Constitutional Law Keyed to Stone
Dennis v. United States
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The Smith Act (the Act) made it a criminal offense for a person to knowingly or willfully advocate the overthrowing of any government in the United States by force or to attempt to commit or conspire to commit the crime the same. The Petitioners were brought up on charges under the Act for allegedly (1) willfully and knowingly conspiring to organize as the Communist Party of the United States, a group whose members advocated the overthrow of the United States government by force and (2) willfully and knowingly advocating and teaching the duty to do the same. It was clear from the record that the leaders of the Communist Party intended to initiate a revolution when the opportunity came. The Trial Court found the Petitioners guilty. The Court of Appeals affirmed. The constitutionality of the statute under which the Petitioners were convicted was challenged.
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