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Barenblatt v. United States

By June 8, 1959

The Supreme Court upholds the conviction of a college professor who refuses, on First Amendment grounds, to answer questions before the House Un-American Activities Committee. In Barenblatt v. United States, the Court states that “where First Amendment rights are asserted to bar governmental interrogation, resolution of the issue always involves a balancing by the courts of the competing private and public interests at stake in the particular circumstances shown.” The Court concludes that the investigation is for a valid legislative purpose and that “investigatory power in this domain is not to be denied Congress solely because the field of education is involved.”