The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia played a major role in the post-World War Two anti-Communist crusades. In perhaps its most notorious case, a panel upheld the contempt-of-Congress conviction of screenwriters Dalton Trumbo and John Howard Lawson, members of the "Hollywood Ten" who refused to answer questions in a 1947 hearing of the House Un-American Activities Committee. The opinion by Judge Bennett Champ Clark stated that "in the current ideological struggle between communist-thinking and democratic-thinking people of the world" the power of the motion picture industry to influence public opinion made it a legitimate target of congressional investigators seeking to discover if the authors of screenplays harbored Communist sympathies.

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