John Howard Lawson went on trial in Washington last week for contempt of Congress. The heavy, sharp-featured screenwriter, one of Hollywood's most notorious Communist-liners, had refused to give a yes-or-no answer when asked last fall by the House Un-American Activities Committee: "Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?" He was the first of the famed "unfriendly ten" to go on trial.

One or another of his eight defense attorneys objected to everything in sight. They were repeatedly overruled by whitehaired Judge Edward M. Curran. Judge Curran refused to disqualify himself when the...

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