A Question Of Constitutional Abuse - 1955

(House Un-American Activities Hearings - no, they weren't trials . . much) As the hysteria over Communist infiltration of everything American reach

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(House Un-American Activities Hearings - no, they weren't trials . . much)

As the hysteria over Communist infiltration of everything American reached its fevered pitch, questions started to arise over just what was legal and what was an abuse of our Constitutional rights as people in the midst of all this "fact finding".

The day after this broadcast of American Forum Of The Air aired (August 14, 1955) the House Un-American Activities Committee set up shop in New York to stage an inquiry over Communist activities in the Theatrical profession.

Debating the question were Representative Francis E. Walter (D-Penn) and James A. Wechsler, Editor of the New York Post.

Wechsler was no stranger to allegations of communist sympathies. He was a member of the Young Communist movement from 1934-1937 when he became disenfranchised over the Nazi-Soviet pact and renounced his membership. Still, he was the outspoken editor of The New York Post which was at the time one of the leading Liberal papers in the country (obviously pre-Murdoch).

Walter was a staunch anti-communist and chaired many of the HUAC hearings in the late 1940s to mid-1950s.

James A. Wechsler (Editor, New York Post): “What is the scope . . do you believe that your committee at this moment has the right to call anyone in the United States w ho is alleged to have been in any way, at any time in the past, linked with the Communist movement?”

Rep. Francis E. Walter (D-Penn.): “Yes, I’ll go even farther than that. I am sure that the Congress imposed upon us the obligation to call anybody which. . . who, in our judgment can throw some light on this international conspiracy insofar as it affects the security of the United States.”

It's interesting to see how many times throughout history the question of abuse of our Constitution been made and how each time the fear card is played over and over.

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