1929 December 30

ACLU Challenges “Political Lecturing” by Judges


The ACLU on this day challenged “political lecturing” by judges in New York City. In the recent case of David Weiss, a 17 year-old communist, who had been arrested for soliciting funds for the Gastonia, North Carolina strikers (one of the major labor struggles of the period), Magistrate Sylvester Sabbatino had lectured Weiss from the bench about his “communist opinions.” The ACLU was collecting information about similar instances of political bias by judges in the city, and already had examples involving three other judges. It also planned to ask the New York Legislature for a broader investigation of the problem.

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

Learn about the ACLU today: www.aclu.org

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