THE SUPREME COURT: Conditional Silence

Reds and party-liners have a perfect right to refuse to answer questions about their Communist activities—so long as they take advantage of their constitutional privilege not to incriminate themselves. Then the law cannot touch them for contempt. So the Supreme Court ruled last week in an 8-0 decision written by Justice Hugo Black.

The decision involved a minor Communist Party official in Colorado named Mrs. Patricia Blau. Called as a witness in a federal grand-jury investigation in 1949, Mrs. Blau stood on her right to avoid selfincrimination, refused to say whether she...

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