Brief Fact Summary. The Petitioner, Whitney (Petitioner), was convicted of organizing a group that would use unlawful acts of force, violence and terrorism to accomplish industrial and political change.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. A state may prohibit the organizing of an association that advocates the commission of crimes or unlawful acts of force to achieve goals that are a danger to general public interest.
Issue. Does the Respondent, the state of California’s (Respondent) Syndicalism Act (the Act) violate the First Amendment rights of its citizens?
Held. No. The Act is not unreasonable or arbitrary exercise of police power. The state was legitimately trying to protect the citizens from becoming victims of a criminal conspiracy. Being a member of an organization that advocates, teaches and aids terrorism in the name of political change is expressive conduct that poses a significant danger to the public safety and welfare warranting governmental restraint.
Concurrence. No danger from speech can be deemed clear and present unless the harm will occur before there is opportunity to discuss the speech. Speech should only be restricted in the very limited instances of dire emergency.
A statute does not violate the equal protection clause merely because it is not all-embracing.View Full Point of Law