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Laird v. Tatum

408 U.S. 1 (1972)

Prior to its being called upon in 1967 to assist local authorities in quelling civil disorders in Detroit, Michigan, the Department of the Army had developed only a general contingency plan in connection with its limited domestic mission under 10 U. S. C. 331. In response to the Army's experience in the various civil disorders it was called upon to help control during 1967 and 1968, Army Intelligence established a data-gathering system, which respondents describe as involving the "surveillance of lawful civilian political activity." Held: Respondents' claim that their First Amendment rights are "chilled", due to the mere existence of this data-gathering system, does not constitute a justiciable controversy on the basis of the record in this case, disclosing as it does no showing of objective harm or threat of specific future harm. Pp. 3-16.