Sample Article Review Paper on Whitney vs. California case

Whitney vs. California case

What are the facts?

Anita Whitney took part in the establishment of the Communist Labor Party of America. She attended the convention that developed the constitution of the party and took a pledge to comply with the principles advocated by the constitution. One of the resolutions she signed was the resolution to advise employees to join the working class revolution (Bosmajian, 2010). This was with the aim of building more power, politically among them to overthrow capitalism, which had proved to be a vice in the society. When she returned to California, she was accused of a felony; violation of the Criminal Syndicalism Act because she took part in establishing the National Party. This is because under the law of California, such acts as hers were a devotion to overrule the government, which was a crime. When she was tried, she accepted that she joined the party but clarified that she never intended to overthrow the government. Her conviction as well as the appeal later followed when she claimed that the existing law validated her aims.

What are the issues?

Initially, the Court ignored the hearing of the case basing its decision on that no federal issue was involved. The attorney of the defendant proved that there were conflicts between the specific law of California and the clauses in the Fourteenth Amendment. Did the convictions under the law of Criminal Syndicalism of California violate the process as well as the rights that protected all defendants following the Fourteenth Amendment? In addition, did the same law violate the speech and the right of association of Whitney?

What are the rules?

In the determination of whether any law of a state that restricts a free speech is an exercise that is validated for the power of the police, the law will only be against the constitution if it is an attempt that is not reasonable to exercise authority. This is the authority placed on the hands of the state specifically in the interest of the public members. In addition to this, any law that imposes some penalty on any use of violent actions as a way of bringing industrial as well as political conditions, but does not impose any penalty on actions that maintain the conditions is considered to be a violation of the constitution. To be specific, this is a violation of the issue of equal protection in the 14th Amendment of the Californian constitution.

What is the Analysis (heart of the case)?

Sanford gave an opinion from a court that proved unanimous. Initially, it had dealt with cases with jurisdiction and in this case, the court cannot hear cases that have not been decided there in the past. The court determined that the appeals of this court of California did pass on a basis of federal queries. Thus, the Act was proper from the ruling. Later, the court had a dealing with the knowledge of Whitney concerning the nature of the association, which she had not been aware of. Many people doubted her knowledge. The court determined that the law clarified that she did have notice of the acts that were proscribed. However, the court gave an explanation that the statutes of the state should not be encompassing to all situations. They should classify every behavior that is conceivable and dangerous as criminal.

The court also explained that statutes that are similar in some states represent their judgment that there is some recognition of the evils that citizens are protected against. The clauses that applied in the 1st Amendment and in the 14th Amendment are different and the court explained that a court that gave a ruling under the first Amendment would not give a similar ruling applying the 14th Amendment clause. However, the law provides that abusive speeches at any circumstance must be punished (Eastland, 2000). As for the association, people are free to join members of the same mind but must be prohibited to form associations for malicious activities.

What is the Conclusion (final disposition of the controversy)?

Under the consistency with the constitution, a state may restrict any speech and social or political association with some of the organizations that are for violent actions with the aim of overthrowing the government (Parker, 2003). From this case, the statute of the state did not violate the process of guarantees and the right of equal protection of the defendant. Generally, it was a sufficient law that was applied to clarify to the citizens the behaviors that were proscribed.


Works cited

Bosmajian, H. A. (2010). Anita Whitney, Louis Brandeis, and the First Amendment. Madison, N.J: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press.

Eastland, T. (2000). Freedom of expression in the Supreme Court: The defining cases. Washington, D.C.: Ethics and Public Policy Center.

Parker, R. A. (2003). Free speech on trial. Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press.