McCarran, Patrick (Pat) Anthony

   Born the son of Irish immigrants in Reno, Nevada, Patrick (“Pat”) McCarran attended the University of Nevada but did not complete his studies. He subsequently studied law part-time while farming and was admitted to the bar 1905. McCarran was elected to the Nevada state legislature as a Democrat in 1902 and was elected to the Nevada Supreme Court in 1913, where he served until 1918. He failed to win election to the U.S. Senate in 1916 and 1926 but was successful in 1932. He became increasingly conservative and opposed the National Recovery Administration, Tennessee Valley Authority, and National Youth Administration and the attempted “court packing” in 1937. Nonetheless, he was reelected three times and served until his death.
   After World War II, McCarran was an outspoken critic of Harry S. Truman’s administration, and as a member of the “China lobby” he accused the president of selling out to the communists. In 1950, he cosponsored the Internal Security Act that contributed to the repressive atmosphere generated by Joseph McCarthy, and as chair of the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, he was responsible for the attack on Owen Lattimore. He also supported the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 that maintained ethnic and racial quotas and incorporated stronger clauses for the exclusion and deportation of “dangerous aliens.”

Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . . 2015.

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