1967 January 23

Members of Allegedly “Seditious” Groups Can Teach in New York


In Keyishian v. Board of Regents, decided on this day, the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional a New York State law that prohibited members of “seditious” groups from teaching in the state. The Court held that academic freedom “does not tolerate laws that cast a pall of orthodoxy over the classroom.” The law required an answer to the question: “Have you ever advised or taught or were you ever a member of any society or group of persons which taught or advocated the doctrine that the Government of the United States or of any political subdivisions thereof should be overthrown or overturned by force, violence or any unlawful means?”

Sedition is generally defined to mean actions or direct incitement to challenge the established order and/or to advocate the overthrow of the government. See, for example, the federal Smith Act, passed on June 29, 1940.

Listen to the oral arguments in the case: http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1966/1966_105

Learn more about the freedom to teach at the AAUP: http://www.aaup.org/report/freedom-to-teach

Find a Day

Abortion Rights ACLU african-americans Alice Paul anti-communism Anti-Communist Hysteria Birth Control Brown v. Board of Education Censorship CIA Civil Rights Civil Rights Act of 1964 Cold War Espionage Act FBI First Amendment Fourteenth Amendment freedom of speech Free Speech Gay Rights Hate Speech homosexuality Hoover, J. Edgar HUAC Japanese American Internment King, Dr. Martin Luther Ku Klux Klan Labor Unions Lesbian and Gay Rights Loyalty Oaths McCarthy, Sen. Joe New York Times Obscenity Police Misconduct Same-Sex Marriage Separation of Church and State Sex Discrimination Smith Act Spying Spying on Americans Vietnam War Voting Rights Voting Rights Act of 1965 War on Terror Watergate White House Women's Rights Women's Suffrage World War I World War II Relocation Camps


Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear your comments, criticisms and suggestions!