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First Amendment Library:
John M. Coe


This case is a companion to Wilkinson v. United States, decided today, ante, p. 399. The petitioner was the witness immediately preceding Wilkinson at the hearing of a subcommittee of the House Un-American Activities Committee, in Atlanta, Georgia, on July 30, 1958. He refused to answer many of the questions directed to him, basing his refusal upon the grounds that the questions were not pertinent to a question under inquiry by the subcommittee and that the interrogation invaded his First Amendment rights. He was subsequently indicted and, after a jury trial, convicted for having violated 2 U. S. C. § 192, in refusing to answer six specific questions which had been put to him by the subcommittee.[1] The Court of Appeals affirmed, 272 F. 2d 653, relying on Barenblatt v. United States, 360 U. S. 109, and we granted certiorari, 362 U. S. 960.