William L. Marbury, a member of the Harvard Corporation and a Baltimore lawyer, failed Wednesday to convince the American Bar Association's leaders to censure a key provision of the Civil Rights Bill.
The 275-member House of Delegates refused to denounce the Administration's plan to end discrimination in Federal Courts after hearing Attorney General Nicholas deB. Katzenbach defend the plan.
Marbury contended that the proposal to select Federal jurors at random from voter registration lists rather than relying on prominent citizens to recommend them--as is now done--would lower the standards for jurors.
These standards call for jury lists that represent as high a degree of integrity, intelligence, morality and common sense as possible."
Chief Judge Rossel C. Thompson of the United States Court for the District of Maryland had asked him to submit the resolution, Marbury said.
As a member of the Corporation, Marbury sits with the President of the University, its treasurer and four other Yellows as the school's highest governing body. The Corporation, which owns all Harvard land, is ultimately responsible for the conduct of the University.
Katzenbach argued that the current selection system confronts him with a "massive problem" because it does not produce the fair cross-section of the community that the Supreme Court requires.
Last month the situation became more critical, he said, when the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which includes the Deep Sough states, declared the prominent or "key man" system unconstitutional.
Thus, many grand and petit juries in the Fifth Circuit cannot take valid action until a constitutional method is available. Katzenbach said.
"I can't wait," he said. "I can't simply delay. I can't live with the present system."
He challenged the association to improve on the Administration's jury proposal. But, failing that, he said. "I don't know what you expect me to do if Congress doesn't act on this problem."
A rebuff by the 122,000-member association would have meant serious trouble in the Senate for the jury provision of the Civil Rights Bill of 1966, which passed in House yesterday.
Before the Attorney General spoke, the delegates had voted 103 to 78 against a motion to shelve the matter pending further study; after his speech, they voted overwhelmingly to table the resolution criticizing the Administration's plan. Only 57 delegates voted for the resolution.
Marbury was supported by John C. Satterfield, a former president of the association. Satterfield cited a report showing that of 45 federal judges who answered a questionnaire on the issue none favored the bill.