Dennis v. United States 341 U.S. 494, 71 S.Ct. 857, 95 L.Ed. 1137 ( 1951)
MR. CHIEF JUSTICE VINSON announced the judgment of the Court and
an opinion in which MR. JUSTICE REED,
MR. JUSTICE BURTON, and MR. JUSTICE MINTON join. . . .Sections 2 and 3 of the Smith Act,
provide as follows:
The Dennis case represents the last stage of the 1949 trial of
the eleven leaders of the Communist Party of the United States
for violations of the Smith Act of 1940. The Supreme Court
granted certiorari, limited to a review of whether sections 2 or
3 of the Smith Act, inherently or as construed and applied,
violated the First or Fifth Amendments.
|(a) It shall be unlawful for any person --|
|(1) to knowingly or willfully advocate, abet, advise, or teach the duty,
necessity, desirability, or propriety of
overthrowing or destroying any government'in the United States by force or
violence, or by the assassination of any
officer of such government;|
|(2) with the intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of any government
in the United States, to print, publish,
edit, issue, circulate, sell, distribute, or
publicly display any written or printed
matter advocating, advising, or teaching
the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying any
government in the United States by
force or violence;|
|(3) to organize or help to organize
any society, group, or assembly of persons who teach, advocate, or encourage
the overthrow or destruction of any government in the United States by force or
violence; or to be or become a member
of, or affiliate with, any such society,
group, or assembly of persons, knowing
the purposes thereof.|
|(b) For the purposes of this section,
the term 'government in the United
States' means the Government of the United States, the government of any
State, Territory, or possession of the
United States, the government of the District of Columbia, or the government
of any political subdivision of any of
Sec. 3. It shall be unlawful for any
person to attempt to commit, or to conspire to commit, any of the acts prohibited by the provisions of. . . this
The indictment charged the petitioners with wilfully and knowingly
conspiring (1) to organize as the Communist Party of the United States of
America a society, group and assembly
of persons who teach and advocate the
overthrow and destruction of the Government of the United States by force
and violence, and (2) knowingly and
wilfully to advocate and teach the duty
and necessity of overthrowing and destroying the Government of the United
States by force and violence. The indictment further alleged that §2 of the
Smith Act proscribes these acts and that
any conspiracy to take such action is a
violation of §3 of the Act. . . .
. . . Our limited grant of the writ of
certiorari has removed from our consideration any question as to the sufficiency of the evidence to support the
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: American Constitutional Law:Introductory Essays & Selected Cases.
Contributors: Alpheus Thomas Mason - Author, William M. Beaney - Author.
Publisher: Prentice Hall.
Place of publication: New York.
Publication year: 1954.
Page number: 631.
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