1934 July 27

Dirk De Jonge, Oregon Communist, Arrested for Organizing Meeting – Heads to Supreme Court


Dirk De Jonge, leader of the Portland, Oregon Communist Party, organized a rally to protest illegal raids on workers’ meetings and the shooting of striking longshoremen by Portland police. He was arrested on this day under the state Criminal Syndicalism law. In an early and important victory for First Amendment rights, the Supreme Court overturned his conviction, in De Jonge v. Oregon, on January 4, 1937. The decision was a sign that the Supreme Court was about to reverse its position and begin to affirm a broad range of civil liberties, which the Roosevelt Court did between 1937 and 1945.

The Court: “. . . peaceable assembly for lawful discussion cannot be made a crime. The holding of meetings for peaceable political action cannot be proscribed. Those who assist in the conduct of such meetings cannot be branded as criminals on that score.”

Learn more about free speech: http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/category/speech

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