1949 November 23

New York County Bar Association Urges Ban on Wiretapping

 

In a New York Appellate Court hearing on this day, a representative of the New York County Bar Association urged the court to “stand as a sentinel” against wiretapping, which it claimed was “widespread.” The bar group had petitioned the court to invalidate all lower court orders that justified wiretapping. The effort did not succeed, however. One of the judges pointedly criticized the bar group for not offering specific examples of people who had been injured as a result of wiretapping.

The judge who criticized the lack of specific cases was Learned Hand, who is famous for two very different civil liberties opinions. During World War I, he overturned a Post Office ban on the anti-war magazine The Masses, in one of the few pro-free speech and press decisions of the war (July 24, 1917). His decision was soon overturned on appeal, however. Thirty-four years later, taking a very different position on the First Amendment, Hand authored the Circuit Court of Appeals opinion regarding the constitutionality of the Smith Act in the famous case involving the conviction of the top leaders of the Communist Party, in Dennis v. United States, on June 4, 1951.

Learn more about warrantless wiretapping todayhttps://www.aclu.org/blog/tag/warrantless-wiretapping

Read: Gerald Gunther, Learned Hand: The Man and the Judge (1994)

Learn more about wiretapping from the Electronic Frontier Foundation: https://ssd.eff.org/wire/govt/wiretapping-protections

And more about the history of wiretapping: https://www.aclu.org/criminal-law-reform/aclu-history-wiretapping-new-kind-search-and-seizure

Find a Day

Go
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

Topics

Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear your comments, criticisms and suggestions!