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Aptheker v. Secretary of State - The Subversive Activities Control Act

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1963 to 1972Aptheker v. Secretary of State - Significance, The Subversive Activities Control Act, Further Readings

The Subversive Activities Control Act

The Subversive Activities Control Act was part of a larger piece of legislation, the McCarran Internal Security Act of 1950. It was named for Senator Patrick A. McCarran, a Democrat from Nevada who supported Wisconsin's anti-Communist senator, Joseph McCarthy. Contained within the McCarran Act were the Subversive Activities Control Act, and the Emergency Detention Act of 1950.

The Subversive Activities Control Act amended espionage, sabotage, alien exclusion, deportation, immigration, and nationality laws already on the books, and set up a five-member Subversive Activities Control Board (SACB) to oversee the registration of suspected "Communist-action" and "Communist-front" groups. During the 1950s, the SACB reviewed a number of organizations, and it won a Supreme Court victory with Communist Party of the United States v. Subversive Activities Control Board (1961). But Albertson v. Subversive Activities Control Board (1965) struck a blow against the board, and it began to lose power. In 1974 President Nixon in effect ended the SACB by cutting off its funding.

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