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MAYER v. RUSK

December 3, 1963

Milton S. MAYER
v.
Dean RUSK, Secretary of State, Washington, D.C



The opinion of the court was delivered by: HART

On June 13, 1963, upon application of the plaintiff and agreement of the Government and after motion to convene a three-judge Court was granted, this Court was appointed to hear the question of the constitutional validity of Section 6 of the Subversive Activities Control Act of 1950, 64 Stat. 993, 50 U.S.C. § 785, as applied to the facts of the case at bar and the question fo whether, if the statute is constitutional, the Secretary of State may make the processing of an application for a new passport conditional upon either an affirmation by the applicant that he is not a member of the Communist Party of the United States of America or an explanation by the applicant of his inability to make such an affirmation.

Both parties moved for summary judgment stating that there is no genuine issue of material fact involved and the Court finds that there is no genuine issue of material fact involved.

 On January 18, 1963, Mr. Milton S. Mayer, plaintiff in this case, executed a formal application for issuance of a new passport on the application form proffered him at the American Embassy in Bern, Switzerland. He answered the following questions required to be completed on the face of the application swearing that he had not

 He also declared his allegiance to the Constitution of the United States. Plaintiff refused to sign, as part of his application, a statement which read:

 'I am not and have not been at any time during the period of 12 full calendar months preceding the date of this application (and no other person to be included in the passport is or has been a member at any time during said period) a member of any organization registered or required to register under Section 7 of the Subversive Activities Control Act of 1950, as amended (50 U.S.C. § 786).'

 (NOTE: Applicant raises no question as to the 12 month provision not being authorized by statute. Applicant states his position would be the same if the words 'and have not been at any time during the period of 12 full calendar months preceding the date of this application' were omitted. The Court makes no decision as to the propriety or impropriety of the 12 month provision.)

 Subsequently, on March 11, 1963, at San Francisco, California, he re-executed his application for a passport on Form DSP-11, prescribed in May, 1962, which form contained the same declarations on its face as those of the Bern application. Plaintiff again answered and affirmed all of the declarations required except that relating to membership in an organization registered or required to register under Section 7 of the Subversive Activities Control Act. With regard to all declarations required on Form DSP-11 there is the following provision:

 'If any of the above mentioned acts or conditions have been performed by or apply to the applicant or to any other person to be included in the passport, the portion which applies should be struck out, and a supplementary explanatory statement under oath (or affirmation) by the person to whom the portion is applicable should be attached and made a part of this application.'

 Paragraph 6 of Information for Passport Applicants, printed on the back of Form DSP-11, sets forth that the only organization registered or required to register as a Communist organization under Section 7 of the Internal Security Act of 1950 is The Communist Party of the United States of America.

 Plaintiff, in refusing to affirm the declaration set forth on the application form as to membership in The Communist Party of the United States of America, informed the Department of State that he refused to execute this statement on the grounds that it was a 'test oath' which violated his constitutional rights. It must be noted that the plaintiff did not assert that the required declaration, or the required explanatory statement if the declaration could not be made, would violate his right against self-incrimination insured by the Fifth Amendment, and therefore the question of self-incrimination is not raised.

 On April 20, 1963, Mr. Mayer filed this action seeking a declaratory judgment and an injunction restraining the enforcement of Section 6 of the Subversive Activities Control Act, 50 U.S.C. § 785.

 Before this Court Mr. Mayer claims that to refuse to process his passport application because he refused to affirm non-membership in the Communist Party denies him his liberty of travel in violation of the Constitution. He asserts that Section 6 of the Subversive Activities Control Act, upon which the requirement depends, is unconstitutional and that even if Section 6 is constitutional, making such an affirmation a condition precedent to the processing of his ...


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