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Response to bluestarone (Original post)

Wed Nov 25, 2020, 07:01 PM

1. 'Based on precedent, statutes, and court rulings, the House and the Senate each have the power

to invoke three types of contempt proceedings if a committee believes someone is obstructing its investigative powers.

The Congressional Research Service described each of these powers in a detailed March 2019 report. The first type of contempt power is a citation of criminal contempt of Congress. This power comes from a statute passed by Congress in 1857. Once a committee rules that an act of criminal contempt has occurred, the Speaker of the House or Senate President refers the matter to the appropriate U.S. attorney’s office, “whose duty it shall be to bring the matter before the grand jury for its action.” However, the Executive Branch in prior situations has claimed that it has the discretion to decide if a grand jury should be convened to hear the charges. But if the case goes to a grand jury, fines and a jail term could result from the ensuing criminal prosecution.

The second type of contempt power comes in the form of a civil lawsuit brought by the House or Senate, asking a court to enforce a subpoena. The Senate and its committees are authorized to bring such a lawsuit under a federal statute. There is no similar statute that applies in the House, but the federal district court in Washington, D.C. has decided that the House can nevertheless authorize its committees to bring a similar civil suit for enforcement of a subpoena. In either case, an executive branch member can contest the subpoena “based on a governmental privilege or objection the assertion of which has been authorized by the executive branch of the Federal Government,” the CRS said.

The third type of contempt power—Congress’s dormant inherent contempt power—is rarely used in modern times. Inherent contempt was the mode employed by Congress to directly enforce contempt rulings under its own constitutional authority until criminal and civil contempt statutes were passed, and it remained in use into the twentieth century. Under inherent contempt proceedings, the House or Senate has its Sergeant-At-Arms, or deputy, take a person into custody for proceedings to be held in Congress.

Although these powers are not directly stated in the Constitution, the Supreme Court has ruled on multiple occasions that they are implicit as an essential legislative power held by Congress.'>>>


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bluestarone Nov 2020 OP
LineNew Reply 'Based on precedent, statutes, and court rulings, the House and the Senate each have the power
elleng Nov 2020 #1
Karadeniz Nov 2020 #2
bluestarone Nov 2020 #3
elleng Nov 2020 #4
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