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Albertson v. Millard/Dissent Douglas

Court Documents
Case Syllabus
Opinion of the Court
Dissenting Opinion

United States Supreme Court

345 U.S. 242

Albertson  v.  Millard

 Argued: Feb. 2, 1953. --- Decided: March 16, 1953

Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, dissenting.

There doubtless will be instances where it is uncertain whether a particular person is a 'Communist' or whether a particular group is included in the 'Communist Party' as those terms are defined in the Michigan Act. But as I read this record there cannot be the slightest doubt that the Communist Party of Michigan is what it purports to be and that appellant Albertson, its Executive Secretary, is one of its members. In other words, it is plain beyond argument that the appellants are covered by the Michigan Act.

The case is therefore ripe for decision. It is not clouded with abstract questions. There are no ambiguities involving these appellants. The constitutional questions do not turn on any niceties in the interpretation of the Michigan law. The case is therefore unlike Rescue Army v. Municipal Court, 331 U.S. 549, 67 S.Ct. 1409, 91 L.Ed. 1666, and its forebears where the nature of the constitutional issue would depend on the manner in which uncertain and ambiguous state statutes were construed. See especially American Federation of Labor v. Watson, 327 U.S. 582, 598, 66 S.Ct. 761, 768, 90 L.Ed. 873. Here there are but two questions:

(1) Can Michigan require the Communist Party of Michigan and its Executive Secretary to register?

(2) Can Michigan forbid the name of any Communist or of any nominee of the Communist Party to be printed on the ballot in any primary or general election in the state?

In my view no decision of the Michigan state courts can make those two issues any more precise or specific than the present case makes them.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).