1956 December 7

ACLU Attorney A.L. Wirin Ejected From HUAC Hearing


A.L.Wiring, Attorney for the ACLU of Southern California, was ejected from a hearing by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) on this day. The HUAC hearings in Los Angeles included an investigation of the American Committee for the Protection of the Foreign-born, a left-wing-oriented immigrants’ rights group. Wirin was one of four attorneys evicted from the hearings (two on this day and two the following days) for addressing the committee directly. Richard Arens, HUAC counsel, asserted that the lawyers only had the right to advise clients about their constitutional rights.

At the close of the hearings, HUAC chairperson, Rep. Harold Velde(R-Illinois) stated that state bar associations should consider disbarring all four of the lawyers.

Wirin served as lawyer for the ACLU of Southern California for many years. He played a particularly important role in recruiting plaintiffs to challenge the evacuation and internment of the Japanese-Americans from the west coast during World War II. On January 23, 1934, Wirin was kidnapped and beaten by vigilantes while he was assisting farm workers in rural California.

Wirin’s  initials stood for “Abraham Lincoln.” He died on February 4, 1978.

Learn about the history of the ACLU: Samuel Walker, In Defense of American Liberties: A History of the ACLU (1990)




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