Price Daniel

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Price Daniel : biography

October 10, 1910 – August 25, 1988

Texas Attorney General

Price returned to Texas after his military service and won the seat of Attorney General.

As Texas State Attorney General, he argued the 1946 submerged lands ownership lawsuit United States v. California, 332 U.S. 19 before the Supreme Court of the United States in 1947, on behalf of the coastal states. The Supreme Court decided against California on June 23, 1947.

Daniel defended the University of Texas law school in the 1950 Sweatt v. Painter desegregation case. Herman Marion Sweatt, a black student, was denied admission to the University of Texas Law School in February 1946. Sweatt had met all the requirements, except that Texas schools were segregated by law. The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in June, 1950, Sweatt must be allowed admission.

Legacy

  • Price Daniel Sr. State Office Building, Austin, is part of the Texas State Capitol Complex
  • Price Daniel Distinguished Public Service Award, Baylor Alumni Association

United States Senate

In 1952, Daniel was elected to the United States Senate. He was immediately taken under the wing of Senate Minority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson, with the senior Senator helping to alleviate office space shortage by allowing Daniel’s staff to work out of LBJ’s office.

Daniel held positions on committees of the Interior; Interstate and Foreign Commerce; Post Office and Civil Service; and Judiciary, as well as Judiciary subcommittees on Internal Security and Juvenile Delinquency.

The new Senator worked on a narcotics probe and reforming the electoral college

Opposed to desegregation efforts, Senator Price Daniel joined 19 other Senators and 77 members of the United States House of Representatives in signing the 1956 Southern Manifesto, which condemned the 1954 United States Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, and encouraged states to resist implementing it. The Supreme Court’s 1958 Cooper v. Aaron decision held that the states were bound to uphold the previous decision on desegregation.

Tidelands and 1952 elections

The most long-lasting accomplishment of Price Daniel was in helping to retain Texas title to the submerged lands, and mineral rights therein, off the coast. The victory has netted billions of dollars for Texas schools. Texas viewed this issue as of primary importance during the 1952 campaign. Eisenhower supported state ownership, while Adlai Stevenson stood in opposition. The state of Texas, including many prominent state Democratic party leaders, went with Eisenhower who won the state of Texas in the election.

The Tidelands controversy was over who owned the rights to of submerged land in the Gulf of Mexico between low tide and the state’s Gulfward boundary three leagues (10.35 miles) from shore. Texas acquired the rights as a republic, and later reserved the rights when it entered the Union in 1845. The Texas legislature authorized the School Land Board to execute the mineral leases on behalf of the Permanent School Fund.

Among coastal states, the Federal government claimed ownership when oil was discovered on the lands. Texas State Historical Association The first lawsuit, United States v. California, 332 U.S. 19, was filed by the Federal government against California in 1946. The attorneys general of all other states filed an amicus curiae brief in opposition. Price Daniel Sr., as Texas State Attorney General, argued the case before the Supreme Court of the United States on March 13–14, 1947, on behalf of all the other states. In 1947, the Supreme Court decided against California on June 23, 1947.

Congress presented a 1952 bill confirming states’ ownership, which was vetoed by President Harry Truman. In that same year, Presidential candidate General Dwight D. Eisenhower stated his belief that the Annexation Agreement of Texas gave the rights to Texas. Candidate Adlai Stevenson announced he would veto any bill out of Congress guaranteeing the rights to Texas. The Texas state Democratic convention passed a resolution urging all its members to vote for Eisenhower.

In 1953, then Senator Price Daniel

was one of 35 co-sponsors to the Florida Senator Spessard Holland-authored Senate Joint Resolution 13 restoring the right of the submerged lands to the coastal states. Price Daniel, Lyndon Johnson, Spessard Holland and Senate Majority Leader Robert Taft worked tirelessly to overcome the 27-day filibuster of the bill, with it passing the Senate 56-35 votes, and approved by the House of Representatives on May 13. President Eisenhower signed the bill into law on May 22, 1953. 

World War II military service

When the legislature adjourned in May 1943, Daniel waived his draft exemption and enlisted in the United States Army, serving in the Security Intelligence Corps. In this capacity, he saw service in Amarillo, Texas, Pine Bluff, Arkansas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He received his Second Lieutenant commission in 1944 after training at the Judge Advocate General Officers School in Ann Arbor, Michigan, afterwards becoming an instructor at the Army School for Personnel Services in Lexington, Virginia. The Army shared Daniel with the United States Marine Corps in 1945, the latter sending him to Sasebo, Nagasaki, Japan to set up a Marine Personnel School. He received "outstanding authority" citations from both branches of service, and was discharged in May, 1946.