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Nevada Government & Politics
Contemporary Nevada
(1964-Present)

Grant Sawyer: Civil Rights

Grant Sawyer was governor of Nevada from 1959 to 1967.  He was born in Twin Falls, Idaho on December 14, 1918.  He came to Nevada first to attend the University of Nevada and later to settle in Elko.  Before becoming governor, he served as Elko County District Attorney and as a member of the Board of Regents.  After serving two terms in office, Governor Sawyer moved to las Vegas to practice law until his death on February 19, 1996.
 
 
 
"Civil Rights," Grant Sawyer, 1965

Four years ago this body created a Commission on Equal Rights of Citizens. Last year the 88th Congress passed a Federal Civil Rights Bill. The federal legislation provides in part that
states having adequate legislation in this field may handle civil rights matters without the unsolicited assistance of a federal agency.

The federal legislation, as a matter of fact, is the law of the land. Its most controversial title, public accommodations, has been held constitutional by the United States Supreme Court. The argument, therefore, is no longer as to the merits of the civil rights legislation - it is the law and applies equally throughout the land. It is no longer then a question of what is going to be done, but simply a question of who is going to do it. We either meet the responsibilities in this field by adequate state legislation or have it met for us by a federal agency or a federal court. I prefer the former.

Many of us are concerned about the right of states to resolve their own problems. Here is an opportunity to preserve such rights. If we do nothing, let us not be heard complaining of
federal intervention.  Action is needed.  I am confident you will enact not only the morally inescapable legislation but, in this case, the expedient legislation.

Photo Credit:
Nevada State Library and Archives