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Ruthenberg v. Michigan (1927)

Argument Date 04/29/1926
Supreme Court Vote 7-2
Note Unpublished opinion (companion case to Whitney v. California) (Petitioner died after opinions were written but before they were released)
Supreme Court Ruling Case mooted due to Petitioner's death
IssueWhether Michigan's criminal syndicalism law that made it a crime to defend, advocate, or establish an organization committed to violent means of effecting government change violated the First Amendment.
Majority Opinion Sanford, J. (unpublished opinion)
Dissenting Opinion Brandeis, J. (joined by Holmes, J.) (unpublished opinion)
Lower Court Michigan Supreme Court
Lower Court Ruling First Amendment claim denied (see 201 N.W. 358 (Mich. 1924)
For Petitioner
Isaac E. Ferguson

For Respondent
C.L. Smith

"C.E. Ruthenberg, Head of Communists, Dead," Wash. Post, March 3, 1927, p. 8
"Communist is Guilty," Rothenberg Fails in Appeal," Los Angeles Times, December 11, 1924, p. 1
"Laws Aimed at Reds Attacked in Highest Court," Chicago Daily Tribune, April 30, 1926, p. 14
"Radicals' Release Ordered by Court," New York Times, April 20, 1922, p. 15
Bobertz, Bradley C., "The Brandeis Gambit: The Making of America's 'First Freedom,' 1903-1931," 40 William & Mary Law Review 557, 640-641 (1999)
Brandeis's dissent in Michigan v. Ruthenberg (circa 1927)

Collins, Ronald & Skover, David, "Curious Concurrence: Justice Brandeis's Vote in Whitney v. California," 2005 Supreme Court Review 333n(Ruthenberg dissent = appended to printed article)

Johnson, Oakley, C., THE DAY IS COMING: LIFE & WORK OF CHARLES RUTHENBERG, 1882-1927 (International Publishers, 1958)
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