PENNSYLVANIA v. NELSON

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
10
Petitioner 
Pennsylvania
Respondent 
Nelson
Advocates
(By special leave of the Court, argued the cause for the United States, as amicus curiae, urging reversal )
(Argued the cause for the respondent)
(Argued the cause for the petitioner)
(Argued the cause for the petitioner)
(As amicus curiae, urging reversal)
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Facts of the Case 

Nelson, a member of the Communist Party, was convicted of violating the Pennsylvania Sedition Act. This Act was implemented prior to Congress's adoption of the Smith Act of 1940 (amended in 1948) which prohibited the same conduct as Pennsylvania's law.

Question 

Did the Smith Act supersede enforcement of Pennsylvania's sedition law?

Conclusion 
Decision: 6 votes for Nelson, 3 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Smith, Subversive Activities Control, Communist Control, or other similar federal legislation except the Internal Security Act (qv.)

Yes. The Court held that Pennsylvania's law was unenforceable and was superseded by the federal act. Chief Justice Warren argued that the scheme of federal regulation of seditious activities was "pervasive" and "left no room for the states to supplement it." Furthermore, the federal act dealt with an issue of primary importance to the national government which made any enforcement of similar state laws potentially harmful to the smooth execution of national statutes.

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PENNSYLVANIA v. NELSON. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 17 November 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1950-1959/1955/1955_10>.
PENNSYLVANIA v. NELSON, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1950-1959/1955/1955_10 (last visited November 17, 2014).
"PENNSYLVANIA v. NELSON," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed November 17, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1950-1959/1955/1955_10.