In re Stolar
401 U.S. 23 (1971)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

In re Stolar, 401 U.S. 23 (1971)

In re Stolar

No. 18

Argued December 9, 1969

Reargued October 14-15, 1970

Decided February 23, 1971

401 U.S. 23

Syllabus

Petitioner, a 1968 law school graduate and a member of the New York Bar, applied for admission to the Ohio Bar. He made available to Ohio all the information he had given the New York Bar Committee, including answers to questions concerning organizations with which he was associated, his loyalty to the Government, and whether he was a member of a group seeking to effect changes in our form of government or to advance the interests of a foreign country. But petitioner refused to answer three questions on the Ohio application on the ground that they infringed his rights under the First and Fifth Amendments: (1) Question 12(g), which asked whether he was a member of "any organization which advocates the overthrow of the government of the United States by force," (2) Question 13, which asked for a list of all "organizations of which you are or have been a member," and (3) Question 7, which sought a list of all "organizations of which you are or have become a member since registering as a law student." The Ohio Supreme Court approved the bar investigating committee's recommendation that petitioner's application to take the bar examination be denied.

Held: The judgment of the Ohio Supreme Court is reversed, and the case is remanded. Pp. 401 U. S. 27-31.

Reversed and remanded.

MR. JUSTICE BLACK, joined by MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS, MR. JUSTICE BRENNAN, and MR. JUSTICE MARSHALL, concluded that it was a denial of petitioner's First Amendment rights to refuse him admission to the Ohio bar simply because he declined to answer questions about his beliefs and associations. Baird v. State Bar of Arizona, ante, p. 401 U. S. 1. Pp. 401 U. S. 27-31.

MR. JUSTICE STEWART concluded that Questions 7 and 13 are unconstitutional under Shelton v. Tucker,364 U. S. 479, and that Question 12(g), like Question 27 in Baird v. State Bar of Arizona, ante, p. 401 U. S. 1, is constitutionally infirm under the First and Fourteenth Amendments, since it is not confined to knowing membership in any organization that advocates violent overthrow of the Government. P. 401 U. S. 31.

Page 401 U. S. 24

BLACK, J., announced the Court's judgment and delivered an opinion in which DOUGLAS, BRENNAN, and MARSHALL, JJ., joined. STEWART, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, post, p. 401 U. S. 31. HARLAN, J., filed a dissenting opinion, post, p. 401 U. S. 34. WHITE, J., filed a dissenting opinion, ante, p. 401 U. S. 10. BLACKMUN, J., filed a dissenting opinion in which BURGER, C.J., and HARLAN and WHITE, JJ., joined, post, p. 401 U. S. 31.

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