 1905, and in 1906 he was elected district attorney of Nye County. He served one term, 1907–09, after which he moved to Reno to continue practicing law.[2]

Some sources incorrectly state that McCarran received a bachelor's degree in 1901 and a master's degree in 1915.[3] In fact, he did not receive a bachelor's degree at all, and the master of arts he received from Nevada State University in 1915 was an honorary degree.[4] He also received an honorary LL.D. from Georgetown University in 1943,[5] and an honorary LL.D. from the University of Nevada in 1945.[6]

Judicial career[edit]

In 1912, McCarran was elected to the Supreme Court of Nevada, succeeding John G. Sweeney.[7] He served as an Associate Justice from January 1913 to January 1917.[8]

In January 1917, he succeeded Frank Herbert Norcross as Chief Justice. He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1918,[8] and served until January 1919, when he was succeeded on the court by Edward Augustus Ducker, and as Chief Justice by Benjamin Wilson Coleman.[8]

Both during his time on the court and afterwards, McCarran continued to play a central role in Nevada's state government, as well as its legal and criminal justice systems. From 1913-18, he served on the state Board of Library Commissioners.[9] In addition, he served as chairman of the Nevada State University Board of Visitors.[10]

From 1913-19 he served on the state Board of Pardons.[11] He was a member of the Board of Parole Commissioners from 1913–18, and he served on the Board of Bar Examiners from 1919-32.[11]

McCarran was president of the Nevada Bar Association from 1920–21, and was a vice president of the American Bar Association from 1922-23.[12]

United States Senate[edit]

Election history[edit]

McCarran's ambition to serve as a U.S. Senator was well known in Nevada, and often the subject of jokes in the press. He ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination in 1916, and lost to incumbent Key Pittman.[13] McCarran endorsed Pittman in the general election, and Pittman was reelected.[8]

In 1926, McCarran was again a candidate for the U.S. Senate. He lost the Democratic nomination to Raymond T. Baker, who was defeated by Republican incumbent Tasker Oddie in the general election.[8]

In 1932, McCarran was the Democratic nominee, and he defeated Oddie in the general election.[8] He was reelected in 1938, 1944, and 1950, and served from March 4, 1933 until his death.[14]

Leadership positions[edit]

During his career as a Senator, McCarran served as chairman of the: Committee on the District of Columbia (77th and 78th Congresses); Committee on the Judiciary (78th, 79th, 81st, and 82nd Congresses); and Joint Committee on Foreign Economic Cooperation (81st United States Congress) (co-chairman).[15]

Aviation advocate[edit]

McCarran sponsored numerous laws concerning the early commercial aviation industry, including the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938, the Federal Airport Act of 1945.[16] He was an early advocate of the Air Force as a military component separate from the Army, and began sponsoring the necessary legislation in 1933.[17]

Other initiatives[edit]

In 1945, McCarran co-sponsored the McCarran-Ferguson Act, which exempted the insurance industry from most federal regulations, including antitrust rules. Instead, this act allowed states to regulate insurance, including mandatory licensing requirements.[18]

McCarran also co-sponsored the 1946 Administrative Procedures Act, which required federal agencies to keep the public informed of their organizational structure, procedures and rules, allowed for public participation in the rule making process, and established uniform standards for the conduct of formal rule making.[19]

Anti-communist[edit]

McCarran established himself as one of the Senate's most ardent and influential anti-Communists, and was willing to back fascists in an effort to contain communism's spread and influence.[20] An admirer of Spanish fascist dictator Francisco Franco, he was nicknamed the "Senator from Madrid" by columnist Drew Pearson over McCarran's efforts to increase foreign aid to Spain.[21][22]

After World War II, McCarran continued his anti-Communist efforts. He was a supporter of China's Chiang Kai-shek, whose loss of mainland China to communists in 1949 McCarran blamed on alleged Soviet spies in the State Department.[23] In 1952, McCarran attended a dinner hosted by the Kuomintang Chinese Ambassador to Washington together with Senators Joseph McCarthy and William Knowland that began with the toast "Back to the mainland!"[24]

As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he created and was the first chairman of the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee that investigated the Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman administrations in a hunt for communist spies and sympathizers.[25] In 1951, investigators from the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee seized the records of the Institute of Pacific Relations in an effort to identify supposed communist influence in the organization, which had been formed in 1925 to foster cooperation between Pacific Rim nations.[26]

McCarran made much of these records when questioning a Sinologist, Owen Lattimore, for 12 days in acrimonious testimony in February 1951. McCarran subsequently pushed successfully for Lattimore to be indicted for perjury. Lattimore's lawyer Abe Fortas accused McCarran of deliberately asking questions about arcane and obscure matters that took place in the 1930s in the hope that Lattimore would not be able to recall them properly, thereby giving grounds for perjury indictments. Federal Judge Luther Youngdahl later dismissed all seven charges on the grounds that the matters in question were insubstantial, of little concern to the subject of the inquiry, or the result of a question phrased in such a way that it could not be fairly answered.[27]

In September 1950, he was the chief sponsor of the McCarran Internal Security Act. This legislation required registration with the Attorney General of the American Communist Party and affiliated organizations and established the Subversive Activities Control Board to investigate possible Communist-action and Communist-front organizations so they could be required to register. Due to numerous hearings, delays and appeals, the act was never enforced, even with regard to the United States Communist Party itself, and the major provisions of the act were found to be unconstitutional in 1965 and 1967.[28]

In June 1952, McCarran joined Francis Walter in sponsorship of the McCarran–Walter Act, a law that imposed more rigid restrictions on quotas for immigrants entering the United States. It also stiffened the existing law relating to the admission, exclusion and deportation of "dangerous" aliens as defined by the McCarran Internal Security Act. In response to the act he made a well known statement:

The immigration provisions of the act were later superseded by the 1965 Immigration Act, but the power of the government to deny visas for ideological reasons remained on the books another 25 years after that.[30]

McCarran remained in the Senate until his death in Hawthorne, Nevada in 1954.

Legacy[edit]

McCarran is remembered as one of the few Democrats to oppose President Franklin D. Roosevelt and reject the New Deal. In addition, he was a proponent of the aviation industry; he was a sponsor of the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938 and the Federal Airport Act of 1945, and was a proponent of establishing the United States Army Air Forces as the United States Air Force separate from the Army. He was also an ardent anti-Communist, to the point where he advocated support for fascists including Francisco Franco to prevent or combat the spread of communism.[31]

Harold L. Ickes described McCarran as "easy-going, old-shoe Pat" in a column criticizing McCarran as a tool of the oil companies. American journalist John Gunther was also critical of McCarran's alleged corporate ties, writing that he resembled gold "in that he is soft, heavy, and not a good conductor."[32]

McCarran's legacy includes McCarran International Airport, the airport that services Las Vegas, Nevada, as well as McCarran Boulevard, a major street in Reno.[33] McCarran Street, which runs through Las Vegas and some of its suburbs, is also named for McCarran.[34]

Statue in the National Statuary Hall Collection

A statue of McCarran is included in the National Statuary Hall Collection at the United States Capitol. Each state is allowed to display likenesses of two individuals; Nevada's are those of McCarran and Sarah Winnemucca.[17]

Possible statue removal[edit]

In 2017, Nevada's three Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives wrote to Governor Brian Sandoval and state legislative leaders, suggesting that review of McCarran's career might warrant removal of his statue from the National Statuary Hall Collection.[35]

While he fought for workers' rights and helped shape the country's aviation industry, McCarran left a legacy of racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism, said the letter sent Tuesday by Reps. Dina Titus, Ruben Kihuen and Jacky Rosen.[36][37]

On January 11, 2017, it was reported that a poll of Nevada legislators indicated support for removing McCarran's statue from the collection.[36] A bill introduced in the Nevada State Senate, SB 174, which called for the removal of the statue and renaming of McCarran International Airport for former U.S. Senator Harry Reid, failed to be passed before the end of the 2017 legislative session on June 1, 2017.[38]

Popular culture[edit]

Postcard depicting McCarran at the dedication ceremony for the original McCarran Field, now Nellis Air Force Base

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Browne, Blaine Terry; Cottrell, Robert C. (2010). Lives and Times - Individuals and Issues in American History Since 1865. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 173. ISBN 978-0-7425-6193-9. 
  2. ^ a b c d Edwards, Jerome E. (1982). Pat McCarran, Political Boss of Nevada. Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press. pp. 3–4, 7. ISBN 978-0-87417-071-9. 
  3. ^ Rocha, Guy (May 2001). Myth #64: Getting the Facts Down Pat. Carson City: Nevada State Library and Archives. p. 1. 
  4. ^ University of Nevada (November 1, 1922). Quarterly Bulletin. Reno, NV: University of Nevada. p. 33. 
  5. ^ "Georgetown U. to Confer Degree on Senator M'Carran". The Guardian (Little Rock). September 10, 1943. p. 5. 
  6. ^ University of Nevada Board of Regents (1946). Biennial Report of the Board of Regents of the State University of Nevada. Reno: University of Nevada. p. 21. 
  7. ^ Davis, Sam Post (1913). The History of Nevada. 1. Reno, NV: Elms Publishing Co. p. 306. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f "M'Carran Is New Chief Justice". Reno Gazette-Journal. Reno, NV. January 2, 1917. p. 3. (Subscription required (help)). 
  9. ^ United States Code Congressional and Administrative News. Eagan, Minnesota: West Publishing Company. 1955. p. 42. 
  10. ^ Farnsworth, Joe (1917). List of Members, Officers and Committees and Rules of the Two Houses of the Nevada Legislature. Carson City, NV: State Printing Company. p. 8. 
  11. ^ a b Encyclopedia of Nevada. Santa Barbara, CA: Somerset Publishers, Inc. 2000. p. 194. ISBN 978-0-403-09611-4. 
  12. ^ McCarran, Pat (May 1, 1939). "My Views on Senate Bill 1635". Popular Aviation. Chicago, Illinois: Ziff-Davis Publishing Company: 36. 
  13. ^ Rothman, Hal (2010). The Making of Modern Nevada. Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press. p. 79. ISBN 978-0-87417-826-5. 
  14. ^ Patrick Anthony McCarran, Late a Senator from Nevada. Washington, D.C.: US Government Printing Office. 1955. p. 5. 
  15. ^ Historian of the United States Senate. "Patrick Anthony McCarran profile". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Washington, D.C.: United States Senate. Retrieved December 14, 2016. 
  16. ^ Patrick Anthony McCarran, Late a Senator from Nevada. Washington, D.C.: US Government Printing Office. 1955. p. 47. 
  17. ^ a b c The First 100 Persons Who Shaped Southern Nevada, 1st100.com; accessed December 12, 2016.
  18. ^ "What is the McCarran-Ferguson Act?". Company Overview: McCarran-Ferguson Act. Bloomington, IL: State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company. Retrieved December 14, 2016. 
  19. ^ Grisinger, Joanna L. (2012). The Unwieldy American State: Administrative Politics since the New Deal. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. p. 77. ISBN 978-1-107-00432-0. 
  20. ^ Ceplair, Larry (2011). Anti-communism in Twentieth-century America: A Critical History. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC CLIO. p. 97. ISBN 978-1-4408-0047-4. 
  21. ^ Carter, Ralph G.; Scott, James M. (2009). Choosing to Lead: Understanding Congressional Foreign Policy Entrepreneurs. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. pp. 89–90. ISBN 978-0-8223-4503-9. 
  22. ^ Ybarra, Michael J. (2004). Washington Gone Crazy: Senator Pat McCarran and the Great American Communist Hunt. Hanover, NH: Steerforth Press. p. 504. ISBN 978-1-58642-065-9. 
  23. ^ Leffler, Melvyn P. (1992). A Preponderance of Power: National Security, the Truman Administration, and the Cold War. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. p. 295. 
  24. ^ Gillon, Steven M.; Kunz, Diane B. (1993). America During the Cold War. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. p. 58. 
  25. ^ Black, James Eric (2016). Walt Kelly and Pogo: The Art of the Political Swamp. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company. p. 199. ISBN 978-0-7864-7987-0. 
  26. ^ Newman, Robert P. (March 2, 1992). Owen Lattimore and the "loss" of China. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. p. 318. ISBN 978-0-520-07388-3. 
  27. ^ Haynes & Klehr Early Cold War Spies; p. 47; US Senate, 82nd Congress, 2nd Session, Committee on the Judiciary, Institute of Pacific Relations, Report No. 2050, p. 224
  28. ^ Fried, Richard M. (1990). Nightmare in Red: The McCarthy Era in Perspective. Oxford University Press. p. 187. ISBN 0-19-504361-8. 
  29. ^ Senator Pat McCarran, Congressional Record, March 2, 1953, p. 1518
  30. ^ Holmes, Steven A. (February 2, 1990). "Legislation Eases Limits on Aliens". New York Times. New York, NY. 
  31. ^ Carter, Ralph G.; Scott, James M. (2009). Choosing to Lead: Understanding Congressional Foreign Policy Entrepreneurs. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. p. 89. ISBN 978-0-8223-4503-9. 
  32. ^ Gunther, John (1947). Inside U.S.A. New York/London: Harper & Brothers. pp. 80, 84, 940. 
  33. ^ "Sen. Reid farewell speech transcript". Kolo TV. 
  34. ^ Smith, John L. (August 28, 2012). "If we’re erasing McCarran’s name, maybe we should dump some others". Las vegas Review-Journal. Las vegas, NV. 
  35. ^ Whaley, Sean (October 11, 2016). "Nevada lawmakers favor removing McCarran statue from US Capitol". Reviewjournal.com. Retrieved January 12, 2017. 
  36. ^ a b "Nevada lawmakers favor removing McCarran statue".
  37. ^ Mel Lipman. "McCarran's name dishonors Nevada - Las Vegas Sun News". Lasvegassun.com. Retrieved January 12, 2017. 
  38. ^ Whaley, Sean (June 6, 2017). "Las Vegas airport will not get a name change – Las Vegas Review-Journal". Reviewjournal.com. Retrieved June 7, 2017. 
  39. ^ Velotta, Richard N. (June 25, 2012). "Should McCarran airport be renamed for Las Vegas?". Vegas, Inc. Las Vegas, NV. 
  40. ^ Smith, John L. (August 28, 2012). "If we're erasing McCarran's name, maybe we should dump some others". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Las Vegas, NV. 
  41. ^ Dave in Northridge (November 28, 2012). "Top Comments: Okefenokee Swamp Edition". Daily Kos. 
  42. ^ Black, James Eric (2016). Walt Kelly and Pogo: The Art of the Political Swamp. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company. p. 199. ISBN 978-0-7864-7987-0. 
  43. ^ "G.D. Spradlin, 1920-2011". Boston Globe. July 26, 2011. Retrieved December 23, 2011. 
  44. ^ Hoffman, Dave (March 6, 2007). "The Godfather’s Connection to the US Attorney Scandal". Concurring Opinions. 
  45. ^ A listing of Season 3 episodes with synopses of the History channel reality TV series Pawn Stars
  46. ^ Worth, Chris (April 14, 2011). "Fallout New Vegas Tour: Location 18; Camp McCarran". Fallout: New Vegas Tour. Chris Worth. 

References and further reading[edit]

  • Edwards, Jerome E. Pat McCarran: Political Boss of Nevada (1982), highly detailed scholarly biography
  • Fried, Richard M. (1990). Nightmare in Red: The McCarthy Era in Perspective. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-504361-8. 
  • Klingaman, William (1996). The Encyclopedia of the McCarthy Era. New York : Facts on File. ISBN 0-8160-3097-9. 
  • Ybarra, Michael J. (2004). Washington Gone Crazy: Senator Pat McCarran and the Great American Communist Hunt. Steerforth Publishing. ISBN 1-58642-065-8. 
  • Edwards, Jerome E. (1982). Pat McCarran, Political Boss of Nevada. University of Nevada Press. ISBN 0-87417-071-0. 
  • Newman, Robert P. (1992). Owen Lattimore And The "Loss" of China. Berkeley : University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-07388-6. 
  • Schrecker, Ellen (1986). No Ivory Tower : McCarthyism and the Universities. New York : Oxford University Press,. ISBN 0-19-503557-7. 
  • Schrecker, Ellen (1998). Many Are The Crimes : McCarthyism In America. Boston ; London : Little, Brown. ISBN 0-316-77470-7. 
  • Hopkins, A. D. (1999). "Pat McCarran, Perennial Politician". The First 100; Portraits of the Men and Women Who Shaped Las Vegas. Stephens Media Group. 
  • "Patrick McCarran (1876–1954)". Las Vegas: An Unconventional History. American Experience, PBS. 2005. 

By Pat McCarran[edit]

  • McCarran, Pat (1950). Three years of the Federal Administrative Procedure Act: A study in Legislation. Georgetown Law Journal Association. 
  • McCarran, Pat. Build the West to Build the Nation; Address Before Guests And Members of the Board of Trustees of Builders of the West, Inc. 
  • McCarran, Pat. Displaced Persons: Facts Versus Fiction. U.S. Government Printing Office. 
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Tasker Oddie
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Nevada
1933–1954
Served alongside: Key Pittman, Berkeley L. Bunker,
James G. Scrugham, Edward P. Carville, George W. Malone
Succeeded by
Ernest S. Brown
Political offices
Preceded by
William H. King
Utah
Chairman of the Senate District of Columbia Committee
1941–1945
Succeeded by
Theodore G. Bilbo
Mississippi
Preceded by
Frederick Van Nuys
Indiana
Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee
1945–1947
Succeeded by
Alexander Wiley
Wisconsin
Preceded by
Alexander Wiley
Wisconsin
Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee
1949–1953
Succeeded by
William Langer
North Dakota