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The Supreme Court and McCarthy-Era RepressionOne Hundred Decisions$
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Robert M. Lichtman

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037009

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037009.001.0001

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The “Red Monday” Decisions, Jencks, and a Crescendo of Anti-Court Attacks

The “Red Monday” Decisions, Jencks, and a Crescendo of Anti-Court Attacks

(October Term 1956)

(p.91) 7 The “Red Monday” Decisions, Jencks, and a Crescendo of Anti-Court Attacks
The Supreme Court and McCarthy-Era Repression

Robert M. Lichtman

University of Illinois Press

This chapter discusses the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions during its October 1956 term. The Court’s level of resistance to repressive McCarthy-era government action reached its zenith in the 1956 term. The Court issued eleven signed decisions in “Communist” cases, and the government lost them all. Four were issued the same day, June 17, 1957, a day critics called “Red Monday.” Two other significant cases were decided in per curiam opinions, again adversely to the government. The decisions, spanning the spectrum of anti-“subversive” actions, seemed to indicate diminished concern by the Court for adverse reaction. Among several decisions relating to Smith Act prosecutions, one, Yates v. United States, not only reversed the convictions of fourteen Community Party of America officials but also made it more difficult for the government to secure future Smith Act conspiracy convictions.

Keywords:   Yates v. United States, Communist cases, Smith Act, U.S. Supreme Court, McCarthy era, Community Party of America

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