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BLAU V. UNITED STATES, 340 U. S. 159 (1950)

U.S. Supreme Court

Blau v. United States, 340 U.S. 159 (1950)

Blau v. United States

No. 22

Argued November 7, 1950

Decided December 11, 1950

340 U.S. 159


1. It is a violation of the Fifth Amendment to compel a witness who objects on the ground of self-incrimination to testify before a grand jury in response to questions concerning his employment by the Communist Party or intimate knowledge of its operations when there is in effect a statute such as the Smith Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2385, making it a crime to advocate, or to affiliate with a group which advocates, overthrow of the Government by force. Pp. 340 U. S. 159-161 .

2. It is immaterial whether answers to the questions asked would have been sufficient, standing alone, to support a conviction when they would have furnished a link in the chain of evidence needed in a prosecution of the witness for violation of (or conspiracy to violate) the Smith Act. P. 340 U. S. 161.

180 F.2d 103, reversed.

Petitioner was adjudged guilty of contempt of court for refusing, on the ground of possible self-incrimination, to answer certain questions before a federal grand jury and later before a federal district court. The Court of Appeals affirmed. 180 F.2d 103. This Court granted certiorari. 339 U.S. 956. Reversed, p. 340 U. S. 161.

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