Preview

Dennis V United States Case Study

Powerful Essays
Open Document
Open Document
622 Words
Grammar
Grammar
Plagiarism
Plagiarism
Writing
Writing
Score
Score
Dennis V United States Case Study
1. Title and Citation: Dennis v. united States 341 U.S. 494 71 S. CT. 857 (1951)
2. Facts of the Case:
a. The Smith Act made it a criminal offense to knowingly or willfully advocate the overthrowing of any government in the United States by force or to attempt to commit or conspire to commit the crime the same. The Petitioners were brought up on charges under the Act for allegedly willfully and knowingly conspiring to organize as the Communist Party of the United States, a group whose members advocated the overthrow of the United States government by force and, willfully and knowingly advocating and teaching the duty to do the same. It was clear from the record that the leaders of the Communist Party intended to initiate a revolution when the
…show more content…
Chief Justice Fred Vinson, “We must apply the “clear and present danger” test”. Therefore, we note that the overthrow of the Government by force is certainly a substantial enough interest for the Government to limit speech. Obviously, “clear and present danger” does not mean the government may not act until the Putsch has been plotted and on is the verge of being executed. On the facts, the court was convinced that the requisite danger to act existed here: the formation by the Petitioners of a highly organized conspiracy with rigidly disciplined members subject to call when the leaders, the Petitioners, felt it was time for action; the inflammable nature of world conditions; similar uprisings in other countries; and lastly, the touch and go nature of our relations with other countries with whom the Petitioners were ideologically aligned. Thus, the convictions of the Petitioners were …show more content…
The Smith Act does not inherently violate the First Amendment and other provisions of the Bill of Rights, or the First and Fifth Amendments because of indefiniteness. Petitioners intended to overthrow the Government of the United States as speedily as the circumstances would permit. Their conspiracy to organize the Communist Party and to teach and advocate the overthrow of the Government of the United States by force and violence created a "clear and present danger" of an attempt to overthrow the Government by force and violence. They were properly and constitutionally convicted for violation of the Smith Act.
1. Separate Opinions:
a. JUSTICE HUGO BLACK, dissenting; While it is true that unfettered communication of ideas does entail danger, the benefits in the eyes of the Founders of this Nation, derived from free expression were worth the risk.
b. JUSTICE WILLIAM DOUGLAS, concurring; If this were a case where the speaker was teaching techniques of sabotage, the assassination of the President, or the planting of bombs, I would concur in the judgment. But, the reality is that no such evidence was introduced at

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    Cooper V. Austin

    • 864 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Philip J. Cooper v. Charles Austin 837 S. W. 2d 606 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1992)…

    • 864 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    So that’s another reason why I agree with the actions of Shay’s rebellion. Last the government passed many unfair laws to stop Shay’s Rebellion, according to the video. Plus Samuel Adams speaked out and said anyone who rises against public law should be put to death. These things made Shay’s Rebellion very mad and pushed them to final stage of the rebellion. One of the laws was the militia act which meant if you were in the militia and you rebelled against the government, then you could be put to death. Another law that was passed was suspend the writ of habeas corpus which means that they could take anyone and put them in…

    • 322 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    Justices of the United States Supreme Court are strategic actors who strive to secure policy outcomes as close to their preferred outcome as possible. Accomplishing this sometimes requires justices to not always pursue their true policy preferences and sometimes it requires justices to ignore legal and policy questions. In this essay, I will analyze how justices were strategic in a few landmark supreme court cases.…

    • 1622 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    The Cold War was the most important issue of the presidential campaign of 1948. The Democratic Truman administration, feeling pressure from conservative Republicans to ferret out alleged subversive elements, brought to court 11 leaders of the Communist Party of the United States for violation of the Smith Act. They were not charged with any overt acts that contributed to violence or revolutionary activity, but rather with conspiring to teach and advocate such a activity in order to overthrow the government of the United States.…

    • 1200 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Cited: Bannai, Lorraine K. “Ex Parte Endo, 323 U.S. 283 (1944).” Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court of the United States. Ed. David S. Tanenhaus. Vol. 2. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2008. 152-155. U.S. History In Context. Web. 2 Apr. 2013.…

    • 1048 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Sedition Act of 1918 allowed punishment towards the individuals who expressed opinions deemed hostile to the U.S government, flag, or military. In other words, it made it illegal to “willfully utter, print, write, or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of the Government of the United States” of the things “necessary or essential to the prosecution of the war.” On August 1918, a handful of anarchists, including Jacob Abrams, dropped leaflets off a building on the Lower East Side which criticized President Wilson and the U.S military intervention against Russia’s Bolshevik government, and called for general workers to protest Wilson’s policy. Authorities convicted Abrams for violating the Sedition…

    • 147 Words
    • 1 Page
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES 478 U.S. 186 Bowers v. Hardwick Retrieved from http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0478_0186_ZS.html…

    • 1550 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Citations: United States v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549, 115 S. Ct. 1624, 131 L. Ed. 2d 626 (1995).…

    • 446 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Article VI of the U.S. Constitution asserts that “This Constitution … shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.” Statutes and ordinances are laws passed by Congress and by state legislatures that make up most of criminal law. Each state has a statutory criminal code as does the federal government.…

    • 906 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Case Study: Marbury V. US

    • 368 Words
    • 2 Pages

    On the last of President Adams term he wanted to ensure Federalist took control of the Judiciary branch so he named forty-two justices of the piece and sixteen circuit court justices for Washington DC. Once the commissions were signed by the President Adams the Secretary of State had the commissions sealed however they were not delivered by the end of President Adams term. President Jefferson was the incoming president he chose not to honor the commissions due to them not being submitted in time.…

    • 368 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    The findings in this case allow for many of the security precautions which our government takes today. If a threat is proposed to the country the government should have the power to limit rights stated in the First Amendment. The Smith Act which was made in 1940, states that it is illegal to conspire to violently overthrow the government or to be part of a group which promotes such a cause. In 1948, Eugene Dennis and several members of the American Communist Party are arrested for violating the Smith Act by promoting violent ideas to overthrow the United States Government.…

    • 462 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    This case involved a conflict between the beliefs of the Old Order Amish and government regulations on employment and Social Security. The Amish regard the care of the sick and elderly to be one of their religious obligations; as a consequence, they believe that paying Social Security taxes (designed to care for the sick and elderly) would entail acknowledging that the government had that task rather than they. Thus, paying Social Security taxes would mean denying an important aspect of their faith.…

    • 424 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    In 1791, the first Amendment was written to serve as a replacement for the missing denotation of civil liberties not promised in the Constitution written by some of the most intelligent men of America. (“U.S”) Throughout history, the first Amendment has been modified and re-interpreted to create laws, like the Alien and Sedition acts of 1798,(“the alien”) which were a set of laws passed by congress during John Adams 's presidency that was set in place to protect against anarchy. The first amendment plays a very important part of society today.…

    • 2018 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Better Essays

    kjkjkm

    • 1886 Words
    • 8 Pages

    The Framers shaped the Constitution accordingly; making allowances for the suppression of rebellion, permitting use of force to break up protests and furthering the legalization of slavery. The repercussions of protecting the landed elites had its first effects in the Shay’s Rebellion of 1786 where disaffected tenant farmers rose up to expel landlords and their law-enforcement proxies. The former revolutionaries acted quickly to suppress this new revolt, creating new punishments for those who incited “riots” and suspending habeas corpus (Zinn, p. 93, 1995). In the end, some twelve participants in Shay’s Rebellion were put to death and some…

    • 1886 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Fighting for freedom and privileges is not a crime, it’s more of a “taking it in your own hands” situation but it’s also a accomplishment. The Freedom riders did just that; a activist group who is targeted for being opposite and fighting for equality along with fighting against segregation.…

    • 815 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays