Niukkanen v. McAlexander

LOCATION: Fleetwood Paving Co.

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1958-1962)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

CITATION: 362 US 390 (1960)
ARGUED: Mar 21, 1960
DECIDED: Apr 18, 1960

Facts of the case


Media for Niukkanen v. McAlexander

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 21, 1960 (Part 1) in Niukkanen v. McAlexander

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 21, 1960 (Part 2) in Niukkanen v. McAlexander

Earl Warren:

Mr. Davis you may continue.

Oscar H. Davis:

Mr. Chief Justice may it please the Court.

In deciding whether petitioner is the type of party member who was deportable under the 1952 provisions of the Immigration Act, I think we and the Court have to bear in mind that this was not a new statute.

That it was a combination of the statutes which had began in 1917 and that was a long history of -- of judicial and administrative interpretation of that statute and that this Court itself has passed upon that issue in various cases.

Going to this Court's decision in the Harisiades case, that case involved three different people, Harisiades, a Mrs. Coleman and the Mr. Mascitti.

The record of relationship to Mrs. Coleman which is summarized by Justice Jackson in his opinion for the Court and which is of course more fully set forth in the -- in the record before the Court indicates that she was a rank and file member with far less if you want to call it activity than the petitioner in this case.

When you get to the Galvan case, he had no more activity, no more what you might call awareness of the theoretical underpinnings of the Communist Party than the Petitioner in this case.

The fact is, that the statute and its predecessors have not been interpreted judicially and certainly not by Congress nor administratively from 1917 on to require any knowledge of what you might call Communist Party theory, Marxism-Leninism.

This deportation statute of course is what I'm talking about.

Rather, Congress has been -- has been trying to deport people who were party members in the ordinary sense who were active in the party and the day to day work of the party who were the doers of the party as were whether they were Theoreticians or not.

Galvan was not a Theoretician, Mrs. Coleman and Mascitti in the Harisiades cases were not the theoreticians.

Mrs. Coleman didn't purported not even to know who Joseph Stalin was.

“He is a Russian”, she said.

“Is he a Russian?”

And the answered to the question, “Do you who Joseph Stalin is?”

The important thing as far as Congress has been concerned, as far as this Court is concerned, why is that person, a member of the Communist Party, as distinguished from some other organization.

And was he or she a member of the Communist Party in the ordinary sense in which somebody is a member of the party, knowing that it is a party and that of course, we believe is what -- what petitioner did here.

How many people have been deported under this statute overall, do you know?

Oscar H. Davis:

It's hard for me to know all the figures Mr. Justice Harlan, but between 1920 and 1950 there were 200 we know that.

I've only gotten the figures for the last three years for the years 1955 to 1959, the fiscal years, 42 were deported.

They are now pending 246 cases administratively and 16 are in the courts, so that 42 were actually deported.

The Court had in the Nestor case at the last session case of a man who was actually deported, There were 42 actually deported in the years 1955 to 1959.

There are now pending 246 administrative cases and 16 cases in the courts.

Tom C. Clark:

You mean a Communist Party membership deprive to determine the extra stay, is that what you're talking about?

Oscar H. Davis:

Prior to the time this Act, yes.

Yes, that's what I'm -- I'm talking about.

Tom C. Clark:

That's what the figures you will give.

Oscar H. Davis:

No, to figure -- the 200 figures were not that.

The 200 figures include both the 200 from 1920 to 1950 include both present members and past members.

That those figures --