The Warren Court and American Politics

By Lucas A. Powe Jr. | Go to book overview

Chapter 4
Domestic Security

The Court understood the monumental nature of Brown and figuratively cleared its docket for three years to focus on school segregation. By comparison to what was decided in the years prior to Brown I and the years following Brown II, the three years when Brown was on the docket were largely devoid of other important cases. Once Brown arrived, the Court’s focus on segregation was total. Once Brown left, the Court could refocus. Prior to Brown I, cases involving domestic security, the nice euphemism for hunting domestic communists, dominated the Court’s docket. After Brown II, they dominated again.


The Domestic-Security Program in 1953

The domestic-security program in the United States was, in fact, several programs functioning primarily at the federal level (but supplemented by state programs) and using both criminal and civil sanctions. The latter were by far the more important because the criminal sanctions could reach only those who had been members of the Communist Party after 1948, and following the indictments of the leaders of the Party that year, membership declined precipitously. At best, only a few thousand people needed to fear prosecution, and, indeed, the number prosecuted was under 200. Therefore, the key elements of the various programs were those that operated to deprive communists and unrepentant former communists of their means of livelihood, especially public employment.

The civil domestic-security program had three features. First, there were loyalty investigations by the federal government with the express purpose of weeding out security risks. The investigations could easily turn up past membership in the Party or in front groups controlled by the Party as the Attorney General’s List functioned to ban association with

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The Warren Court and American Politics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Preface xi
  • Chapter 1 - The Supreme Court, 1935–1953 1
  • I Beginnings the 1953–1956 Jerms 19
  • Chapter 2 - Brown 27
  • Chapter 3 - Implementation 50
  • Chapter 4 - Domestic Security 75
  • Chapter 5 - Glimpses of the Future 104
  • II Stalemate the 1957–1961 Jerms 125
  • Chapter 6 - Domestic Security after Red Monday 135
  • Chapter 7 - Little Rock and Civil Rights 157
  • Chapter 8 - The Transition 179
  • III History's Warren Court the 1962–1968 Terms 207
  • Chapter 9 - To the Civil Rights Act 217
  • Chapter 10 - Revamping the Democratic Process 239
  • Chapter 11 - After the Civil Rights Act 272
  • Chapter 12 - Freedom of Expression 303
  • Chapter 13 - The End of Obscenity? 336
  • Chapter 14 - Church and State in a Pluralist Society 358
  • Chapter 15 - Policing the Police 379
  • Chapter 16 - Policing the Criminal Justice System 412
  • Chapter 17 - Wealth and Poverty 445
  • IV the Era Ends 463
  • Chapter 18 - The Last Year 467
  • Chapter 19 - What Was the Warren Court? 485
  • Chronology 503
  • Notes 511
  • Bibliography 533
  • Index of Cases 539
  • General Index 549
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