Cover image for In calmer times : the Supreme Court and Red Monday
In calmer times : the Supreme Court and Red Monday
Sabin, Arthur J., 1930-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xv, 262 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
KF221.C55 S22 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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In 1951, at the height of the Red Scare, Justice Hugo Black predicted that the Supreme Court would one day change its view on the balance between the need to ensure domestic security against subversive influences and an obligation to preserve First Amendment principles. Justice Black predicted that "in calmer times" the Court would favor protecting the rights of political dissenters. He was right: six years later, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover named June 17, 1957, "Red Monday" for the four Supreme Court decisions announced that day, meaning that the "Reds" had won.

Arthur J. Sabin investigates the decisions after 1955 in which the U.S. Supreme Court repudiated its earlier endorsement of the political prosecutions that had engulfed the nation after World War II. Those prosecutions had sent hundreds to jail, reflecting a widespread belief that the nation was in serious danger of internal subversion and revolution. He does so in the context of the larger political culture of the times--and also in the context of the history of political dissent in America, from World War I through the McCarthy era and beyond.

Author Notes

Arthur J. Sabin is Professor of Law at the John Marshall Law School. He is the author of Red Scare in Court: New York Versus the International Workers Order, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

During the second "Red Scare" the Supreme Court weighed the need for governmental self-protection from conspiracies against the rights of free speech and affiliation afforded to dissidents. Although the Supreme Court has sometimes been caught up in the passions of the times, it has also been the torch beam of the liberties of unpopular minorities. Sabin (John Marshall Law School) provides an historical underpinning for the Court's rulings on the rights of alleged communist sympathizers during the post-WWII period. He follows the investigations into "communist activities" by J. Edgar Hoover's FBI, which trod on the personal lives of law-abiding private citizens and governmental officials. Senator McCarthy's hearings and their progeny into subversive activities are examined. Courts also ruthlessly pursued the "Reds" in, for example, the trial of the leadership of the already-ailing Communist Party of the US in United States v. Dennis (1949). But, by 1957, the Supreme Court reversed its consent on communist-hunting, announcing four decisions that J. Edgar Hoover demonized as "Red Monday." Sabin analyzes these Supreme Court decisions in light of wider societal trends and events that precipitated modified attitudes toward the "communist menace." This book raises important legal and ethical issues and presents them in an accessible fashion. Highly recommended for general readers, students, and scholars. M. Hendrickson; Wilson College