Laird v. Tatum
408 U.S. 1 (1972)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Laird v. Tatum, 408 U.S. 1 (1972)

Laird v. Tatum

NO. 71-288

Argued March 27, 1972

Decided June 26, 1972

408 U.S. 1

Syllabus

Prior to its being called upon in 1967 to assist local authorities in quelling civil disorders in Detroit, Michigan, the Department of the Army had developed only a general contingency plan in connection with its limited domestic mission under 10 U.S.C. § 331. In response to the Army's experience in the various civil disorders it was called upon to help control during 1967 and 1968, Army Intelligence established a data-gathering system, which respondents describe as involving the "surveillance of lawful civilian political activity."

Held: Respondents' claim that their First Amendment rights are chilled due to the mere existence of this data-gathering system does not constitute a justiciable controversy on the basis of the record in this case, disclosing as it does no showing of objective harm or threat of specific future harm. Pp. 408 U. S. 3-16.

144 U.S.App.D.C. 72, 444 F.2d 947, reversed.

BURGER, C.J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which WHITE, BLACKMUN, POWELL, and REHNQUIST, JJ., joined. DOUGLAS, J., filed a dissenting opinion in which MARSHALL, J., joined, post, p. 408 U. S. 16. BRENNAN, J., filed a dissenting opinion in which STEWART and MARSHALL, JJ., joined, post, p. 408 U. S. 38.

Page 408 U. S. 2

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