Bullies with government power always seem to know how to be creative in censoring their critics, which is one reason why we have the First Amendment as part of our nation’s fundamental and paramount law over government itself.
In the 1950s, many politicians wanted to silence the civil rights movement. Doing their bidding, Alabama Attorney General John Patterson tried to subpoena the names and addresses of the NAACP’s members, which was a creative way to intimidate people from joining the movement.
Fortunately, Patterson was rebuffed by the Supreme Court in its1958 landmark opinion NAACP v. Alabama, holding that his demands violated the First Amendment right of private association.
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