This article briefs the legal history and significance of the Supreme Court case Dennis v. United States, 341 U.S. 494 (1951). In Dennis, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of a federal criminal statute, officially known as the Alien Registration Act of 1940, but more commonly referred to as the Smith Act, after its sponsor, Representative Howard Smith (D. Va.). The Smith Act made it a crime to teach and advocate the violent overthrow of the government or to set up an organization that engaged in such teaching and advocacy. In other words, it criminalized a certain kind of expression.
Michal R. Belknap, Why Dennis?, 96 MARQ. L. REV. 1013 (2013).