1938 May 19

ACLU Lawyer Arthur Garfield Hays Evicted From Jersey City


Arthur Garfield Hays, ACLU co-general counsel, was evicted by the police from Jersey City, New Jersey, on this day. Hays was in Jersey City to help with the struggle of labor unions to organize workers in the face of attacks by Mayor Frank (“Boss”) Hague, who denied them basic First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and assembly. Because of these repressive tactics, critics began comparing Hague to Adolph Hitler.

The Jersey City struggle culminated in the landmark Supreme Court decision Hague v. CIO, on June 5, 1939, which established a constitutional right of freedom of assembly.

Learn more about “Boss” Hague: Steven Hart, American Dictators: Frank Hague, Nucky Johnson, and the Perfection of the Urban Political Machine (2013)

Learn more: Richard J. Connors, A Cycle of Power: The Career of Jersey City Mayor Rank Hague (1971)

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