Compelling the Testimony of Political Deviants

Besides the two specific problems which the new federal act presents, namely, whether it imposes nonjudicial functions on federal courts, and whether it should, does and can protect against the substantial danger of state prosecution, there is a general objection that one can raise against it, and to other acts of the same type: they relate to the area of belief and opinion, the very area which was involved when the English people, spearheaded by the Puritans, engaged in the struggle with the Crown that finally resulted in the establishment of a right of silence. At least if we are to have immunity acts, let us confine them to the area in which most of them have operated in the past, the area of economic regulation.

Immunity acts have a long history. They go back almost to the time of the establishment of the privilege. However, they have rarely been applied to the field of dogma.