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Kent v. Dulles

Significance, Supreme Court Recognizes A New Fundamental Right: Foreign Travel, The Right To Travel


Rockwell Kent


John Foster Dulles, U.S. Secretary of State

Appellant's Claim

That the State Department's denial of a passport to an acknowledged communist violates the right to travel and the First Amendment right of free association.

Chief Lawyer for Appellant

Leonard B. Boudin

Chief Lawyer for Appellee

J. Lee Rankin, U.S. Solicitor General

Justices for the Court

Hugo Lafayette Black, William J. Brennan, Jr., William O. Douglas (writing for the Court), Felix Frankfurter, Earl Warren

Justices Dissenting

Harold Burton, Tom C. Clark, John Marshall Harlan II, Charles Evans Whittaker


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

16 June 1958


The Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional for the State Department to withhold a passport based on the beliefs or associations of an applicant.

Related Cases

  • Browder v. United States, 312 U.S. 335 (1941).
  • Edwards v. California, 314 U.S. 160 (1941).
  • Aptheker v. Secretary of State, 378 U.S. 500 (1964).
  • Regan v. Wald, 468 U.S. 222 (1984).


Levy, Leonard W., ed. Encyclopedia of the American Constitution. New York: Macmillan, 1986.

Further Readings

  • Gillon, Steven M., and Diane B. Kunz. America During the Cold War. Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1993.
  • Houseman, Gerald L. The Right of Mobility. Port Washington, NY: Kennikat Press, 1979.
  • Hull, Elizabeth. Taking Liberties: National Barriers to the Free Flow of Ideas. New York, NY: Praeger, 1990.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1954 to 1962