In re Anastaplo
366 U.S. 82 (1961)

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U.S. Supreme Court

In re Anastaplo, 366 U.S. 82 (1961)

In re Anastaplo

No. 58

Argued December 14, 1960

Decided April 24, 1961

366 U.S. 82

Syllabus

A rule of the Supreme Court of Illinois provides that applicants shall be admitted by it to the practice of law after satisfactory examination by the Board of Examiners and certification of qualification by a Committee on Character and Fitness. In hearings before that Committee, petitioner refused to answer any questions pertaining to his membership in the Communist Party, not on the ground of possible self-incrimination, but on the ground that such inquiries violated his freedom of speech and association. The Committee declined to certify him as qualified for admission to the Bar, solely on the ground that his refusals to answer such questions had obstructed the Committee's performance of its functions. The State Supreme Court denied him admission to practice.

Held: denial of petitioner's application for admission to the Bar on this ground did not violate his rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. Pp. 366 U. S. 83-97.

(a) It is not constitutionally impermissible for a State to adopt a rule that an applicant will not be admitted to the practice of law if, and so long as, by refusing to answer material questions, he obstructs a bar examining committee in its proper functions of interrogating and cross-examining him upon his qualifications. Konigsberg v. State Bar, ante, p. 366 U. S. 36. P. 366 U. S. 88.

(b) Petitioner was not privileged under the Fourteenth Amendment to refuse to answer questions concerning membership in the Communist Party. Konigsberg v. State Bar, supra. P. 366 U. S. 89.

(c) The fact that there was no independent evidence that petitioner had ever been a member of the Communist Party did not prevent the State, acting in good faith, from making this inquiry in an investigation of this kind. Pp. 366 U. S. 89-90.

(d) During the hearings before the Committee, petitioner was given adequate warning as to the consequences of his refusal to answer the Committee's questions relating to membership in the Communist Party. Pp. 366 U. S. 90-94.

(e) In the circumstances of this case, petitioner's exclusion from the Bar on the ground that he had obstructed the Committee in the performance of its duties was not arbitrary or discriminatory. Pp. 366 U. S. 94-97.

18 Ill.2d 182, 163 N.E.2d 429, affirmed.

Page 366 U. S. 83

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