American Committee for Protection of Foreign Born v. Subversive Activities Control Board/Dissent Black

Court Documents
Case Syllabus
Opinion of the Court
Dissenting Opinions

United States Supreme Court

380 U.S. 503

American Committee for Protection of Foreign Born  v.  Subversive Activities Control Board

 Argued: Dec. 8, 9, 1964. --- Decided: April 26, 1965

Mr. Justice BLACK, dissenting.

While I have joined the dissents of Mr. Justice DOUGLAS from the Court's action in remanding these cases without deciding the important constitutional questions involved, I have additional reasons for objecting to the remands. In Communist Party of U.S. v. Subversive Activities Control Board, 367 U.S. 1, 137, 81 S.Ct. 1357, 1431, 6 L.Ed.2d 625 (dissenting opinion), I stated at some length my reasons for believing that the Subversive Activities Control Act of 1950, as amended, 64 Stat. 987, 50 U.S.C. §§ 781 826 (1958 ed.), on which the Government's case here rests, violates a number of provisions of our Constitution and Bill of Rights in many respects. See also Aptheker v. Secretary of State, 378 U.S. 500, 517, 84 S.Ct. 1659, 1669, 12 L.Ed.2d 992 (concurring opinion). I think that among other things the Act is a bill of attainder; that it imposes cruel, unusual and savage punishments for thought, speech, writing, petition and assembly; and that it stigmatizes people for their beliefs, associations and views about politics, law, and government. The Act has borrowed the worst features of old laws intended to put shackles on the minds and bodies of men, to make them confess to crime, to make them miserable while in this country, and to make it a crime even to attempt to get out of it. It is difficult to find laws more thought-stifling than this one even in countries considered the most benighted. Previous efforts to have this Court pass on the constitutionality of the various provisions of this freedom-crushing law have met with frustration on one excuse or another. I protest against following this course again. My vote is to hear the case now and hold the law to be what I think it is-a wholesale denial of what I believe to be the constitutional heritage of every freedom-loving American.

Notes edit

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).

Public domainPublic domainfalsefalse