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Texas Assn of Business officials held in contempt

Houston Chronicle reports:

A state district judge held two Texas Association of Business executives in contempt Monday after they invoked First Amendment rights in refusing to testify before a Travis County grand jury. The panel is investigating whether the association and its political consultants violated state law by using corporate funds to influence the outcome of state House elections last year.

Now that's something you don't see much -- invoking the First Amendment right not to testify.


I recall that at least a few targets of Joe McCarthy invoked their First Amendment rights in Congressional testimony, though my recollection is that they did so in conjunction with an assertion of the Fifth Amendment privilege. Presumably questions about their membership in or cooperation with the CPUSA could have incriminated them under the Smith Act.

That's right. I was thinking of the Alabama v NAACP case where the State sought the membership list of the NAACP.

Lillian Hellman

JJ and I disagree about the significance of the
NAACP v Alabama ex rel. Patterson case; see our respective briefs in majors v. abell.