163 N.E.2d 429 (Ill. 1959), 780, In re Anastaplo

Docket Nº:Nonrecord No. 780.
Citation:163 N.E.2d 429, 18 Ill.2d 182
Party Name:In re George ANASTAPLO, Petitioner.
Case Date:November 19, 1959
Court:Supreme Court of Illinois

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163 N.E.2d 429 (Ill. 1959)

18 Ill.2d 182

In re George ANASTAPLO, Petitioner.

Nonrecord No. 780.

Supreme Court of Illinois.

November 19, 1959.

Rehearing Denied Jan. 21, 1960.

[18 Ill.2d 183] George Anastaplo, per se.

Harry Kalven, Jr., and Roscoe T. Steffen, Chicago, amici curiae.


The present proceeding is a sequel to In re Anastaplo, 3 Ill.2d 471, 121 N.E.2d 826.

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George Anastaplo passed the Illinois bar examination given in August of 1950. Thereafter, following extended hearings before the Committee on Character and Fitness for the First Appellate Court District, the committee, on June 6, 1951, advised Anastaplo that he had failed to prove such qualifications as to character and general fitness as, in the opinion of the committee, would justify his admission to the bar of Illinois.

Anastaplo filed in this court a 'Petition and appeal from the refusal of the Committee on Character and Fitness * * * to sign a favorable certificate for admission to the practice of law for the applicant and Motion to the Supreme Court of Illinois to provide for the admission of [18 Ill.2d 184] the applicant to the practice of law in the state of Illinois.' For the reason that Anastaplo charged that the committee abused its discretion and that certain of his constitutional rights were infringed upon, we found that circumstances existed which should cause the matter to be set down for argument and opinion. In re Summers, 325 U.S. 561, 65 S.Ct. 1307, 89 L.Ed. 1795. The matter was taken upon the record of the hearings before the Committee on Character and Fitness, the report of the committee, Anastaplo's brief and oral argument, briefs of two amici curiae and the suggestions of a one-time member of the committee in his behalf.

The crux of the earlier controversy centered upon Anastaplo's refusal to answer inquiries as to whether he was a member of the Communist Party or of any subversive organizations in a list compiled by the United States Department of Justice. When initially interrogated as to whether he was a member of the Communist Party Anastaplo answered that the question was an inquiry into his political beliefs and an 'illegitimate question.' He made like responses to similar questions in other parts of the record. Based upon these refusals, the committee, upon the basis of its opinion that a member of the Communist Party, because of such membership, might not be able in good faith to take the oath of attorney to support the Federal and State constitutions, thereupon directed questions to Anastaplo to elicit his views in what the committee deemed were pertinent areas of inquiry. Questioning of Anastaplo brought out his opinion that a member of the Communist Party, otherwise qualified, should be admitted to the practice of law and that he could see nothing contradictory or incompatible between adherence to tenets of that party and the taking of the attorney's oath to support the constitutions. Anastaplo expressed his belief in the doctrine of revolution and the overthrow of government by force of arms, saying [18 Ill.2d 185] that he would embrace such doctrine if he could not agree with the existing government, or found it unsatisfactory, and felt that force of arms was the only means to attain the end desired. He also stated that such view would not be altered even though the existing government provided for peaceful and orderly means of change. In its report denying Anastaplo a certificate, the committee stated that the views and opinions expressed by Anastaplo on these matters were not the basis of its decision, but that such views increased the importance of his refusal to answer and made more necessary a complete answer upon the subject of membership in the Communist Party, so that the committee could better determine the ability of Anastaplo to take the oath of attorney in good conscience and his good citizenship.

In this appeal to this court, Anastaplo contended that the committee abused its discretion and exceeded its function by inquiring into what he described as his 'political views,' directly or indirectly. We rejected this contention and held that the committee's inquiry into Anastaplo's membership in the Communist Party was relevant to a determination of his good citizenship and his ability to take the oath of a lawyer in good conscience, and that his constitutional rights were not infringed upon. Accordingly, we concluded that 'On the present record the petition must

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be denied.' Anastaplo appealed to the United States Supreme Court, which treated the appeal as a petition for writ of certiorari, and denied the petition. In re Anastaplo, 348 U.S. 946, 75 S.Ct. 439, 99 L.Ed. 740. The Supreme Court of the United States also denied Anastaplo's motion for admission to the bar of that court in 1955, 349 U.S. 903, 75 S.Ct. 575, 99 L.Ed. 1240.

Upon the authority of Dennis V. United States, 341 U.S. 494, 71 S.Ct. 857, 95 L.Ed. 1137; American Communications Ass'n, C.I.O. v. Douds, 339 U.S. 382, 70 S.Ct. 674, 95 L.Ed. 925, and In re Summers, 325 U.S. 561, 65 S.Ct. 1307, 89 L.Ed. 1795, we held that inquiries to applicant [18 Ill.2d 186] by the committee concerning his membership in the Communist Party did not violate either the First or the Fourteenth Amendment to the Federal constitution.

On June 25, 1957, subsequent to the decisions of the United States Supreme Court in Konigsberg v. State Bar of California, 353 U.S. 252, 77 S.Ct. 722, 1 L.Ed.2d 810, Schware v. Board of Bar Examiners, 353 U.S. 232, 77 S.Ct. 752, 1 L.E.2d 796, and Yates v. United States, 354 U.S. 298, 77 S.Ct. 1064, 1 L.Ed.2d 1356, Anastaplo filed with the Committee on Character and Fitness a supplementary petition for rehearing of his application for admission to the bar. On July 2, 1957, the committee denied the petition. Thereafter on September 17, 1957, we entered the following order:

'In 1951 the Committee on Character and Fitness for the First Appellate Court District denied the application of George Anastaplo for admission to the bar of Illinois. This Court affirmed the action of the Committee (In re Anastaplo, 3 Ill.2d 471, (121 N.E.2d 826)) and the Supreme Court of the United States denied certiorari. (348 U.S. 946, (75 S.Ct. 439, 99 L.Ed. 740).)

'Subsequently the applicant filed with the Committee a petition for rehearing on the basis of certain decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Committee denied this petition.

'The principal question presented by the petition for rehearing concerns the significance of the applicant's views as to the overthrow of government by force in the light of Konigsberg v. State Bar of California, 353 U.S. 252 (77 S.Ct. 722, 1 L.Ed.2d 810), and Yates v. United States, (354 U.S. 298), 77 S.Ct. 1064, 1 L.Ed.2d 1356. Additional questions presented concern the applicant's activities since his original application was denied, and his present reputation.

'We are of the opinion that the Committee should have allowed the petition for rehearing and heard evidence on these matters, and the Committee is requested to do so, and to report the evidence and its conclusions.'

[18 Ill.2d 187] In obedience to the directions of this court, the committee requested Anastaplo to file the questionnaire required by the committee of all applicants for admission to the bar. Anastaplo's answers, in large measure, supplemented the answers given to the questionnaire filed with the committee on October 26, 1950. Anastaplo also supplied attorney's affidavits and character affidavits from persons acquainted with him. In addition, the committee received communications from various individuals whose names were given as character references by Anastaplo and who furnished information concerning Anastaplo's moral character and general fitness to practice as an attorney.

The committee conducted five extended hearings, commencing February 28, 1958, and ending May 19, 1958. Anastaplo testified and argued at great length, as evidenced by approximately 420 pages of the record covering his oral testimony and argument. The record also contains law review articles, newspaper reprints, other exhibits, and letters from Anastaplo addressed to the committee. During the progress of the hearings, the committee

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repeatedly advised Anastaplo that he enjoyed the right to be represented by counsel and to call witnesses. He elected to submit his application solely upon his own testimony and argument.

During the interval between denial of his original application and the submission of his second application, Anastaplo had been employed the greater part of the time as an instructor and research assistant at the University of Chicago. The character affidavits and letters of reference supplied by Anastaplo disclose that he is well regarded by his academic associates, by professors who taught him in school and by lawyers who are personally acquainted with him. The committee says that it has not been supplied with any information by any third party which is derogatory to Anastaplo's character or general reputation, and that it has received no information from any outside source which would cast any doubt on Anastaplo's loyalty or which [18 Ill.2d 188] would tend to connect him in any manner with any subversive group. The committee further advises us that it has conducted no independent investigation into Anastaplo's character, reputation or activities. For the very practical reason that the committee has no personnel or other resources for any such investigation, the committee states that it has traditionally asserted the view that it cannot be expected to carry the burden of establishing, by independent investigation, whether an applicant possesses the requisite character and fitness for admission to the bar and that a duty devolves...

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