Briefing of a case - Ben Fox Prof Lieberman National...

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Ben Fox 1/30/08 Prof. Lieberman National Security CASE BRIEF 1. The style of the case Dennis vs. United States, 341 U.S. 494 (U.S. Supreme Court 1951) 2. Procedural facts Eleven leaders of the National Board of the Communist Party were arrested and tried in Trail Court for conspiring to teach and advocate the overthrow of the United States government by force and violence and to organize the Communist Party for that purpose, a violation of the Smith Act. The Trial Court ruled that the defendants were guilty and sentenced each to five years in prison and ordered each man to pay a 10,000- dollar fine. This decision was upheld in the court of appeals. 3. Substantive facts The United States Congress passed the Smith Act in 1940 making it illegal for any party to knowingly teach, advocate or advise overthrowing the United States Government through force or violence, but does not prohibit peaceful and lawful change. These eleven men were openly advising and teaching their students Communist Party beliefs and ideals and were discussing overthrowing the government through violent means in some manor, and thus were in violation of the Smith Act in some form. 4. The issues (or the question(s) before the court) Whether or not the Smith Act violated first and Fifth Amendment rights.
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