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Series VI. Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention, 1967-1968

Scope and Content Notes:

Following rather close on the heels of the '66 campaign for U.S. Congress, yet another Thornburgh campaign got underway despite some advice from friends to the contrary. Newly elected Pennsylvania Governor Raymond P. Shafer made constitutional reform a priority for his administration and voters were asked in the May 1967 primary to call a limited Constitutional Convention. Thornburgh's long standing interest in judicial reform and his then developing concerns about local government tempted him to run in his own Forty-third District, although heavily Democratic. Thornburgh's successful campaign for delegate and subsequent participation at the Constitutional Convention are well documented here as well as the workings of the convention, which the press quickly dubbed "Con Con." To date this remains Pennsylvania's most recent Constitutional Convention.

There were four specific areas for which constitutional amendments were to be considered: finance and taxation, the judiciary, legislative reapportionment, and local government. The Convention opened on December 1, 1967 and continued for three months during which time Thornburgh commuted back and forth between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg. Following the convention's closing on February 28, 1968, he participated in efforts to enact the resultant four proposals in the May 6 primary, particularly the judicial article, and embarked on a vigorous speaking tour to solicit voter support. Although all four were successfully passed in the primary, unfortunately the next year the watered-down judicial merit selection plan was defeated in a separate referendum. Thornburgh has continued to date to be an active proponent of merit-selection as evidenced in ongoing articles and op-eds (available here online).

Home Rule is a topic somewhat surprisingly very well documented here, a topic with which Thornburgh has maintained continuous interest up to and including the passage in 1998 of Pittsburgh's home rule charter. His 1969 article "Blueprint for Modern Government: A Home Rule Charter for Pittsburgh" is a "package of recommendations - some of which, years, later, were actually included in the Pittsburgh charter - [which] received a good deal of publicity and editorial approval" ( Evidence, p. 36).

"All of us who participated in this historic gathering took great satisfaction in our accomplishments ... For me, it was a truly exhilarating experience. After years of only talking about the political process, I had finally been able to be a central participant in the 'nuts and bolts' of a significant government effort ... I arrived home ... anxious to seek out the next challenge" ("Evidence" draft, p. 126).

The files are in twelve sections: "Background reports and articles," "Campaign for and delegate to Con Con," "Convention opening and procedures," "Convention Committees," "Judiciary Committee working files," "Judiciary Committee Subcommittees," "Delegate Thornburgh's Files," "Clippings, Editorials and Bulletins," "Home Rule," "Efforts to Implement Judiciary Article," "Thornburgh's working copies of manuals, proposals and hearings," and "Hardcover publications of Con Con."

Subseries 1. Background Reports and Articles

Scope and Content Notes:

These records include background reports regarding constitutional revision in Pennsylvania over the years 1959-1967. There also are reports and drafts prepared by the Pennsylvania Bar Association and National Municipal League on subjects to be considered at the convention. The Pennsylvania Senate Bill "providing for a constitutional convention" is included as well as articles about judicial reform and other relevant constitutional issues.

Box 26
Folder 1 Background Reports and Booklets Regarding Constitutional Revision in Pennsylvania 1959-1967
Folder 2 Major reports and drafts submitted by PA Bar Assn (annotated), and National Municipal League 1967
Folder 3 State Constitutional Reform and Home Rule issues and background accompanying draft of paper entitled "The State Constitution as Symbol and as Instrument" by Harry Woodruff Turner undated
Folder 4 PA Senate Bill No. 1 "providing for a constitutional convention" 1967
Folder 5 "Proposals of the Pennsylvania Bar Association" and Statement regarding proposed Judiciary Article July 31, 1967
Folder 6 "Judicial Reform in Pennsylvania" by Mercer D. Tate -Reprinted from Villanova Law Review Vol. 10, No. 2 (Winter 1965) 1965
Folder 7 "Proceedings of the Seminar On Constitutional Issues" (annotated): Council for a More Effective Constitutional Convention," Penn State University October 6, 1967

Subseries 2. Campaign for and Delegate to the Constitutional Convention

Scope and Content Notes:

In typical fashion, Dick Thornburgh meticulously maintained records both of his campaign and his participation at the convention. Much of the material is annotated and many drafts of proposals and articles are included. The news releases from his delegate campaign are particularly interesting background on the prospective work and goals of the convention and are available here online. His delegate news releases (also available online) and mailings further document the ongoing news from the convention. Delegate lists, programs and ephemera are here as well as the "Convention Reporter" news bulletins. Although convention proposals no doubt are available elsewhere, Thornburgh's individual delegate participation and personal delegate records from the convention in progress appear to be unique and especially of interest.

Section: Delegate Campaign

Folder 8 Better Constitution Committee, Thornburgh Chairman and Treasurer 1967
Folder 9 Delegate Campaign: memos, correspondence, clippings, editorials, brochures and drafts 1967
Folder 10 Campaign News Releases 1967
Folder 11 Con Con Clips and Editorials re: Delegate Campaigns 1967
Folder 12 Letters of Congratulations on Election as Delegate to the Convention August -December 1967

Section: Delegate to Con Con

Folder 13 Delegate News Releases and Mailings 1967-1968
Folder 14 Delegate to Con Con: programs, delegate ephemera, programs, expenses and events 1967-1968
Folder 15 Delegate Binder: includes guidebook, roster, and daily "Convention Reporter" news bulletins 1967-1968
Folder 16 Delegates to Con Con: Lists, directories, and license plate undated
Folder 17 Correspondence from Thornburgh, Delegate November 1967-April 1968
Folder 18 Correspondence to Thornburgh, Delegate December 1967-December 1968
Folder 19 Correspondence from Hymen Diamond December 1967-March 1968
Folder 20 Delegate Mail/Memos from Outside Organizations 1967-1968

Subseries 3. Convention Opening and Procedures

Scope and Content Notes:

Opening remarks of Pennsylvania Governors Scranton and Shafer and President Broderick of the convention are included here. Thornburgh's early participation on the Temporary Committee on Rules and Organization is documented as well as his memo on proposed convention rules and procedures, much of which was taken into account in the final rules. One of his two committee appointments, here the Committee on Style and Drafting, contains agendas, drafts and edited convention proposals. "Counsels" to the convention are here, too. News releases and memoranda of the convention further document the convention in progress.

Box 27
Folder 1 Opening of Con Con: Remarks by former Governor Scranton and Governor Shafer December 1, 1967
Folder 2 President Broderick Remarks and Letters 1968
Folder 3 Temporary Committee on Rules and Organization; Thornburgh Memo: Suggested Proposed Convention Rules and Procedure (annotated) 1967-1968
Folder 4 Committee on Style and Drafting: memos, agendas, drafts and edited convention proposals; Thornburgh a member January-February 1968
Folder 5 Counsel to Convention Opinions: Marvin Comisky (incomplete) 1967-1968
Folder 6 News releases and memoranda January-March, 1968

Subseries 4. Convention Committees

Scope and Content Notes:

Materials from four major committees of the convention appear in this small section: local government, administrative and finance, legislative apportionment, and taxation and finance. These files include information from the public hearings before these committees, frequently with Thornburgh annotations. Additionally there is a report from the committee on "arrangement and submission and address to the people."

Folder 7 Local Government 1967-1968
Folder 8 Administrative and Finance 1967-1968
Folder 9 Legislative Apportionment 1967-1968
Folder 10 "Committee on Arrangement, Submission and Address to the People: Recommendation No. 1" 1967-1968
Folder 11 Taxation and Finance 1967-1968

Subseries 5. Judiciary Committee Working Files

Scope and Content Notes:

Most of the early work of the convention was done in committee. Thornburgh was appointed to the Judiciary Committee where he served as Secretary. This rich group of files includes minutes, issues, drafts, memoranda, schedules, correspondence and proposals. There is much regarding Delegate Proposal 1000, the first proposed amendment to the constitution, which was submitted by Dick Thornburgh. This was the judicial reform plan drafted by the Pennsylvania Bar Association upon which he had worked for the previous five years. There is much here about the Judicial Committee Proposal 7 and rebutting objections to it. Attacks on the proposal focused on "merit selection" provisions designed to take judicial selection out of the political arena. The Judiciary Committee was co-chaired by former Governor Scranton and Philadelphia financier and community leader Gustave Amsterdam.

Folder 12 Minutes, Assignments and issues 1967-1968
Folder 13 Drafts, Memoranda. Schedules and Correspondence 1967-1968
Folder 14 Action Reports 1968
Folder 15 Judiciary Proposal, drafts January, 1968
Folder 16 Judiciary Article, Amendments (annotated) February, 1968
Folder 17 Delegate Proposal 1000, by RLT (annotated) later Judicial Proposal No.7 1967-1968
Folder 18 Judiciary Committee Proposal No. 7 Original and amended 1968
Folder 19 Endorsement of Proposal 1000 from Allegheny Bar Association: letter (Proposal 7) December 22, 1967
Folder 20 Schedules to Supplement Proposal No. 7 February, 1968
Folder 21 Judicial Committee Report in Support Of Committee Proposal No. 7 and Supporting correspondence February, 1968
Folder 22 Proposal No. 7: Pomeroy on behalf Of Allegheny County Bar Assn rebuts Objections to Proposal 7 April, 1968

Subseries 6. Judiciary Subcommittees, Correspondence and Issues

Scope and Content Notes:

A number of subcommittees worked on various aspects of judicial reform: minor judiciary, tenure, retirement, and selection of judges for example. These are essentially working files and include background information, drafts, proposals from subcommittees, and in some cases votes. Also here are files from the 1969 pre primary efforts to pass judicial reform proposals, more of which appear in section 06:10.

Section: Judicial Issues

Box 28
Folder 1 Judicial Issues in Philadelphia January 1968
Folder 2 Minor Judiciary Issues in Allegheny County February, 1968
Folder 3 Judicial Issues and Systems from Other States 1968

Section: Correspondence, Articles and Reports

Folder 4 Correspondence to the Judiciary Committee 1968
Folder 5 Judicial Selection articles, reports and correspondence 1968
Folder 6 Pro/Con Judiciary speeches and article 1968

Section: Subcommittees

Folder 7 Minor Judiciary November-January, 1967-1968
Folder 8 Tenure December 1967
Folder 9 Retirement undated
Folder 10 Judicial Administration and Organization, Thornburgh Memo undated

Section: Selection of Judges

Folder 11 Minutes and Proposals of Selection of Judges Sub Committee December-January, 1967-1968
Folder 12 Background Information 1967
Folder 13 Binder: drafts and proposals from subcommittees 1968
Folder 14 Votes and Drafts 1967-1968
Folder 15 State and Local Judicial Nominating Commissions December, 1967

Section: Pre Primary Actions regarding Merit Selection

Folder 16 Merit Selection-pre primary efforts to pass judicial reform proposals April-May, 1969

Subseries 7. Thornburgh's Topic Files

Scope and Content Notes:

These topic files evidence Thornburgh's deep and ongoing interest in judicial and home rule topics. The materials consist of reports, articles and clippings and particularly in the case of "local government" (i.e. home rule) the files include relevant material dating prior to the convention. This material augments his actual working files of the convention.

Folder 17 The Courts 1967
Folder 18 Juvenile Courts 1967
Folder 19 Local Government 1965
Folder 20 Local and Municipal Taxation 1967
Folder 21 County Taxation 1967
Folder 22 State Taxation 1967

Subseries 8. Clippings, Editorials and Bulletins

Scope and Content Notes:

This small group of material is in effect monitoring the public response to the actions and proposals of the convention in the form of news clippings and editorials during the months of the convention. Additionally there are bulletins from the convention itself, although not complete here.

Folder 23 Con Con original news clippings 1968
Folder 24 Con Con editorials 1968
Folder 25 Con Con news bulletins (incomplete) 1968

Subseries 9. Home Rule

Scope and Content Notes:

These files document in detail Thornburgh's persistent interest in home rule, which was one of the two areas on which he concentrated at the convention. The local government amendment subsequently adopted was the authority for all local government units to adopt home rule charters for their governance. A sub theme as Thornburgh and other reformers saw it was the opportunity to streamline the governmental process. There was then and over subsequent years continued resistance to the changes a home rule charter would promote and any reform that threatened existing political power structures. Not only is there much material from the drafting sub-committee and home rule committees at the convention but also considerable material following the convention regarding the promotion of home rule for Pittsburgh into the 1970s. Thornburgh in fact was Chair of a Drafting Sub-Committee of the Pittsburgh Home Rule Committee in 1969. Included, too, are speeches, event files and news releases by Thornburgh during 1967-68 and a paper with drafts which he wrote and distributed in 1969 entitled "Blueprint for Modern Government: A Home Rule Charter for Pittsburgh." It is interesting to note that it was not until 1998 that Pittsburgh finally passed its home rule charter. These home rule files are unique in identifying the history of this topic in Pittsburgh over subsequent years as well as during the active period of the convention.

Section: Advisory Subcommittee and Drafting Subcommittee

Box 29
Folder 1 Home Rule Advisory Committee and Drafting Sub-Committee 1969
Folder 2 Clippings regarding formation of Advisory Committee and Drafting Sub-Committee early 1969
Folder 3 Richard L. Thornburgh, Chair, Drafting Sub-Committee early 1969
Folder 4 Report of Drafting Sub-Committee of Pittsburgh Home Rule Committee June 6, 1969
Folder 5 Background Information for report on Drafting Sub-Committee March 18, 1969 - May 7, 1969
Folder 6 "County Government under PA Constitution," by PA Economy League December, 1967

Section: Speeches and Events

Folder 7 Speeches October-November, 1970
Folder 8 Events regarding Home Rule 1971-1974

Section: News Releases

Folder 9 Press Releases 1968-1972

Section: Correspondence, Notes, Remarks and Drafts

Folder 10 Correspondence related to "Blueprint for a Modern Government:..." and January 16, 1969 article from "Point" 1969
Folder 11 Paper: "Blueprint for Modern Government: A Home Rule Charter for Pittsburgh" by Thornburgh (with drafts) January 10, 1969
Folder 12 Speech: "Metropolitan Government...Would You Repeat the Question?" as published in Legal Journal vol. 119 No. 3, 3/1/71 March 1, 1971
Folder 13 Correspondence to Thornburgh- post draft: June, 1969-1974
Folder 14 Correspondence and notes of Thornburgh 1968-1972
Folder 15 Remarks, articles and reports by local and national officials and Thornburgh 1970-1972

Section: Home Rule Charter for Pittsburgh and Allegheny County

Folder 16 Home Rule Charter- Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, Discussion Drafts 1973-1974
Folder 17 Studies and Reports 1972-1977
Folder 18 Presentation to Allegheny County Government Study Commission by Committee for Progress in Allegheny County 1977

Section: Pamphlets, Reports and Editorials

Folder 19 Home Rule Editorials 1970-1974
Folder 20 League of Women Voters Home Rule Fact Sheet and Information 1970-1974
Folder 21 "Local Government Reform in Allegheny County: Can LEAA Help It Happen?" by James M. Seif under Local Government Seminar, University of Pittsburgh December 1970
Folder 22 Pamphlets and Reports on Home Rule: Local and National Articles on Home Rule 1965-1969
Folder 23 Local and National Articles on Home Rule 1966-1970

Subseries 10. Efforts to Implement the Judiciary

Scope and Content Notes:

These are the detailed files associated with efforts to promote and implement, in this case, the judiciary article. The news articles and files cover 1967-1968 with strong, organized efforts prior to the May 1968 primary. Thornburgh's files from the Pennsylvania Bar Association Committee on Implementation of Judiciary Article are particularly detailed, especially the Sub-Committee on Community Courts of which he was Chairman. There is additional information from the Allegheny County Bar Association as well as post Con Con speaking engagements and efforts by a Lawyers Committee for "Yes" vote. There are in depth reports pre primary and related post primary victory celebrations. Finally there are two files of historical interest, one a report by Mercer Tate from Con Con, in progress, and a "Con Con History" by George Wolf, published by the National Municipal League in 1969.

Section: Bar Associations

Box 30
Folder 1 "Project Constitution": Pennsylvania Bar Association 1962-1966
Folder 2-3 Revision Committee: Allegheny Bar Association 1967, 1970-1971
Folder 4 PA Bar Association Committee on Implementation of Judiciary Article, Part I 1968-1969
Folder 5-7 PA Bar Association Committee on Implementation of Judiciary Article, Part I: Sub-Committee on Community Courts, Thornburgh Chairman 1963-1969
Folder 8-9 PA Bar Association Committee on Implementation of Judiciary Article, Part II 1968-1969
Folder 10 Clippings regarding judiciary matters 1968-1969
Folder 11 PA Bar Association Committee on Implementation of Judiciary Article, "Report of the Subcommittee on Community Courts," Richard L. Thornburgh, Chairman September 27, 1968

Section: Pre and Post Primary 1968 Actions and Results

Folder 12 Post Con Con Speaking Engagements and Lawyers Committee for "Yes" vote (pre-primary and including election results) March-May, 1968
Folder 13 "A Review of Judiciary Article Proposed by PA Constitutional Committee," Thornnburgh speech to PA Bar Association House of Delegates March 22, 1968
Folder 14 Pre Primary Promotions to Vote from various political and business people March-May, 1968
Folder 15 In depth committee reports (pre-primary) (4) April, 1968
Folder 16 Con Con Proposals Passed: Primary May, 1968
Folder 17 Memos post primary; victory celebration May-June, 1968
Folder 18 Statement of RLT before the Judiciary Committee of the Senate of PA October 23, 1968

Section: Con Con History

Folder 19 Reports from Con Con by Mercer Tate 1967-1968
Folder 20 "Constitutional Revision in Pennsylvania: The Dual Tactic of Amendment and Limited Convention," by George D. Wolf, published by National Municipal League 1969

Subseries 11. Working Copies of Manuals, Proposals and Hearings

Scope and Content Notes:

This section documents delegate proposals, and history of proposals, including Thornburgh's working manuals. There is much material from public hearings before various committees, including especially the presentations before the Judiciary Committee, some with Thornburgh annotations. The public hearings before the Committee on Legislative Apportionment also contain his annotations.

Box 31
Folder 1 Delegate Proposals 1000-1209: including 1000 and 1138 by Thornburgh 1967-1968
Folder 2 Convention Calendar and History of Proposals, with indexes to proposals and resolutions February 29, 1968
Folder 3 Thornburgh's reference manuals (1-9) annotated 1967-1968
Folder 4 Thornburgh's Proposals Adopted: working manuals, history and indexes 1967-1968
Folder 5 Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention Public Hearings Before the Committee on the Judiciary December 27,1967
Folder 6 Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention Public Hearings Before the Committee on Local Government December 28, 1967
Folder 7 Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention Public Hearings Before the Committee on Taxation and State Finance December 29, 1967
Folder 8 Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention Public Hearings Before the Committee on Legislative Apportionment (annotated) December 29, 1967
Folder 9 Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention Presentation Before the Committee on the Judiciary (annotated) January 4, 1968 and January 5, 1968
Folder 10 Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention Presentation Before the Committee on the Judiciary January 9, 1968 and January 11, 1968

Subseries 12. Constitutional Convention Publications

Scope and Content Notes:

These volumes are official and inclusive accounts of the convention: debates and journals of the convention, reference manuals, and proposals adopted by the convention.

Box 32
Folder 1 Debates of the Constitutional Convention: Vol. I "Supplemental Information Relating to the Convention and Journals of the Convention" December 1, 1967-February 9, 1968
Folder 2 Debates of the Constitutional Convention: Vol. II "Journals of the Constitution" February 12-29, 1968
Folder 3 "Journals of the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention" 1967-1968
Folder 4 Reference Manual #1: The Convention 1967-1968
Folder 5 Reference Manual #2: Constitutions of Pennsylvania and the United States 1967-1968
Folder 6 Reference Manual #3: A History of Pennsylvania Constitutions 1967-1968
Folder 7 Reference Manual #4: Local Government 1967-1968
Folder 8 Reference Manual #5: The Judiciary 1967-1968
Folder 9 Reference Manual #6: Legislative Apportionment 1967-1968
Folder 10 Reference Manual #7: Taxation and State Finance 1967-1968
Folder 11 Reference Manuals #8 and #9: Bibliography and Index 1967-1968
Folder 12 Constitutional Proposals Adopted by the Convention 1967-1968