American Constitutional Law: Introductory Essays & Selected Cases

By Alpheus Thomas Mason; William M. Beaney | Go to book overview

The first count of the information, on which the conviction was had, charged that on or about November 28, 1919, in Alameda County, the defendant, in violation of the Criminal Syndicalism Act, "did then and there unlawfully, willfully, wrongfully, deliberately and feloniously organize and assist in organizing, and was, is, and knowingly became a member of an organization, society, group and assemblage of persons organized and assembled to advocate, teach, aid and abet criminal syndicalism." . . .

1. While it is not denied that the evidence warranted the jury in finding that the defendant became a member of and assisted in organizing the Communist Labor Party of California, and that this was organized to advocate, teach, aid or abet criminal syndicalism as defined by the Act, it is urged that the Act, as here construed and applied, deprived the defendant of her liberty without due process of law in that it has made her action in attending the Oakland convention unlawful by reason of "a subsequent event brought about against her will, by the agency of others," with no showing of a specific intent on her part to join in the forbidden purpose of the association, and merely because, by reason of a lack of "prophetic" understanding, she failed to foresee the quality that others would give to the convention. The argument is, in effect, that the character of the state organization could not be forecast when she attended the convention; that she had no purpose of helping to create an instrument of terrorism and violence; that she "took part in formulating and presenting to the convention a resolution which, if adopted, would have committed the new organization to a legitimate policy of political reform by the use of the ballot"; that it was not until after the majority of the convention turned out to be "contrary minded, and other less temperate policies prevailed" that the convention could have taken on the character of criminal syndicalism; and that as this was done over her protest, her mere presence in the convention, however violent the opinions expressed therein, could not thereby become a crime. This contention, while advanced in the form of a constitutional objection to the Act, is in effect nothing more than an effort to review the weight of the evidence for the purpose of showing that the defendant did not join and assist in organizing the Communist Labor Party of California with a knowledge of its unlawful character and purpose. This question, which is foreclosed by the verdict of the jury -- sustained by the Court of Appeal over the specific objection that it was not supported by the evidence -- is one of fact merely which is not open to review in this Court, involving as it does no constitutional question whatever. And we may add that the argument entirely disregards the facts that the defendant had previously taken out a membership card in the National Party; that the resolution which she supported did not advocate the use of the ballot to the exclusion of violent and unlawful means of bringing about the desired changes in industrial and political conditions; and that, after the constitution of the California Party had been adopted, and this resolution had been voted down and the National Program accepted, she not only remained in the convention, without protest, until its close but subsequently manifested her acquiescence by attending as an alternate member of the State Executive Committee and continuing as a member of the Communist Labor Party.

2. It is clear that the Syndicalism Act is not repugnant to the due process clause by reason of vagueness and uncertainty of definition. . . .

The Act, plainly, meets the essential requirement of due process that a penal statute be "sufficiently explicit to inform


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American Constitutional Law: Introductory Essays & Selected Cases
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Source Materials ix
  • Contents xi
  • One - The Constitution, the Supreme Court, and Judicial Review 3
  • Marbury V. Madison 30
  • Eakin V. Raub 34
  • Cohens V. Virginia 39
  • Luther V. Borden 46
  • Coleman V. Miller 50
  • Colegrove V. Green 55
  • Yakus V. United States 57
  • Two - Congress, the Court, and the President 62
  • Mississippi V. Johnson 75
  • Mcgrain V. Daugherty 77
  • Hampton & Co. V. United States 81
  • Panama Refining Co. V. Ryan 85
  • Opp Cotton Mills V. Administrator 89
  • The Prize Cases 91
  • Myers V. United States 96
  • Humphrey's Executor V. United States 102
  • Ex Parte Grossman 105
  • United States V. Curtiss-Wright 108
  • Youngstown Co. V. Sawyer 112
  • Three - Federalism 120
  • Chisholm V. Georgia 135
  • Texas V. White 142
  • Mcculloch V. Maryland 146
  • Collector V. Day 158
  • Helvering V. Gerhardt 162
  • Graves V. New York Ex Rel. O'Keefe 164
  • New York V. United States 168
  • Ex Parte Siebold 174
  • Missouri V. Holland 176
  • Four - Commerce Power and State Power 178
  • Gibbons V. Ogden 193
  • Cooley V. Board of Wardens 202
  • Brown V. Maryland 206
  • Brown V. Houston 211
  • United States V. South-Eastern Underwriters Association 213
  • Leisy V. Hardin 221
  • Plumley V. Massachusetts 224
  • Best & Co. V. Maxwell 228
  • Henneford V. Silas Mason Co. 230
  • Parker V. Brown 232
  • Southern Pacific Co. V. Arizona 235
  • Hood V. Dumond 239
  • Morgan V. Virginia 245
  • Five - Congressional Power Under the Commerce Clause 248
  • United States V. E. C. Knight 266
  • Champion V. Ames the Lottery Case) 271
  • The Shreveport Case (houston, E. & W. Texas Ry. Co. V. United States) 276
  • Hammer V. Dagenhart 278
  • Stafford V. Wallace 282
  • Schechter Poultry Corporation V. United States 284
  • Carter V. Carter Coal Co. 290
  • National Labor Relations Board V. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation 297
  • Mulford V. Smith 303
  • United States V. Darby 305
  • Wickard V. Filburn 308
  • Six - National Taxing and Spending Power 311
  • Hylton V. United States 319
  • Pollock V. Farmers' Loan and Trust Company (rehearing) 321
  • Mccray V. United States 326
  • Bailey V. Drexel Furniture Company (child Labor Tax Case) 328
  • United States V. Butler 330
  • Steward Machine Co. V. Davis 337
  • Seven - The Contract Clause and State Police Power 343
  • Calder V. Bull 355
  • Dartmouth College V. Woodward 360
  • Charles River Bridge V. Warren Bridge 365
  • Stone V. Mississippi 372
  • Home Building & Loan Association V. Blaisdell 373
  • Eight - The Development of Due Process 380
  • Slaughterhouse Cases 389
  • Munn V. Illinois 397
  • Mugler V. Kansas? 404
  • Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway Co. V. Minnesota 408
  • Nine - The Application of Due Process After 1890 411
  • Lochner V. New York 424
  • Bunting V. Oregon 429
  • Block V. Hirsh 430
  • Green V. Frazier 434
  • Wolff Packing Co. V. Court of Industrial Relations 437
  • Adkins V. Children's Hospital 439
  • Nebbia V. New York 446
  • West Coast Hotel Co. V. Parrish 450
  • Ten - Equal Protection of Laws 454
  • Civil Rights Cases 465
  • Plessy V. Ferguson 472
  • Truax V. Raich 476
  • Truax V. Corrigan 479
  • Liggett Co. V. Lee 485
  • United States V. Classic 490
  • Smith V. Allwright 494
  • Sweatt V. Painter 498
  • Brown V. Topeka Briggs V. Elliott Davis V. Prince Edward County Bolling V. Sharpe Gebhart V. Belton - The Public School Segregation Cases 501
  • Eleven - Civil LIberties -- Criminal Procedure 505
  • Hurtado V. California 514
  • Olmstead V. United States 521
  • Powell V. Alabama 525
  • Palko V. Connecticut 530
  • Chambers V. Florida 532
  • Adamson V. California 535
  • United States V. Rabinowitz 542
  • Ex Parte Milligan 546
  • In Re Yamashita 551
  • Twelve - Civil LIberties -- the First Amendment Freedoms 558
  • Schenck V. United States 571
  • Meyer V. Nebraska 572
  • Gitlow V. New York 574
  • Whitney V. California 580
  • Near V. Minnesota 585
  • Cantwell V. Connecticut 590
  • Minersville School District V. Gobitis 593
  • Korematsu V. United States 602
  • Mccollum V. Board of Education 607
  • Zorach V. Clauson 612
  • Terminiello V. Chicago 616
  • American Communications Association V. Douds 622
  • Dennis V. United States 631
  • Appendix - The Constitution of the United States of America 643
  • Justices of the Supreme Court: 1789-1954 660
  • Table of Cases 663


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