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Written by David L. Hudson Jr., published on January 1, 2009 , last updated on May 5, 2024

David Rein

David Rein (1914–1979), a civil liberties lawyer, argued a number of cases before the Supreme Court, several of them dealing with First Amendment issues. In the 1950s, Rein represented many individuals called before the House Un-American Activities Committee headed by Sen. Joseph McCarthy. In this photo, Rein is pictured on the right as he talks to Carol King, New York attorney for Gerhart Eisler, center.  Eisler had been charged with contempt of Congress and making false statements to immigration authorities. Rein was Eisler’s Washington attorney. (AP Photo/William J. Smith, used with permission from the Associated Press)

David Rein (1914–1979), a civil liberties lawyer, argued a number of cases before the Supreme Court, several of them dealing with First Amendment issues.

 

Rein argued First Amendment cases before the Supreme Court

 

Among them are Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee v. McGrath (1951); Harisiades v. Shaughnessy (1952); W.E.B. DuBois Clubs of America v. Clark (1967); and Secretary of the Navy v. Avrech (1974).

 

The first three decisions involved the punishment or regulation of individuals or groups associated with the Communist Party. The Avrech case involved the court-martial of a member of the military for allegedly disloyal statements.

 

Rein represented individuals called before HUAC

 

Born in New York City, Rein earned undergraduate and law degrees from Columbia University. During Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, he worked at the Puerto Rico Reconstruction Administration, the National Labor Relations Board, and the Office of Price Administration.

 

After serving in the Marines in World War II, he formed a law firm with Joseph Forer, a partnership that lasted for more than 30 years.

 

In the 1950s, Rein represented many individuals called before the House Un-American Activities Committee headed by Sen. Joseph McCarthy. He later represented soldiers who spoke out against the Vietnam War.

 

David L. Hudson, Jr. is a law professor at Belmont who publishes widely on First Amendment topics.  He is the author of a 12-lecture audio course on the First Amendment entitled Freedom of Speech: Understanding the First Amendment (Now You Know Media, 2018).  He also is the author of many First Amendment books, including The First Amendment: Freedom of Speech (Thomson Reuters, 2012) and Freedom of Speech: Documents Decoded (ABC-CLIO, 2017). This article was originally published in 2009.​

 

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