“In Calmer Times: The Supreme Court and Red Monday”


book cover

Arthur J. Sabin
$35.00 cloth, 272 pages

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 its 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. In his eyes, the decisions in favor of free speech meant that the Reds had won.

Arthur J. Sabin, professor of law at the John Marshall Law School, 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.

Athan Theoharis, editor of The FBI: A Comprehensive Reference Guide, stated that In Calmer Times is an important contribution to constitutional history and Cold War political history. It should command the attention of anyone interested in the law, the courts, civil liberties, the Cold War, the First Amendment, and the FBI.

At the same time, the University of Pennsylvania Press is releasing a paperback edition of Professor Sabins earlier acclaimed study of communism in the United States, Red Scare in Court: New York versus the International Workers Order.

University of Pennsylvania Press

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Originally published on October 28, 1999