Decided June 4, Isserman, Los Angeles, Cal. Petitioners were indicted in July,for violation of the conspiracy provisions of the Smith Act, 54 Stat. The pretrial motion to quash the indictment on the grounds, inter alia, that the statute was unconstitutional was denied, United States v.
The jury found all the defendants guilty. The convictions were affirmed by the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. We were asked to review this affirmance on all the grounds considered by the Court of Appeals.
These included not only the scope of the freedom of speech guaranteed by the Constitution, but also serious questions regarding the legal composition of the jury and the fair conduct of the trial. No attempt was made to seek an enlargement of the range of questions thus defined, and these alone are now open for our consideration.
All others are foreclosed by the decision of the Court of Appeals. The conclusion that he did so requires no labored argument. On the basis of the instructions, the jury found, for the purpose of our review, that the advocacy which the defendants conspired to promote was to be a rule of action, by language reasonably calculated to incite persons to such action, and was intended to cause the overthrow of the Government by force and violence as soon as circumstances permit.
This brings us to the ultimate issue. In enacting a statute which makes it a crime for the defendants to conspire to do what they have been found to have conspired to do, did Congress exceed its constitutional power?
The appellants maintain that they have a right to advocate a political theory, so long, at least, as their advocacy does not create an immediate danger of obvious magnitude to the very existence of our present scheme of society. On the other hand, the Government asserts the right to safeguard the security of the Nation by such a measure as the Smith Act.
Our judgment is thus solicited on a conflict of interests of the utmost concern to the well-being of the country. This conflict of interests cannot be resolved by a dogmatic preference for one or the other, nor by a sonorous formula which is in fact only a euphemistic disguise for an unresolved conflict.
If adjudication is to be a rational process, we cannot escape a candid examination of the conflicting claims with full recognition that both are supported by weighty title-deeds.
Our whole history proves even more decisively than the course of decisions in this Court that the United States has the powers inseparable from a sovereign nation. The right of a government to maintain its existence—self-preservation is the most pervasive aspect of sovereignty.
The constitutional power to act upon this basic principle has been recognized by this Court at different periods and under diverse circumstances. United States U.
See also De Lima v. Like the war power, which is indeed an aspect of the power of self-preservation, it is subject to applicable constitutional limitations.
Our Constitution has no provision lifting restrictions upon governmental authority during periods of emergency, although the scope of a restriction may depend on the circumstances in which it is invoked. It exacts obedience even during periods of war; it is applicable when war clouds are not figments of the imagination no less than when they are.
The Smith Act and this conviction under it no doubt restrict the exercise of free speech and assembly. Does that, without more, dispose of the matter?United States, U.S. (); United States v. Rabinowich, U.S. 78 (). If the ingredients of the reaction are present, we cannot bind the Government to wait until the catalyst is added.
1. Petitioners were indicted in July, , for violation of the conspiracy provisions of the Smith Act, 54 Stat. , 18 U.S.C. ( ed.) § 11, during the period. View this case and other resources at: Citation. U.S. , 71 S. Ct. , 95 L. Ed. , U.S. Brief Fact Summary. The Petitioners, Dennis and others (Petitioners) were convicted for (1) willfully and knowingly conspiring to organize as the Communist Party of the United States, a group whose members advocated the .
Jun 22, · Dennis v. United States, U.S. (), was a United States Supreme Court case involving Eugene Dennis, general secretary of the Communist Party, USA and dealing with citizens' rights under the First Amendment to .
United States, U.S. , 40 regardbouddhiste.com 17, 63 regardbouddhiste.com , was laid under an amendment to the Espionage Act which prohibited conspiracies to advocate curtailment of production of material necessary to prosecution of the war, with the intent thereby to hinder the United States in the prosecution of the war.
United States, U.S. () -- one speech attacking United States' participation in the war; Abrams v. United States, U.S.
() -- circulation of copies of two different socialist circulars attacking the war; Schaefer v.