It is time to review the infamous Internal Security Act of 1950, 64 Stat. 993, It was
also known as the Subversive Activities Control Act or the McCarran Act, after Senator Pat McCarran (D-Nevada), is a United States federal law of the McCarthy era. It was passed over President Harry Truman's veto. The anti-communist fervor was bi-partisan and only ten Democratic senators voted to uphold the veto.One of the supporters of the act was Senator Hubert H. Humphrey.
Humphrey's record on the cold war at home was even more complex. He had voted for the McCarran Internal Security Act of 1950 and had introduced the Communist Control Act of 1954, both of which severely repressed those identified as American Communists. Humphrey later regretted his participation in the latter act and called for its repeal. Yet, at the time, he was silent regarding the actions of Senator Joseph McCarthy, even though he did deplore the "psychosis of fear" and "this madness of know-nothingness." In the 1950s Humphrey supported the generally held view that agents of foreign governments committed to the overthrow of the U.S. government were not entitled to civil liberties. Yet, this stance could also be explained as a cynical attempt to save the Democrats from the "soft on communism" label, especially during the election year of 1954, the apogee of McCarthyism.For more on these skeletons from our past, read on below.
Here's more from the Wikipedia article"
Detail of ActSo we have been there and done that in another context. Notice the "emergency detention" provision. Sound familiar? Actually the idea was to put us in some of the same "concentration camps" that the Japanese Americans were put in during WWII. Other camps were used for people convicted of draft violations during the Vietnam War.
Its Title II was the Emergency Detention Act.
It required Communist organizations to register with the United States Attorney General and established the Subversive Activities Control Board to investigate persons suspected of engaging in subversive activities or otherwise promoting the establishment of a "totalitarian dictatorship," fascist or communist. Members of these groups could not become citizens and in some cases were prevented from entering or leaving the country. Citizens found in violation could lose their citizenship in five years. The act also contained an Emergency Detention statute, giving the President the authority to apprehend and detain “each person as to whom there is a reasonable ground to believe that such person probably will engage in, or probably will conspire with others to engage in, acts of espionage or sabotage.”
A key institution in the era of the Cold War, it tightened alien exclusion and deportation laws and allowed for the detention of dangerous, disloyal, or subversive persons in times of war or "internal security emergency". The Democratic-controlled Congress overrode President Harry S. Truman's veto to pass it.
President Truman called it "the greatest danger to freedom of speech, press, and assembly since the Alien and Sedition Laws of 1798," a "mockery of the Bill of Rights" and a "long step toward totalitarianism".
As far as I know every provision of this many faceted act was tested in the courts and found unconstitutional except the detention provision. It was neither used nor challenged.
While I was head of an umbrella anti-war/civil rights coalition in the City of Buffalo, N.Y, a very skilled machinist named "Tony" was denied work in defense plants under the act. He was an open member of the Communist Party USA. Then act or no act they got desperate for skilled machinists and they hired Tony anyway. So it goes. Yes we have had the capacity to detain American Citizens without any kind of due process and yes democrats were mostly all for it.