Dennis v. United States

PETITIONER: Eugene Dennis, John B. Williamson, Jacob Stachel, et al.
RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION: Communist Party Headquarters

DOCKET NO.: 336
DECIDED BY: Vinson Court (1949-1953)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

ARGUED: Dec 04, 1950
DECIDED: Jun 04, 1951

ADVOCATES:
Abraham J. Isserman - for the petitioners
George W. Crockett, Jr. - for the petitioners
Harry Sacher - for the petitioners
Irving S. Shapiro - for the respondent
Philip B. Perlman - Solicitor General, Department of Justice, for the respondent

Facts of the case

In 1948, the leaders of the Communist Part of America were arrested and charged with violating provisions of the Smith Act. The Act made it unlawful to knowingly conspire to teach and advocate the overthrow or destruction of the United States government. Party leaders were found guilty and lower courts upheld the conviction.

Question

Did the Smith Act's restrictions on speech violate the First Amendment?