And only once in the 37 years since 1927 had it agreed to cloture for any measure.
On June 19, the substitute (compromise) bill passed the Senate by a vote of 73–27, and quickly passed through the House–Senate conference committee, which adopted the Senate version of the bill.
Smith, a Democrat and avid segregationist from Virginia, indicated his intention to keep the bill bottled up indefinitely. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, changed the political situation.
Normally, the bill would have been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Senator James O. Given Eastland's firm opposition, it seemed impossible that the bill would reach the Senate floor.On the morning of June 10, 1964, Senator Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) completed a filibustering address that he had begun 14 hours and 13 minutes earlier opposing the legislation.To avert the humiliation of a successful discharge petition, Chairman Smith relented and allowed the bill to pass through the Rules Committee. Both men had come to hear the Senate debate on the bill.Lobbying support for the Civil Rights Act was coordinated by the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, a coalition of 70 liberal and labor organizations. This was the only time the two men ever met; their meeting lasted only one minute.Powers given to enforce the act were initially weak, but were supplemented during later years. in which he asked for legislation "giving all Americans the right to be served in facilities which are open to the public—hotels, restaurants, theaters, retail stores, and similar establishments", as well as "greater protection for the right to vote".Congress asserted its authority to legislate under several different parts of the United States Constitution, principally its power to regulate interstate commerce under Article One (section 8), its duty to guarantee all citizens equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment and its duty to protect voting rights under the Fifteenth Amendment. Kennedy delivered this speech following the immediate aftermath of the Birmingham campaign and the growing number of demonstrations and protests throughout the southern United States.When the bill came before the full Senate for debate on March 30, 1964, the "Southern Bloc" of 18 southern Democratic Senators and one Republican Senator led by Richard Russell (D-GA) launched a filibuster to prevent its passage.Said Russell: "We will resist to the bitter end any measure or any movement which would have a tendency to bring about social equality and intermingling and amalgamation of the races in our (Southern) states." The most fervent opposition to the bill came from Senator Strom Thurmond (D-SC): "This so-called Civil Rights Proposals, which the President has sent to Capitol Hill for enactment into law, are unconstitutional, unnecessary, unwise and extend beyond the realm of reason.Two days later, Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen and Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield both voiced support for the president's bill, except for provisions guaranteeing equal access to places of public accommodations.This led to several Republican Congressmen drafting a compromise bill to be considered.