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30 Seattle U. L. Rev. 65 (2006-2007)
Designating the Dangerous: From Blacklists to Watch Lists

handle is hein.journals/sealr30 and id is 73 raw text is: Designating the Dangerous:
From Blacklists to Watch Lists
Daniel J. Steinbockt
Ring Lardner, Jr. was one of the Hollywood Ten, a group of
screenwriters cited for contempt of Congress in 1947 for refusing to an-
swer the question: Are you now or have you ever been a member of the
Communist Party?' He eventually served nine months in federal prison
for contempt of Congress, but as soon as he refused to testify, he was
placed on a blacklist-the widespread refusal by film, radio, and televi-
sion producers to hire real or suspected Communists. Blacklisting, along
with the dismissals or denial of employment as a result of loyalty and
security investigations, truncated or distorted thousands of careers and
was an integral part of the late 1940s and 1950s period of national suspi-
cion that is now often referred to as the McCarthy era.,2 Lardner him-
self suffered professionally and financially for years, but he gradually
recovered his career, first by writing under pseudonyms, and then, fi-
nally, in his own right. His refusal to name names ultimately led to his
t Harold A. Anderson Professor of Law and Values, University of Toledo College of Law. B.A.,
J.D., Yale University. The author greatly appreciates the comments, and particularly the historical
perspective, of Rhoda Berkowitz and Joseph Slater and the contribution of David A. Harris. Travis
Shackelford and Dan Henry provided valuable research assistance. The financial support of the
Harold A. Anderson Professorship is gratefully acknowledged.
Careful readers may notice the difference in word formation for the two kinds of lists discussed in
this article: blacklists and watch lists. Over time, the name for the 1950s lists of suspected
Communists came to be expressed in one word. That has not (yet) happened for present day compi-
lations of suspected terrorists. A search of the Westlaw law journal database reveals that watch list
out-numbers watchlist by a ratio of over 10:1 in law journals. This Article follows the majority
practice for both terms, producing non-parallel usage.
2. The McCarthy era is named after Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin, who investigated
and claimed to find Communists in influential positions in American society.

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