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First Amendment Library:
Louis C. Wyman


In an investigation conducted by a State Attorney General, acting on behalf of the State Legislature under a broad resolution directing him to determine whether there were "subversive persons" in the State and to recommend further legislation on that subject, appellant answered most questions asked him, including whether he was a Communist; but he refused to answer questions related to (1) the contents of a lecture he had delivered at the State University, and (2) his knowledge of the Progressive Party of the State and its members. He did not plead his privilege against self-incrimination, but based his refusal to answer such questions on the grounds that they were not pertinent to the inquiry and violated his rights under the First Amendment. Persisting in his refusal when haled into a State Court and directed to answer, he was adjudged guilty of contempt. This judgment was affirmed by the State Supreme Court, which construed the term "subversive persons" broadly enough to include persons engaged in conduct only remotely related to actual subversion and done completely apart from any conscious intent to be a part of such activity. It also held that the need of the Legislature to be informed on the subject of self-preservation of government outweighed the deprivation of constitutional rights that occurred in the process.


This case is here again on appeal from a judgment of civil contempt entered against appellant by the Merrimack County Court and affirmed by the Supreme Court of New Hampshire. It arises out of appellant's refusal to produce certain documents before a New Hampshire legislative investigating committee which was authorized and directed to determine, inter alia, whether there were subversive persons or organizations present in the State of New Hampshire. Upon the first appeal from the New Hampshire court, 100 N. H. 436, 130 A. 2d 278, we vacated the judgment and remanded the case to it, 355 U. S. 16, for consideration in the light of Sweezy v. New Hampshire, 354 U. S. 234 (1957). That court reaffirmed its former decision, 101 N. H. 139, 136 A. 2d 221, deeming Sweezy not to control the issues in the instant case. For *74 reasons which will appear, we agree with the Supreme Court of New Hampshire.


364 U.S. 388 (1960) UPHAUS v. WYMAN, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF NEW HAMPSHIRE. No. 336. Supreme Court of United States. Decided November 14, 1960. APPEAL FROM THE SUPREME COURT OF NEW HAMPSHIRE. Louis Lusky, Grenville Clark, Marvin H. Morse, Dudley W. Orr, Royal W. France, Hugh H. Bownes and Leonard B. Boudin for appellant. Louis C…. Read more