National Emergency Civil Liberties Committee
The National Emergency Civil Liberties Committee was an organization formed in 1951 to "to reestablish the freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and The Bill of Rights", and was called the Emergency Civil Liberties Committee until 1968. They became known for defending the rights of citizens blacklisted by the House Un-American Activities Committee, including political activists (some Communist) whom the ACLU and other civil rights groups refused to or did not defend. Their first "landmark case" was Kent v. Dulles, in which the court ruled that the right to travel may not be restricted without due process. Another case was handled by Clark Foreman in testimony before the house un-American activities committee in June of 1956. In this testimony, he was interrogated about Paul Robeson who he defended to obtain a passport which the State Department denied him since he was an accused communist. In this testimony, Clark Foreman also admitted to knowing Alger Hiss, a controversial accused communist. Clark Foreman served as director of National Emergency Civil Liberties Committee beginning in December of 1951.
After the McCarthy era, the organization won a number of high-profile civil rights cases. In Peck v. State of Alabama and the FBI, NECLC sued the FBI for damages on behalf of James Peck, a young Freedom Rider who had been beaten into unconsciousness by the Ku Klux Klan in Birmingham, Alabama in 1961. In an unprecedented decision, the court ruled against the FBI that the government has the common law duty to protect citizens when it has notice of impending violence. In Farmworkers v. A&P (1974), the NECLC successfully defended the right of the United Farm Workers to boycott The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company for selling non-union grapes and lettuce.
In the 1980s, the NECLC successfully represented a Pennsylvania child welfare worker who had exposed the illegal practices of his employers (Prochaska v. Pediaczko, 1981), and worked for ten years to obtain a visa for the wife of assassinated Chilean president Salvador Allende (Allende v. Secretary of State, 1987).
In 1998 the NECLC was merged into the Center for Constitutional Rights.
- Corliss Lamont - notable former Chairman
- Michael Stern (December 22, 1968). "Civil-Liberties Units Expanding; Top Organizations to Broaden Scope of Activities". New York Times. p. 52.
- , HOUSE OE REPRESENTATIVES EIGHTY-FOURTH CONGRESS SECOND SESSION JUNE 12 AND 13, 1956 pp 4510-4533.