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United States v. Brown
United States Supreme Court
381 U.S. 437 (1965)
In 1959, Congress passed the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA). Section 504 of LMRDA makes it a crime for a member of the Communist Party to serve as an officer or employee of a labor union because Communists were thought to be likely to incite political strikes. Brown (defendant) was working as a longshoreman for many years and was also an open advocate of Communism. Brown was elected to the board for a local longshoreman union. After serving for three years, he was charged by the federal government (plaintiff) under Section 504 of LMRDA. A jury convicted Brown of the charges and sentenced him to six months in prison. Brown appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The Ninth Circuit reversed the conviction and held that Section 504 violates the First and Fifth Amendments to the United States Constitution. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Warren, C.J.)
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