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Communist Party of the United States v. Subversive Activities Control Board - Significance

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Communist Party of the United States of America


Subversive Activities Control Board

Petitioner's Claim

That provisions of the 1950 Internal Security Act (the McCarran Act) requiring Communist organizations to register with the attorney general are unconstitutional either as bills of attainder, imposing punishment without benefit of trial, or as violations of the First Amendment.

Chief Lawyers for Petitioner

John J. Abt and Joseph Forer

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

J. Lee Rankin, U.S. Solicitor General

Justices for the Court

Tom C. Clark, Felix Frankfurter (writing for the Court), John Marshall Harlan II, Potter Stewart, Charles Evans Whittaker

Justices Dissenting

Hugo Lafayette Black, William J. Brennan, Jr., William O. Douglas, Earl Warren


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

5 June 1961


The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the registration requirement.

Related Cases

  • Yates v. United States, 354 U.S. 298 (1957).
  • Aptheker v. Secretary of State, 378 U.S. 500 (1964).
  • Albertson v. SACB, 382 U.S. 70 (1965).
  • United States v. Robel, 389 U.S. 258 (1967).

Further Readings

  • Abernathy, M. Glenn. The Right of Assembly and Association, 2nd ed. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1981.
  • Caute, David. The Great Fear: The Anti-Communist Purge Under Truman and Eisenhower. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1977.
  • Haynes, John Earl. Red Scare or Red Menace?: American Communism and Anticommunism in the Cold War Era. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1966.
Draper v. United States - Significance, Informant Provided "reasonable Grounds", Dissent Says Arrest Unlawful, Impact, Related Cases [next] [back] Clarence Earl Gideon Trials: 1961 1963 - Gideon Appeals

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