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The purpose of the questions asked petitioner was to ascertain whether 14 persons previously identified as Communists or members of Communist front or affiliated organizations were members of the Miami Branch of the Association. When, as in this case, the claim is made that a legislative investigation intrudes upon First and Fourteenth Amendment associational rights of individuals, the State must show convincingly a substantial relation between the information sought and a subject of overriding and compelling state interest. The principal evidence relied upon to show any relationship between the Association and subversive or Communist activities was indirect, ambiguous, and mostly hearsay testimony by two witnesses that, in years past, those 14 persons had attended occasional meetings of the Miami Branch of the Association "and/or" were members of that Branch, which had about 1,000 members. The First and Fourteenth Amendment rights of free speech and free association are fundamental and highly prized, and "need breathing space to survive." NAACP v.

to conduct investigations is inherent in the legislative process. It encompasses inquiries concerning the administration of existing laws as well as proposed or possibly needed statutes. The fact that the general scope of the inquiry is authorized and permissible does not compel the conclusion that the investigatory body is free to inquire into or demand all forms of information.

It is no less obvious, however, that the legislative power to investigate, broad as it may be, is not without limit.

Inviolability of privacy in group association may in many circumstances be indispensable to preservation of freedom of association, particularly where a group espouses dissident beliefs." So it is here.

It includes surveys of defects in our social, economic or political system for the purpose of enabling the Congress to remedy them." 354 U. And, more recently, it was declared that "The scope of the power of inquiry, in short, is as penetrating and far-reaching as the potential power to enact and appropriate under the Constitution." Barenblatt v. Validation of the broad subject matter under investigation does not necessarily carry with it automatic and wholesale validation of all individual questions, subpoenas, and documentary demands.

As declared by the respondent Committee in its brief to this Court, "Basically, this case hinges entirely on the question of whether the evidence before the Committee [was] .

When, as in this case, the claim is made that particular legislative inquiries and demands infringe substantially upon First and Fourteenth Amendment associational rights of individuals, the courts are called upon to, and must, determine the permissibility of the challenged actions, Watkins v. S., at 198 -199; "[T]he delicate and difficult task falls upon the courts to weigh the circumstances and to appraise the substantiality of the reasons advanced in support of the regulation of the free enjoyment of the rights," Schneider v. Significantly, the parties are in substantial agreement as to the proper test to be applied to reconcile the competing claims of government and individual and to determine the propriety of the Committee's demands. sufficient to show probable cause or nexus between the N.

Freedom and viable government are both, for this purpose, indivisible concepts; whatever affects the rights of the parties here, affects all.

The interests here at stake are of significant magnitude, and neither their resolution nor impact is limited to, or dependent upon, the particular parties here involved.

This Court has recognized the vital relationship between freedom to associate and privacy in one's associations. As this Court said in considering the propriety of the congressional inquiry challenged in Watkins v.

At the same time, however, this Court's prior holdings demonstrate that there can be no question that the State has power adequately to inform itself - through legislative investigation, if it so desires - in order to act and protect its legitimate and vital interests.

Upon being called to the stand, the petitioner admitted that he was custodian of his organization's membership records and testified that the local group had about 1,000 members, that individual membership was renewed annually, and that the only membership lists maintained were those for the then current year.

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