United States v. Auto. Workers

PETITIONER: United States
RESPONDENT: Auto. Workers
LOCATION: Congress

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1957)

CITATION: 352 US 567 (1957)
ARGUED: Dec 03, 1956 / Dec 04, 1956
DECIDED: Mar 11, 1957

Facts of the case


Media for United States v. Auto. Workers

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 03, 1956 in United States v. Auto. Workers

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 04, 1956 in United States v. Auto. Workers

Earl Warren:

Number 44, United States of America, Appellant, versus International Union United Automobile, Aircraft and Agricultural Implement Workers of America.

Mr. Rauh.

Joseph L. Rauh, Jr.:

May it please the Court.

The indictment in this case can be stated in a single sentence, just one sentence that the United Automobile workers used union dues to pay for television broadcasts which urged and endorsed the election of certain Senators and Congressmen in which it included expressions of political advocacy intended to influence the public.

That is the entire indictment.

The Union asked for no bill of particulars because it read the indictment to charge no more than the use of union dues to pay for television broadcasts and to make the Union's position on federal candidates known to its members and the general public.

In other words, if Your Honors please, we read the indictment as charging a C.I.O. case type statement of union position over a different media of communication and we deemed the case as we thought the Government did a proper vehicle for settling the question whether a commercial telecast would be treated differently from a statement in a house organ the contents of the communication being similar.

We move to dismiss on the ground that the indictment so interpreted did not charge in expenditure within the meaning of Section 610 and if it did was unconstitutional.

I believe the Solicitor General inadvertently left out the fact that we had moved on statutory construction as well as on constitutional grounds.

I only refer to it because it does differentiate our action in this respect to that of the defendant in the C.I.O. case some years past.

Felix Frankfurter:

Take a minute Mr. Rauh and state what you concede to be the difference in view of the Solicitor General as to the charge of the United States.

Joseph L. Rauh, Jr.:

Yes, sir.

We say that the charge and we believe the judge said that the charge is a C.I.O. type statement going out over a commercial television station.

The Government --

Felix Frankfurter:

Suppose you leave out what the C.I.O. case this time and just --

Joseph L. Rauh, Jr.:

No, I meant by -- sir, I meant that it was the type of editorial that the content of the communication was similar to that in C.I.O. and that we are charged with taking that type of communication and putting it over a commercial television station.

That's what we conceive the indictment to be.

The Solicitor General I believe conceives the indictment to be that allows him to prove in addition to what we say it is in the indictment two other things.

First, a different in content which would include I suppose such things is simply saying both corrects or simply parading the candidate's words.

He could prove they say a difference in content and a difference in the intent.

In other words, they claimed the right to prove that we intended to make a contribution.

Now, what we say and what I believe they said in the court below and we have filed it, sir with the Clerk our briefs below too, so that they are available to the Court and the references are in our briefs.

We contend that below the Government said to Judge Picard, “Distinguish the C.I.O. case on the ground that there's a difference between a commercial television broadcast and a house organ.”

They never suggested these differences of content of the statement that was to go out nor did they suggest any difference of intent over the -- to make a contribution and indeed I would point out that the indictment contains no reference to such an intent and the representative of the Government in the court below made clear that they were not charging a contribution.

That appears, if Your Honors please, on page 24 of the record about 15 to 20 lines up of the --

Felix Frankfurter:

Why is it -- why -- I'm puzzled by the pertinency as to which both of you discloses the indictment.

I suppose you can agree on this, in neither case, if the C.I.O., the other one was -- in neither case, the C.I.O. case in the overview with this expressed view of the Union about existentialism or the situation in the contrary.

In each case they said, “It is to our interest to promote the election of Smith” --

Joseph L. Rauh, Jr.:


Felix Frankfurter:

-- right?