Article Title

Freedom of Association


To determine whether a limitation upon freedom of association by a state is constitutionally justified, the Court must balance the interests of those individuals whose rights have been restricted against the interests of the state involved. Constitutional freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment may be restricted only when the state has a compelling interest. A state may take action in the interest of public safety, health, or welfare to prevent abuse of the exercise of these freedoms, but it may not curtail the rights themselves. Only the public interest or a clear and present danger would justify restriction of First Amendment freedoms. Confronted with the desirability of suppressing an organization, a governmental group may use one or more of the following approaches: (1) enforce criminal laws; (2) apply administrative and regulatory powers; (3) bring the pressure of public opinion against the group and its members.