National Association For the Advancement of Colored People v. Alabama Patterson National Association For the Advancement of Colored People v. Livingston

Decision Date08 June 1959
Docket Number674,Nos. 753,M,s. 753
Citation79 S.Ct. 1001,360 U.S. 240,3 L.Ed.2d 1205
CourtU.S. Supreme Court

See 80 S.Ct. 43 Messrs.Rob ert L. Carter, Thurgood Marshall, Arthur D. Shores, William T. Coleman, Jr., George E. C. Hayes, William R. Ming, Jr., James M. Nabrit, Jr., Louis H. Pollak, Frank D. Reeves and William Taylor, for petitioner.

Messrs. MacDonald Gallion, Atty. Gen. of Alabama, and James W. Webb, Asst. Atty. Gen., for respondent.


The petitioner for a writ of certiorari is granted.

In our original opinion in this case, 357 U.S. 449, 78 S.Ct. 1163, 2 L.Ed.2d 1488, we held the Alabama judgment of civil contempt against this petitioner, together with the $100,000 fine which it carried, constitutionally impermissible in the circumstances disclosed by the record. We declined, however, to review the trial court's restraining order prohibiting petitioner from engaging in further activities in the State, that order then not being properly before us. 357 U.S. at pages 466—467, 78 S.Ct. at pages 1173—1174. Our mandate, issued on August 1, 1958, accordingly remanded the case to the Supreme Court of Alabama 'for proceedings not inconsistent with' our opinion.

In due course the petitioner moved in the Supreme Court of Alabama that our mandate be forwarded to the Circuit Court of Montgomery County for the further proceedings which were left open by our decision. After the motion had been twice renewed1 the Supreme Court of Alabama on February 12, 1959, 'again affirmed' the contempt adjudication and $100,000 fine which this Court had set aside.2 Finding that the Circuit Court had determined that petitioner had failed to 'produce the documents described' in its production order, the State Supreme Court concluded that this Court was 'mistaken' in considering that, except for the refusal to provide its membership lists, petitioner had complied, or tendered satisfactory compliance, with such order. This conclusion was considered as 'necessitating another affirmance of the (contempt) judgment,' involving, so the State Court thought, matters not covered by the opinion and mandate of this Court.

We have reviewed the petition, the response of the State and all of the briefs and the record filed here in the former proceedings. Petitioner there claimed that it had satisfactorily complied with the production order, except as to its membership lists, and this the State did not deny. In fact, aside from the procedural point, both the State and petitioner in the certiorari papers posed one identical question, namely, had the petitioner 'the constitutional right to refuse to produce records of its membership in Alabama, relevant to issues in a judicial proceeding to which it is a party, on the mere speculation that these members may be exposed to economic and social sanctions by private citizens of Alabama because of their membership?' (State's Brief in Opposition to Petition for Certiorari, p. .) 3 The State made not even an indication that other portions of the production order had not been complied with and, therefore, required its affirmance. On the contrary, the State on this phase of the case relied entirely on petitioner's refusal to furnish the 'records of its membership.' That was also the basis on which the issue was briefed and argued before us by both sides after certiorari had been granted. That was the view of the record which underlay this Court's conclusion that petitioner had 'apparently complied satisfactorily with the production order, except for the membership lists,' 357 U.S., at page 465, 78 S.Ct. at page 1173.4 And that was the premise on which the Court disposed of the case. The State plainly accepted this view of the issue presented by the record and by its argument on it, for it did not seek a rehearing or suggest a clarification or correction of our opinion in that regard.

It now for the first time here says that it 'has never agreed, and does not now agree, that the petitioner has complied with the trial court's order to produce with the exception of membership. The respondent, in fact, specifically denies that the petitioner has produced or offered to produce in all aspects except for lists of membership.' This denial comes too late. The State is bound by its previously taken position, namely, that decision of the sole question regarding the membership lists is dispositive of the whole case.

We take it from the record now before us that the Supreme Court of Alabama evidently was not acquainted with the detailed basis of the proceedings here and the consequent ground for our defined disposition. Petitioner was, as the Supreme Court of Alabama held, obliged to produce the items included in the Circuit Court's order. It having claimed here its satisfactory compliance with the order, except as to its membership lists, and the State having not denied this claim, it was taken as true.5

In these circumstances the Alabama Supreme Court is foreclosed from re-examining the grounds of our disposition. 'Whatever was before the Court, and is disposed of, is considered as finally settled.' Sibbald v. United States, 12 Pet. 488, 492, 9 L.Ed. 1167. See also Martin v. Hunter's Lessee, 1 Wheat. 304, 4 L.Ed. 97; Tyler v. Magwire, 17 Wall. 253...

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  • National Association For Advancement of Colored People v. Alabama Flowers
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • June 1, 1964
    ...proceedings here, this Court ruled that the State could not, for the first time on remand, change its stance. 360 U.S. 240, 243, 79 S.Ct. 1001, 1003, 1004, 3 L.Ed.2d 1205. We noted that the Supreme Court of Alabama 'evidently was not ac- quainted with the detailed basis of the proceedings h......
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    ...85 S.Ct. 775, 780, 13 L.Ed.2d 675; Schware v. Board of Bar Examiners, 353 U.S. 232, 77 S.Ct. 752, 1 L.Ed.2d 796; NAACP v. Alabama, 360 U.S. 240, 79 S.Ct. 1001, 3 L.Ed.2d 1205; Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 45 S.Ct. 571, 69 L.Ed. 1070; Meyer v. State of Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390, ......
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    • January 29, 1975
    ...and where the aggrieved party would have been understandably unwilling to bring the suit himself. In N.A. A.C.P. v. Alabama, 360 U.S. 240, 79 S. Ct. 1001, 3 L.Ed.2d 1205 (1959), the attempt of members of an organization to prevent the state and the public from learning the identity of the i......
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    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Sixth Circuit
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    ...maintain a first amendment right to associate for lawful political purposes free from governmental intrusion. NAACP v. Alabama, 360 U.S. 240, 79 S.Ct. 1001, 3 L.Ed.2d 1205 (1958); Bates v. City of Little Rock, 361 U.S. 516, 80 S.Ct. 412, 4 L.Ed.2d 480 (1960); Gibson v. Florida, 372 U.S. 539......
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