Herbert Fuchs was a former Communist who became a professor of law at the American University in Washington, D.C. in 1949. In the McCarthy Era in the United States, Fuchs initially declined to name names to the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC), but later relented providing names of other members of Communist cells from 1934-1946. American University President Hurst Robins Anderson initially defended Fuchs after he testified to the committee. Fuchs had fully disclosed to Anderson the extent of his activities at the time the story of his Communist Party membership broke. The university later fired him on the basis that Fuchs had withheld information regarding his Party activities, but could only vouch that the information had been withheld prior to Fuchs being outed for his membership. In the University community, there was a contingent that believed Anderson had reneged on his initial position when he fired Fuchs for failure to disclose his Communist Party Membership at the time of his hiring. The full story behind the university's firing of Mr. Fuchs remains arguable and unclear as Fuchs was cooperating with the Committee at the time he was fired. For some former students the firing put a regretable black eye on an institution otherwise known for progressive leadership in law and governance.
That Fuchs held influential government positions while a Party member was never in contention. Fuchs had worked on a Senate committee investigating railroads, the National Labor Relations Board, and the War Labor Board, heading a Communist cell in each instance. Fuchs was exonerated of any illegal activities with respect to his Party membership. Representative Gordon H. Scherer stated, "to start to fire men who cooperate with the committee can only... stop others from cooperating." HUAC Chairman Francis Walters later assisted Mr. Fuchs in obtaining a staff position with House Judiciary Committee chairman Emanuel Celler. Mr. Fuchs remained on the Judiciary Committee staff until his retirement.