Government Investigations and Freedom of Association
Barenblatt v. United States (1959) held that government could compel
answers to political affiliation questions and that Communism justified
limiting First Amendment protections.
Braden v. United States (1961) upheld the conviction of a man who refused
to answer questions before the HUAC. Justice Hugo Black dissented on First
DeGregory v. Attorney General of New Hampshire (1966) used the First
Amendment to overturn a prison term for a man who refused to testify
regarding previous communist activities.
In Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Committee, the court held
that the state must show compelling interest to intrude on First Amendment
Sweezy v. New Hampshire (1957) overturned a contempt citation of professor
who refused to disclose the contents of a speech. The Court said First
Amendment freedoms were at stake.
The Supreme Court in 1953 affirmed the invalidation of a contempt
conviction of Edward Rumely, who had refused to tell a congressional
committee who purchased political books for distribution. The court’s
decision in United States v. Rumely took as its basic premise the First
Amendment’s prohibition against congressional abridgment of the rights of
free speech and a free press.
The Supreme Court in 1959 and 1960 upheld the contempt conviction that led
to the jailing of Methodist pacifist minister Dr. Willard Uphaus for
refusing to reveal the speakers at a camp conference. In Uphaus v. Wyman,
the Court upheld New Hampshire’s contempt citation against challenges of
infringement on First Amendment freedoms of association and a right to
Watkins v. United States (1957) implicated First Amendment rights and
overturned the conviction of a man who refused to answer questions of a
In Wilkinson v. United States (1961), the Supreme Court rejected claims
that the work of the House Un-American Activities Committee violated the