|MORSE, Wayne Lyman, politician and Senator from Oregon. Born near Madison WI on 10/20/1900. Public schools; graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1923, and received a graduate degree from that institution in 1924; graduated from the law department of the University of Minnesota at Minneapolis in 1928, and from the law school at Columbia University, N.Y., in 1932
Held a reserve commission as second lieutenant, Field Artillery, United States Army 1923-1929
University professor. Taught argumentation at the Universities of Wisconsin and Minnesota; assistant professor of law at the University of Oregon at Eugene 1929, associate professor 1930, and dean and professor of law 1931-1944
Served on several government commissions. Member of the Oregon Crime Commission.
Administrative director, United States Attorney General’s Survey of Release Procedures 1936-1939. Pacific Coast arbitrator for the United States Department of Labor (maritime industry) 1938-1942, and also served in other capacities of the Labor Department. Chairman of the Railway Emergency Board 1941. Alternate public member of the National Defense Mediation Board 1941. Public member of the National War Labor Board 1942-1944. In these appointments, Morse was an advocate for mediation between management and unions, helping to reach conclusions satisfactory to all parties involved.
U.S. Senator (OR) 1945-1969. Won the 1944 Republican primary, defeating incumbent U.S. Senator Rufus Holman (a conservative Republican). In the election of 1944, Morse defeated Democrat Edgar W. Smith. Left the Republican Party in 1952 and became an Independent. Reelected as a Democrat, 1956 and 1962. Unsuccessful Democratic nominee for re-election in 1968, 1972
Although Morse had worked valiantly for the entire Republican slate in Oregon in 1944, after taking office he worked with the Democratic administration. President Truman recommended that the Fair Employment Practices Committee should be made permanent following the end of World War II, and Morse was the leader of the effort in the Senate [NYT 3/1/1946]. Southern Democrats killed the move with a filibuster [NYT 5/25/1946]. After the Republicans gained control of Congress in 1947, Morse helped draft legislation to regulate the use of filibusters [NYT 1/29/1947]. In labor votes, Morse organized liberal and moderate Senators together against the conservative Republican and Southern Democratic bloc, though the latter retained a majority of the Senators [NYT 5/1/1947].
Morse’s most famous action during the 80th Congress was his filibuster on the vote to override President Truman’s veto of the Taft-Hartley Act. After the House voted 331-83 to override the veto, it was apparent that the Senate would follow. Morse began a filibuster and spoke himself for ten hours without stopping. Southern Democrats used several measures to attempt to break the filibuster, using the new rules Morse helped adopt at the beginning of the Congress [NYT 6/22/1947].
Opposition to China Lobby, 1950. After the fall of mainline China to the Communists, a collection of wealthy nationalists began to work in the U.S. Congress to strengthen ties to the Taiwan government. Morse, whose anti-Communist credentials were without question, was alarmed by the practices of the powerful lobby, and he called for an investigation into the lobby’s tactics. Morse opposed US recognition of Red China and seating it in the UN, but he protested the use of treasury funds to finance the lobby. Senator Morse offered his resolution for investigating the lobby in 1951.
On June 1, 1950 Senator Morse joined six other senators in signing the Declaration of Conscience, drafted by Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith. Morse had become disgusted with the lack of due process and severe tactics of Senator McCarthy.
President Truman offered the post of US Attorney General to Morse in 1951. When two cases of malfeasance came to the attention of Congress, Morse recommended that Truman replace the AG. The President responded by offering the post to Morse, but Morse felt that he could be more effective in the Senate.
Morse left the Republican Party during the 1952 campaign, becoming an Independent. He was displeased with the moves that Eisenhower and Nixon seemed to be taking to the right. The final straw was a meeting with Eisenhower and Taft at Morningside Heights in New York. Out of this meeting came the advancement of every item on the conservative agenda that Taft had pushed for years. Senator Morse, feeling betrayed, turned his back on the party he had dutifully represented for years.
One area where Senator Morse would not bend in his ideals was the use of wiretapping as evidence to seek out suspected communists. The issue of wiretapping came up in 1953 when Attorney General Herbert Brownell asked Congress to allow wiretapping in cases involving espionage or sabotage. Morse opposed wiretapping, but agreed to an early bill proposed by Brownell called the Immunity Bill. This bill granted immunity from persecution of a witness for any disclosures he might make once he shed the protection of the 5th Amendment against self incrimination. Morse believed wiretapping violated the 4th Amendment and it should be stopped at all costs. The bill had been passed in the House 377-10, and looked as if it would be impossible to defeat. Morse threatened to filibuster if the act was pushed through. He insisted wiretapping was not selective and the privacy of those unsuspected of crimes would be jeopardized. Morse's continued assault on the practice of wiretapping was not fruitless and in June of 1954 the bill died before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill was defeated by only one vote.
Morse supported the McCarran Act, later called the Internal Security Act. This act required the registration of Communist-action groups. The Internal Security Act allowed political beliefs rather than actions to be used as grounds to deny aliens admission into the US or to deport them. His decision to support the McCarran Act proved his loyalty to the destruction of the Communist element in the US. Morse would later use this decision to nullify attacks that he was weak on communism.
In 1953, he made a filibuster for 22 hours and 26 minutes protesting the Tidelands Oil legislation, which at the time was the longest one-person filibuster in Senate history. (unsourced Wikipedia)
In 7/1954, Senator Ralph E. Flanders introduced a motion to censure Senator McCarthy. Upon hearing this, Morse called for a bill of evidence providing the grounds for censure. He believed that if the Senate did not substantiate its censure of Senator McCarthy it would be guilty of the same offenses. Senator Morse was confident that the Senate would see McCarthy punished, but believed it needed to be done lawfully.
Contender for Democratic presidential nomination, 1960. Congresswoman Edith Green was Kennedy's Oregon chairperson, and State Senator and former DNC Committeeman Monroe Sweetland, who had pushed Morse to switch parties, was a paid organizer for the Kennedy campaign. Morse's campaign chairman was Orde Pinckney of Bend, a Morse staffer and college professor. Kennedy won both primaries easily, and Oregon's winner take all rules resulted in the entire Oregon delegation supporting Kennedy at the Democratic convention in Los Angeles. (unsourced Wikipedia)
In 1964, Morse was one of only two Senators who voted against the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. Following its passage, Morse became one of the most vocal opponents of increased US involvement in Vietnam. His vocal opposition to the Vietnam War was considered to be the reason for his defeat by Robert W. Packwood in 1968.
Lecturer and labor arbitrator; distinguished visiting scholar, State University of New York 1969-1970
Candidate for U.S. Senate (D-OR) 1974; won the Democratic nomination and was actively engaged in campaigning when he died 7/22/1974, in Portland OR; interment in Rest Haven Memorial Park, Eugene OR.
Note: Portions of this biography were taken from an un-cited source; these portions and other unsourced information are shown in this article in italics.