82 20 Communist Party of United States v. Subversive Activities Control Board, No. 12

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtFRANKFURTER
Citation6 L.Ed.2d 625,367 U.S. 1,81 S.Ct. 1357
Decision Date05 June 1961
Docket NumberNo. 12
PartiesSee 82 S.Ct. 20. COMMUNIST PARTY OF the UNITED STATES of America, Petitioner, v. SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES CONTROL BOARD

367 U.S. 1
81 S.Ct. 1357
6 L.Ed.2d 625
See 82 S.Ct. 20. COMMUNIST PARTY OF the UNITED STATES of America, Petitioner,

v.

SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES CONTROL BOARD.

No. 12.
Argued Oct. 11, 12, 1960.
Decided June 5, 1961.
Rehearing Denied Oct. 9, 1961.

[Syllabus from pages 1-4 intentionally omitted]

Page 4

Messrs. John J. Abt, New York City, and Joseph Forer, Washington, D.C., for petitioner.

Mr. J. Lee Rankin, Washington, D.C., Sol. Gen., for respondent.

Mr. Justice FRANKFURTER delivered the opinion of the Court.

This is a proceeding pursuant to § 14(a) of the Subversive Activities Control Act of 1950 to review an order of the Subversive Activities Control Board requiring the Communist Party of the United States to register as a Communist-action organization under § 7 of the Act. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has affirmed the Board's registration order. Because important questions of construction and constitutionality of the statute were raised by the Party's petition for certiorari, we brought the case here. 361 U.S. 951, 80 S.Ct. 502, 4 L.Ed.2d 536.

The Subversive Activities Control Act is Title I of the Internal Security Act of 1950, 64 Stat. 987, 50 U.S.C. § 781 et seq., 50 U.S.C.A. § 781 et seq. It has been amended, principally by the Communist Control Act of 1954, 68 Stat. 775, and certain of its provisions have been carried forward in sections of the Immigration and Nationality Act adopted in 1952, 66 Stat. 163, 8 U.S.C. §§ 1182, 1251, 1424, 1451, 8 U.S.C.A. §§ 1182, 1251, 1424, 1451. A brief outline of its structure, in pertinent part, will frame the issues for decision.

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Section 2 of the Act recites legislative findings based upon evidence adduced before various congressional committees. The first of these is:

'There exists a world Communist movement which, in its origins, its development, and its present practice, is a world-wide revolutionary movement whose purpose it is, by treachery, deceit, infiltration into other groups (governmental and otherwise), espionage, sabotage, terrorism, and any other means deemed necessary, to establish a Communist totalitarian dictatorship in the countries throughout the world through the medium of a world-wide Communist organization.'

The characteristics of a 'totalitarian dictatorship,' as set forth in subsections (2) and (3) are the existence of a single, dictatorial political party substantially identified with the government of the country in which it exists, the suppression of all opposition to the party in power, the subordination of the rights of the individual to the state, and the denial of fundamental rights and liberties characteristic of a representative form of government. Subsection (4) finds that the direction and control of the 'world Communist movement' is vested in and exercised by the Communist dictatorship of a foreign country; and subsection (5), that the Communist dictatorship of this foreign country, in furthering the purposes of the world Communist movement, establishes and utilizes in various countries action organizations which are not free and independent organizations, but are sections of a world-wide Communist organization and are controlled, directed, and subject to the discipline of the Communist dictatorship of the same foreign country. Subsection (6) sets forth that

'The Communist action organizations so established and utilized in various countries, acting under such control, direction, and discipline, endeavor to

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carry out the objectives of the world Communist movement by bringing about the overthrow of existing governments by any available means, including force if necessary, and setting up Communist totalitarian dictatorships which will be subservient to the most powerful existing Communist totalitarian dictatorship. Although such organizations usually designate themselves as political parties, they are in fact constituent elements of the world-wide Communist movement and promote the objectives of such movement by conspiratorial and coercive tactics, instead of through the democratic processes of a free elective system or through the freedom-preserving means employed by a political party which operates as an agency by which people govern themselves.'

In subsection (7) it is found that the Communist organizations thus described are organized on a secret conspiratorial basis and operate to a substantial extent through 'Communist-front' organizations, in most instances created or used so as to conceal their true character and purpose, with the result that the 'fronts' are able to obtain support from persons who would not extend their support if they knew the nature of the organizations with which they dealt. Congress makes other findings: that the most powerful existing Communist dictatorship has caused the establishment in numerous foreign countries of Communist totalitarian dictatorships, and threatens to establish such dictatorships in still other countries (10); that Communist agents have devised ruthless espionage and sabotage tactics successfully carried out in evasion of existing law (11); that the Communist network in the United States is inspired and controlled in large part by foreign agents who are sent in under various guises (12); that international travel is prerequisite for the carrying on of activities in furtherance of the Communist movement's purposes (8); that Com-

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munists have infiltrated the United States by procuring naturalization for disloyal aliens (14); that under our present immigration laws, many deportable aliens of the subversive, criminal or immoral classes are free to roam the country wito ut supervision or control (13). Subsection (9) finds that in the United States individuals who knowingly participate in the world Communist movement in effect transfer their allegiance to the foreign country in which is vested the direction and control of the world Communist movement. Finally, in § 2(15), Congress concludes that

'The Communist movement in the United States is an organization numbering thousands of adherents, rigidly and ruthlessly disciplined. Awaiting and seeking to advance a moment when the United States may be so far extended by foreign engagements, so far divided in counsel, or so far in industrial or financial straits, that overthrow of the Government of the United States by force and violence may seem possible of achievement, it seeks converts for an wide by an extensive system of schooling and indoctrination. Such preparations by Communist organizations in other countries have aided in supplanting existing governments. The Communist organization in the United States, pursuing its stated objectives, the recent successes of Communist methods in other countries, and the nature and control of the world Communist movement itself, present a clear and present danger to the security of the United States and to the existence of free American institutions, and make it necessary that Congress, in order to provide for the common defense, to preserve the sovereignty of the United States as an independent nation, and to guarantee to each State a republican form of government, enact appropriate legislation recognizing the existence of such world-wide con-

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spiracy and designed to prevent if from accomplishing its purpose in the United States.'

Pursuant to these findings, § 7(a) of the Act requires the registration with the Attorney General, on a form prescribed by him by regulations, of all Communist-action organizations. A Communist-action organization is defined by § 3(3) as

'(a) any organization in the United States (other than a diplomatic representative or mission of a foreign government accredited as such by the Department of State) which (i) is substantially directed, dominated, or controlled by the foreign government or foreign organization controlling the world Communist movement referred to in section 2 of this title, and (ii) operates primarily to advance the objectives of such world Communist movement as referred to in section 2 of this title; and

'(b) any section, branch, fraction, or cell of any organization defined in subparagraph (a) of this paragraph which has not complied with the registration requirements of this title.'

Registration must be made within thirty days after the enactment of the Act, or, in the case of an organization which becomes a Communist-action organization after enactment, within thirty days of the date upon which it becomes such an organization; in the case of an organization which is ordered to register by the Subversive Activities Control Board, registration must take place within thirty days of the date upon which the Board's order becomes final. § 7(c). Registration is to be accompanied by a registration statement, which must contain the name of the organization and the address of its principal office; the names and addresses of its present officers and of individuals who have been its officers within the past twelve months, with a designation of the office held

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by each and a brief statement of the functions and duties of each; an accounting of all moneys received and expended by the organization during the past twelve months, including the sources from which the moneys were received and the purposes for which they were expended; the name and address of each individual who was a member during the past twelve months; in the case of any officer or member required to be listed and who uses or has used more than one name, each name by which he is or has been known; and a listing of all printing presses and machines and all printing devices which are in the possession, custody, ownership, or cot rol of the organization or its officers, members, affiliates, associates, or groups in which it or its officers or members have an interest. § 7(d). Once an organization has registered, it must file an annual report containing the same information as is...

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351 practice notes
  • Buckley v. Valeo, No. 75-1061
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • August 29, 1975
    ...record, but has always looked to the strength of the governmental interests. See Communist Party v. Subversive Activities Control Board, 367 U.S. 1, 81 S.Ct. 1357, 6 L.Ed.2d 625 (1961); Konigsberg v. State Bar, 366 U.S. 36, 81 S.Ct. 997, 6 L.Ed.2d 105 (1961); Barenblatt v. United States, 36......
  • Martin v. Houston, CASE NO. 2:14-CV-905-WKW
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Middle District of Alabama
    • April 6, 2016
    ...only as a designation of particular persons.” Id. (quoting Communist Party of the United States v. Subversive Activities Control Bd. , 367 U.S. 1, 86, 81 S.Ct. 1357, 6 L.Ed.2d 625 (1961) ). The conduct described in the statute is thus essential to the attainder inquiry. Where the past condu......
  • Copeland v. Secretary of State
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • January 23, 1964
    ...organization was upheld, after marathon litigation, in Communist Party of United States v. Subversive Activities Control Board, 367 U.S. 1, 81 S.Ct. 1357, 6 L.Ed. 2d 625 (1961).2 The Communist Party case sustained the constitutionality of the registration provisions of the Act, 50 U.S.C.A. ......
  • Ashland Oil, Inc. v. FTC, Civ. No. 75-1956.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • February 2, 1976
    ...supra, 421 U.S., at 506, 95 S.Ct. at 1823; McGrain v. Daugherty, 273 U.S., at 177, 47 S.Ct. 319; see also Communist Party v. Control Board, 367 U.S. 1, 81 S.Ct. 1357, 6 L.Ed.2d 625 IV. PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY AND PERMANENT INJUNCTION The factors to be considered by a court in its......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
350 cases
  • Buckley v. Valeo, No. 75-1061
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • August 29, 1975
    ...record, but has always looked to the strength of the governmental interests. See Communist Party v. Subversive Activities Control Board, 367 U.S. 1, 81 S.Ct. 1357, 6 L.Ed.2d 625 (1961); Konigsberg v. State Bar, 366 U.S. 36, 81 S.Ct. 997, 6 L.Ed.2d 105 (1961); Barenblatt v. United States, 36......
  • Martin v. Houston, CASE NO. 2:14-CV-905-WKW
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Middle District of Alabama
    • April 6, 2016
    ...only as a designation of particular persons.” Id. (quoting Communist Party of the United States v. Subversive Activities Control Bd. , 367 U.S. 1, 86, 81 S.Ct. 1357, 6 L.Ed.2d 625 (1961) ). The conduct described in the statute is thus essential to the attainder inquiry. Where the past condu......
  • Copeland v. Secretary of State
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • January 23, 1964
    ...organization was upheld, after marathon litigation, in Communist Party of United States v. Subversive Activities Control Board, 367 U.S. 1, 81 S.Ct. 1357, 6 L.Ed. 2d 625 (1961).2 The Communist Party case sustained the constitutionality of the registration provisions of the Act, 50 U.S.C.A. ......
  • Ashland Oil, Inc. v. FTC, Civ. No. 75-1956.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • February 2, 1976
    ...supra, 421 U.S., at 506, 95 S.Ct. at 1823; McGrain v. Daugherty, 273 U.S., at 177, 47 S.Ct. 319; see also Communist Party v. Control Board, 367 U.S. 1, 81 S.Ct. 1357, 6 L.Ed.2d 625 IV. PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY AND PERMANENT INJUNCTION The factors to be considered by a court in its......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • The Study of Judicial Attitudes: the Case of Mr. Justice Douglas
    • United States
    • Political Research Quarterly Nbr. 24-1, March 1971
    • March 1, 1971
    ...603, 628 (1960). Braden v. United States, 365 U.S. 431, 446 (1961) accounts fortwo evaluative statements. Communist Party v. S.A.C.B., 367 U.S. 1,179 (1961). Scalesv. United States, 367 U.S. 203, 263 (1961) accounts for three evaluative statements.Killian v. United States, 368 U.S. 231, 264......

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