CHICAGO (May. 15)
Two bills were passed by the Illinois State Senate last week designed to circumvent court rulings which would permit Nazis to stage a much-publicized march in Skokie, a Chicago suburb, which is the home of 7000 Holocaust survivors, the Jewish United Fund (JUF) of Metropolitan Chicago reported.
A JUF spokesman said the bills were sent to the State House which is expected to act on them soon. Supporters of the bills hope to stop the march permanently or to place new roadblocks to delay it for several months. The Nazis have applied to the Skokie village Council for a permit to stage their march in Skokie on June 25 but the Council has not acted yet on the request.
Basically, the bills forbid parades by quasimilitary hate groups and distribution of defamatory hate literature. State Senator Howard Carroll, a Chicago Democrat who sponsored the bill banning distribution of hate material, said “the issue here is whether or not people have a right to live in human dignity. We are saying that race-baiting and hate mongering have no place in our society.”
Carroll’s bill, passed by a vote of 44 to 10, established as a new crime, criminal group defamation which would be a misdemeanor, punishable by six months in jail. Under the measure, which meets certain constitutional challenges, local officials in Illinois could get injunctions to bar distribution of defamatory material. The other bill, sponsored by John Nimrod, a Glenview Republican, bans parades by quasi-military hate groups.
Asked about the issue of constitutionality, the JUF spokesman said the measures were patterned after a 1952 Illinois statute which he said had been declared valid by the U.S. Supreme Court but which had been left out of a 1964 revision of the state criminal code.
The Skokie Village Council approved three ordinances designed to prevent the Nazis from staging their march in swastika-adorned uniforms and from distributing hate literature. The constitutionality of those ordinances is being challenged for the Nazis by the American Civil Liberties Union.