In Calmer Times
The Supreme Court and Red Monday
Arthur J. Sabin
272 pages | 6 x 9 | 21 illus.
Cloth 1999 | ISBN 978-0-8122-3507-4 | $55.00s | £36.00 | Add to cart
"A valuable contribution. . . . A good basic guide to the events of Red Monday and their aftermath."—American Communist History
"In Calmer Times contributes importantly to constitutional history and Cold War political history. It should command the interest of anyone interested in the law, the courts, civil liberties, the Cold War, the First Amendment, and the FBI."—Athan Theoharis, Marquette University
"Arthur Sabin's clear and accurate rendering of the zigs and zags of Supreme Court decisions—well-researched, richly supplemented by newspaper and magazine comment and private papers—will be recognized as fresh and significant."—Lawrence M. Friedman, Stanford University
"Sabin's beautifully accomplished recreation of case law . . . includes an unrivaled exploration of the International Workers Order . . . and its trial in the New York State courts; and his meticulous exegetical commentary on the trial of the top Communist Party leadership as it moved though the federal court system. . . . He casts new light on Harold Medina, the district court judge—his persistent bias against the defendants, extreme sensitivity to personal criticism, and ideological love affair with J. Edgar Hoover. Sabin hardly stops with these two trials. He surveys the post-Dennis political climate—the panic gripping the Communist Party, the relentless FBI surveillance, Hoover's obsessive pursuit—as well as the many Vinson and Warren Court decisions."—Law and History Review
"This book raises important legal and ethical issues and presents them in an accessible fashion."—Choice
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.
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.