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Response to Atticus (Original post)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 05:46 AM

49. There has been some guidance on exercise of inherent contempt

Courts have ruled a number of times on the exercise of congressional inherent contempt powers. These opinions have been either directly on point or sufficiently related to provide useful indications of the positions the court might take. Further the historical practices and procedures of Congress are also useful in defining required process.

The Congressional Research Service has written a paper discussion of the exercise of the enforcement of Congressional contempt citations. In part, regarding due process requirements, the paper reads as follows:

“Congressional precedent would also appear to be a useful guide to the question of what process is due. A review of early exercises of inherent contempt, discussed above, indicates that the following procedures have been established: attachment by the Sergeant-at-Arms; appearance before the bar; provision for specification of charges; identification of the accuser; compulsory process; provision of counsel; a hearing; determination of guilt; and imposition of a penalty. According to one commentator, “[t]his traditional procedure was followed by both houses of Congress until they abandoned it for a more convenient statutory device.”121 Since these procedures appear to be in excess of what the Court instructed was required in Groppi, it would seem reasonable to conclude that any inherent contempt proceeding that conforms with these traditions would likely satisfy judicial review.”

“Congress’s Contempt Power and the Enforcement of Congressional Subpoenas: Law, History, Practice, and Procedure” Congressional Research Service, page 21, 2017

More modern practice has permitted the use of a select committee established to take testimony of witnesses and the accused and provide a written transcript to the House for consideration by the members before a vote is taken to determine guilt and sanction to be imposed. This is the same process utilized by the Senate for its more recent impeachment trials. Taking and receiving of testimony and evidence in this manner allows the House or Senate to continue its legislative agenda during the trial.

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Atticus Oct 2019 OP
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