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In sustaining the jurisdiction of a Washington court to render a judgment in personam against a foreign corporation which carries on some activities within the State of Washington, Chief Justice Stone used the now-familiar phrase that there "were sufficient contacts or ties with the State of the forum to make it reasonable and just, according to our traditional conception of fair play and substantial justice, to enforce the obligation which appellant has incurred there."
Formalistic doctrines or dogmas have been replaced by a more flexible and realistic approach, and this trend has been carried forward in subsequent cases leading up to and including McGee v. International Life Insurance Co., 355 U.S. 220, until halted by Hanson v. Denckla, 357 U.S. decided June 23, 1958.
In the field of taxation, the doctrine of intergovernmental immunity has been seriously curtailed partly by judicial decisions and partly by statute. This has not been entirely a one-way street. In recent years, cases involving State taxation have arisen in many fields. Sometimes they have involved questions of burdens upon interstate commerce or the export-import clause, sometimes of jurisdiction to tax as a matter of due process, and sometimes they have arisen on the fringes of governmental immunity, as where a State has sought to tax a contractor doing business with the National Government. There have been some shifts in holdings. On the whole, the Supreme Court seems perhaps to have taken a more liberal view in recent years toward the validity of State taxation than it formerly took.
OTHER FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT CASES In many other fields, however, the Fourteenth Amendment has been invoked to cut down State action. This has been noticeably true in cases involving not only the Fourteenth Amendment but also the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech or the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination. State antisubversive acts have been practically eliminated by Pennsylvania v. Nelson, in which the decision was rested on the ground of pre-emption of the field by the federal statutes.
THE SWEEZY CASESTATE LEGISLATIVE INVESTIGATION
The manifestation of this restrictive action under the Fourteenth Amendment is to be found in Sweezy v. New Hampshire, 354 U.S. 234.
In that case, the State of New Hampshire had enacted a subversive-activity statute which imposed various disabilities on subversive persons and subversive organizations. In 1963, the legislature adopted a resolution under which it constituted the attorney general a one man legislative committee to investigate violations of that act and to recommend additional legislation.
Sweezy, described as a non-Communist Marxist, was summoned to testify at the investigation conducted by the attorney general, pursuant to this authorization. He testified freely about many matters but refused to answer two types of questions: (1) inquiries concerning the activities of the Progressive Party in the State during the 1948 campaign, and (2) inquiries concerning a lecture Sweezy had delivered in 1954 to a class at the University of New Hampshire,
He was adjudged in contempt by a State court for failure to answer these questions. The Supreme Court reversed the conviction, but there is no majority opinion. The opinion of the Chief Justice, in which he was joined by Justices Black, Douglas and Brennan, started out by reaffirming the position taken in Watkins v. United States, 354 U.S. 178, that legislative investigations can encroach on First Amendment rights. He then attacked the New Hampshire Subversive Activities Act and stated that the definition of subversive persons and subversive organizations was so vague and limitless that they extended to "conduct which is only remotely related to actual subversion and which is done free of any conscious intent to be a part of such activity.”
Then followed a lengthy discourse on the importance of academic freedom and political expression. This was not, however, the ground upon which these four Justices ultimately relied for their conclusion that the conviction should be reversed. The Chief Justice said in part:
"The respective roles of the legislature and the investigator thus revealed are of considerable significance to the issue before us. It is eminently clear that the basic discretion of determining the direction of the legislative inquiry has been turned over to the investigative agency. The attorney general has been given such a sweeping and uncertain mandate that it is his discretion which picks out the subjects that will be pursued, what witnesses will be summoned and what questions will be asked. In this circumstance, it cannot be stated authoritatively that the legislature asked the attorney general to gather the kind of facts comprised in the subjects upon which petitioner was interrogated.”.
Four members of the Court, two in a concurring opinion and two in a dissenting opinion, took vigorous issue with the view that the conviction was invalid because of the legislature's failure to provide adequate standards to guide the attorney general's investigation.
Mr. Justice Frankfurter and Mr. Justice Harlan concurred in the reversal of the conviction on the ground that there was no basis for a belief that Sweezy or the Progressive Party threatened the safety of the State and, hence, that the liberties of the individual should prevail.
Mr. Justice Clark, with whom Mr. Justice Burton joined, arrived at the opposite conclusion and took'the view that the State's interest in self-preservation justified the intrusion into Sweezy's personal affairs.
In commenting on this case Professor Cramton says:
“The most puzzling aspect of the Sweezy case is the reliance by the Chief Justice on delegation-of-power conceptions. New Hampshire had determined that it wanted the information which Sweezy refused to give; to say that the State has not demonstrated that it wants the information seems so unreal as to be incredible. The State had delegated power to the attorney general to determine the scope of inquiry within the general subject of subversive activities.
“Under these circumstances, the conclusion of the Chief Justice that the vagueness of the resolution violates the due-process clause must be, despite his protestations, a holding that a State legislature cannot delegate such a power."
PUBLIC-EMPLOYMENT CASES There are many cases involving public employment and the question of disqualification therefor by reason of Communist Party membership or other questions of loyalty.
Slochower v. Board of Higher Education, 350 U.S. 551, is a well-known example of cases of this type. Two more recent cases, Lerner v. Casey, and Beilan v. Board of Public Éducation, both in 357 U.S. and decided on June 30, 1958, have upheld disqualifications for employment where such issues were involved, but they did so on the basis of lack of competence or fitness.
Lerner was a subway conductor in New York and Beilan was a public school instructor. In each case the decision was by a 5-to-4 majority.
ADMISSION TO THE BAR
When we come to the recent cases on admission to the bar, we are in a field of unusual sensitivity. We are well aware that any adverse comment which we may make on those decisions lays up open to attack on the grounds that we are com. plaining of the curtailment of our own powers and that we are merely voicing the equivalent of the ancient protest of the defeated litigant-in this instance the wail of a judge who has been reversed. That is a prospect which we accept in preference to maintaining silence on a matter which we think cannot be ignored without omitting an important element on the subject with which this report is concerned.
Konigsberg v. State Bar of California, 353 U.S. 252. seems to us to reach the high-water mark so far established by the Supreme Court in overthrowing the action of a State and in denying to a State the power to keep order in its own house.
The majority opinion first hurdled the problem as to whether or not the federal question sought to be raised was properly presented to the State highest court for decision and was decided by that court. Mr. Justice Frankfurter dissented on the ground that the record left it doubtful whether this jurisdictional requirement for review by the Supreme Court had been met and favored a remand of the case for certification by the State highest court of "whether or not it did in fact pass on a claim properly before it under the due-process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.' Mr. Justice Harlan and Mr. Justice Clark shared Mr. Justice Frankfurter's jurisdictional views. They also dissented on the merits in an opinion written by Mr. Justice Harlan, of which more later.
The majority opinion next turned to the merits of Konigsberg's application for admission to the bar. Applicable State statutes required one seeking admission to show that he was a person of good moral character and that he did not advocate the overthrow of the National or State Government by force or violence. The committee of bar examiners, after holding several hearings on Konigsberg's application, notified him that his application was denied because he did not show that he met the above qualifications.
The Supreme Court made its own review of the facts.
On the score of good moral character, the majority found that Konigsberg had sufficiently established it, that certain editorials written by him attacking this country's participation in the Korean War, the actions of political leaders, the influence of “big business" on American life, racial discrimination and the Supreme Court's decision in Dennis v. United States, 341 U.S. 494, would not support any rational inference of bad moral character, and that his refusal to answer questions, "almost all” of which were described by the Court as having "concerned his political affiliations, editorials and beliefs" (353 U.S. 269), would not support such an inference either.
MEANING OF REFUSAL TO ANSWER
On the matter of advocating the overthrow of the National or State Government by force or violence, the Court held—as it had in the companion case of Schware v. Board of Bar Examiners of New Mexico, 353 U.S. 232, decided contemporaneously—that past membership in the Communist Party was not enough to show bad moral character. The majority apparently accepted as sufficient Konigsberg's denial of any present advocacy of the overthrow of the Government of the United States or of California, which was uncontradicted on the record. He had refused to answer questions relating to his past political affiliations and beliefs, which the bar committee might have used to test the truthfulness of his present claims. His refusal to answer was based upon his views as to the effect of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The Court did not make any ultimate determination of their correctness, but-at 353 U.S. 270— said that “prior decisions by this Court indicated that his objections to answering the questions—which we shall refer to below—were not frivolous.
The majority asserted that Konigsberg “was not denied admission to the California bar simply because he refused to answer questions."
In a footnote appended to this statement it is said, 353 U.S. 259: "Neither the committee as a whole nor any of its members even intimated that Konigsberg would be barred just because he refused to answer relevant inquiries or because he was obstructing the committee. Some members informed him that they did not necessarily accept his position that they were not entitled to inquire into his political associations and opinions and said that his failure to answer would have some bearing on their determination whether he was qualified. But they never suggested that his failure to answer their questions was, by itself, a sufficient independent ground for denial of his application.”
A "CONVINCING" DISSENT Mr. Justice Harlan's dissent took issue with these views—convincingly, we think. He quoted lengthy extracts from the record of Konigsberg's hearings before the subcommittee and the committee of the State bar investigating his application. 353 U.S. 284–309. Konigsberg flatly refused to state whether or not at the time of the hearing he was a member of the Communist Party and refused to answer questions on whether he had ever been a Communist or belonged to various organizations, including the Communist Party.
The bar committee conceded that he could not be required to answer a question if the answer might tend to incriminate him; but Konigsberg did not stand on the Fifth Amendment and his answer which came nearest to raising that question, as far as we can see, seems to have been based upon a fear of prosecution for perjury for whatever answer he might then give as to membership in the Communist Party.
We think, on the basis of the extracts from the record contained in Mr. Justice Harlan's dissenting opinion, that he committee was concerned with its duty under the statute “to certify as to this applicant's good moral character”-p: 295—and that the committee was concerned with the applicant's "disinclination” to respond to questions proposed by the Committee-p. 301-and that the committee, in passing on his good moral character, sought to test his veracity-p. 303.
The majority, however, having reached the conclusion above stated, that Konigsberg had not been denied admission to the bar simply because he refused to answer questions, then proceeded to demolish a straw man by saying that there was nothing in the California statutes or decisions, or in the rules of the bar committee which had been called to the Court's attention suggesting that a failure to answer questions "is ipso facto a basis for excluding an applicant from the bar, irrespective of how overwhelming is his showing of good character or loyalty or how flimsy are the suspicions of the bar examiners.”
Whether Konigsberg's "overwhelming" showing of his own good character have been shaken if he had answered the relevant
questions which he refused to answer, we cannot say. We have long been under the impression that candor is required if members of the bar and, prior to Konigsberg, we should not have thought that there was any doubt that a candidate for admission to the bar should answer questions as to matters relating to his fitness for admission, and that his failure or refusal to answer such questions would warrant an inference unfavorable to the applicant or a finding that he had failed to meet the burden of proof of his moral fitness.
Let us repeat that Konisgberg did not invoke protection against self-incrimination. He invoked a privilege which he claimed to exist against answering certain questions. These might have served to test his veracity at the committee hearings held to determine whether or not he was possessed of the good moral character required for admission to the bar.
The majority opinion seems to ignore the issue of veracity sought to be raised by the questions which Konigsberg refused to answer. It is also somewhat confusing with regard to the burden of proof. At one point-pp. 270-271-it says that the committee was not warranted in drawing from Konigsberg's refusal to answer questions any inference that he was of bad moral character; at another-p. 273—it says that there was no evidence in the record to justify a finding that he had failed to establish his good moral character.
Also at page 273 of 353 U.S., the majority said: "We recognize the importance of leaving States free to select their own bars, but it is equally important that the State not exercise this power in an arbitrary or discriminatory manner nor in such way as to impinge on the freedom of political expression or association. A bar composed of lawyers of good character is a worthy objective but it is unnecessary to sacrifice vital freedoms in order to obtain that goal. It is also important to society and the bar itself that lawyers be unintimidated-free to think, speak and act as members of an independent bar."
The majority thus makes two stated concessions--each, of course, subject to limitations--one, that it is important to leave the States free to select their own bars and the other, that "a bar composed of lawyers of good character is a worthy objective."
AVOIDING “A TEST OF VERACITY" We think that Mr. Justice Harlan's dissent on the merits, in which Mr. Justice Clark joined, shows the fallacies of the majority position. On the facts which we think were demonstrated by the excerpts from the record included in that dissent, it seems to us that the net result of the case is that a State is unable to protect itself against admitting to its bar an applicant who, by his own refusal to answer certain questions as to what the majority regarded as "political associations and activities, avoids a test of his veracity through cross-examination on a matter which he has the burden of proving in order to establish his right to admission to the ar.
The power left to the States to regulate admission to their bars under Konigsberg hardly seems adequate to achieve what the majority chose to describe as a "worthy objective"-"a bar composed of lawyers of good character."
We shall close our discussion of Konigsberg by quoting two passages from Mr. Justice Harlan's dissent, in which Mr. Justice Clark joined. In one, he states that “this case involves an area of federal-State relations—the right of States to establish and administer standards for admission to their bars-into which this Court should be especially reluctant and slow to enter.” In the other, his concluding comment-p. 312—-says: “[W]hat the Court has really done, I think, is simply to impose on California its own notions of public policy and judgment. For me, today's decision represents an unacceptable intrusion into a matter of State concern.
The Lerner and Beilan cases, above referred to, seem to indicate some recession from the intimations, though not from the decisions, in the Konigsberg and Slochower cases. In Beilan, the schoolteacher was told that his refusal to answer questions might result in his dismissal, and his refusal to answer questions pertaining to loyalty matters was held relevant to support a finding that he was incompetent.” “Incompetent" seems to have been taken in the sense of unfit.
STATE ADMINISTRATION OF CRIMINAL LAW When we turn to the impact of decisions of the Supreme Court upon the State administration of criminal justice, we find that we have entered a very broad field. In many matters, such as the fair drawing of juries, the exclusion of forced confessions as evidence, and the right to counsel at least in all serious cases, we do not believe that there is any real difference in doctrine between the views held by the Supreme Court of the United States and the views held by the highest courts of the several States.
There is, however, a rather considerable difference at times as to how these general principles should be applied and as to whether they have been duly regarded or not. In such matters the Supreme Court not only feels free to review the facts, but considers it to be its duty to make an independent review of the facts. It sometimes seems that the rule which governs most appellate courts in the view of findings of fact by trial courts is given lip service, but is actually given the least possible practical effect.
Appellate courts generally will give great weight to the findings of fact by trial courts which had the opportunity to see and hear the witnesses, and they are reluctant to disturb such findings. The Supreme Court at times seems to read the records in criminal cases with a somewhat different point of view. Perhaps no more striking example of this can readily be found than in Moore v. Michigan, 355 U.S. 155.
In the Moore case the defendant had been charged in 1937 with the crime of first-degree murder, to which he pleaded guilty. The murder followed a rape and was marked by extreme brutality. The defendant was a Negro youth, 17 years of age at the time of the offense, and is described as being of limited education-oniy the seventh grade--and as being of rather low mentality.
He confessed the crime to law-enforcement officers and he expressed a desire to plead guilty and get it over with.” Before such a plea was permitted to be entered, he was interviewed by the trial judge in the privacy of the judge's chambers and he again admitted his guilt, said he did not want counsel and expressed the desire to get it over with,' to be sent to whatever institution he was to be confined in, and to be placed under observation. Following this, the plea of guilty was accepted and there was a hearing to determine the punishment which should be imposed.
About 12 years later the defendant sought a new trial, principally on the ground that he had been unfairly dealt with because he was not represented by counsel. He had expressly disclaimed any desire for counsel at the time of his trial. Pursuant to the law of Michigan, he had a hearing on this application for a new trial. In most respects his testimony was seriously at variance with the testimony of other witnesses. He was corroborated in one matter by a man who had been a deputy sheriff at the time when the prisoner was arrested and was being questioned.
The trial court, however, found in substance that the defendant knew what he he was doing when he rejected the appointment of counsel and pleaded guilty, that he was then calm and not intimidated, and, after hearing him testify, that he was completely unworthy of belief. It accordingly denied the application for a new trial. This denial was affirmed by the Supreme Court of Michigan, largely upon the basis of the findings of fact by the trial court. The Supreme Court of the United States reversed.
The latter Court felt that counsel might have been of assistance to the prisoner, in view of his youth, lack of education and low mentality, by requiring the State to prove its case against him-saying the evidence was largely circumstantial-by raising a question as to his sanity, and by presenting factors which might have lessened the severity of the penalty imposed. It was the maximum permitted under the Michigan law-solitary confinement for life at hard labor.
The case was decided by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1957. The majority opinion does not seem to have given any consideration whatsoever to the difficulties of proof which the State might encounter after the lapse of many years or the risks to society which might result from the release of a prisoner of this type, if the new prosecution should fail. They are, however, pointed out in the dissent.
Another recent case which seems to us surprising, and the full scope of which we cannot foresee, is Lambert v. California, 355 U.S., decided Dec. 16, 1957. In that case a majority of the Court reversed a conviction under a Los Angeles ordinance which required a person convicted of a felony, or of a crime which would be felony under the law of California, to register upon taking up residence in Los Angeles.
Lambert had been convicted of forgery and had served a long term in a California prison for that offense. She was arrested on suspicion of another crime and