Prelude to the Patriot Act

The New York Post, Thursday, December 28, 1954, page 18

Is Security Program Legal? Supreme Court Asked to Rule

Special to the' New.York Post

Washington. Dec. 28 - The important question, of whether the government's personnel security program violates a citizen's right to due process of law has been put up to the Supreme Court.

A high court decision was asked the question in a brief filed by the Engineers and Scientists of America, a federation of 13 labor organizations representing 40,000 professional and technical workers in many defense plants.

Acting as a friend of the court the organization presented a brief yesterday in the case of Dr. John Punnett Peters, senior professor of medicine at Yale University. The brief asks the court to uphold Peter's appeal of his, dismissal from the U. S. Public Health Service.

Peters contends he was fired because 'of "unsworn, second-hand statements to the FBI," and was not allowed. to cross-examine witnesses or rebut government informants.

Review Granted

The federation said that when an accused man cannot face his accusers he is deprived of the very guts of a fair hearing.

The Supreme Court has agreed to review Peters’ dismissal. Peters was dismissed in 1951 from his job as a special consultant to the Surgeon General after a loyalty board found "reasonable. doubt" as to his loyalty.

Attorneys for Peters have called his removal a "star chamber" proceeding that deprived him of due process of law as guaranteed in the 5th Amendment to the Constitution.

Peters was cleared by the Federal Security Agency after being questioned in 1949 about political associations and activities relating to his loyalty.

The case. was reopened in 1951 with 16 charges of questionable activity, including Communist Party membership.

Denied He Was Communist

Peters denied ever haying been Communist and swore he was completely loyal. At hearings in New Haven, Conn., there was no adverse testimony given against him. He was notified there was no doubt of his loyalty.

Eleven months later the Loyalty Review Board told him his case was up for review. He again avowed his loyalty and five persons testified for him. but the board found "reasonable doubt" and he was dismissed.

"Somewhere, some time, the line of due process application to the loyalty-security field must be held by the judiciary in preservation of the liberty of a free people," the federation's brief said. "The time is overdue; and the appropriate occasion is here."


Oct 17, 2002
how is one's political party relevant to the Surgeon General's office? Besides that being an era of witch hunting commies.


Oct 17, 2002
Not even close. I'm surprised you made such a comparison since you should clearly remember the 1950s.


Cranky Pants
Nov 10, 2004
LordOpie said:
Not even close. I'm surprised you made such a comparison since you should clearly remember the 1950s.
His memory was already going bad when the 50's rolled around.



What do I have to do to get you in this car TODAY?
Nov 15, 2002
Charlotte, NC
hmmmm.... reinstatement + back wages + interest + retirement costs. His family is probably going to make bank


unemployed bum
Oct 24, 2002
Watchin' you. Writing it all down.
What's funny is that while many of the specific charges were crap, Soviet archives have proven that the Federal Government during the 40's and 50's was compromised on many levels by Soviet spies.

But if you are going to point to that then you need to keep going back in US history. McCormick-Dickstein and Deis were the pre-cursors to HUAC. The pre-cursors go way back. The fact of the matter is that most countries have similar threads.