It's a living legal community making laws accessible and interactive. Click Here to get Started »
Dennis v. United States
On June 4, 1951, the Supreme Court in a 6-to-2 decision upheld the convictions of the Communist Party leaders and found that the Smith Act did not "inherently" violate the First Amendment. In the plurality opinion, the Court held that there was a distinction between the mere teaching of communist philosophies and active advocacy of those ideas. Such advocacy created a "clear and present danger" that threatened the government. Given the gravity of the consequences of an attempted putsch, the Court held that success or probability of success was not necessary to justify restrictions on the freedom of speech.