Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
inre: "legislative purpose"
Watkins v. United States, 354 U.S. 178 (1957), The apple does not fall far from the tree.
The rudiments of the power to punish for "contempt of Congress" come to us from the pages of English history. The origin of privileges and contempts extends back into the period of the emergence of Parliament. The establishment of a legislative body which could challenge the absolute power of the monarch is a long and bitter story. In that struggle, Parliament made broad and varied use of the contempt power. Almost from the beginning, both the House of Commons and the House of Lords claimed absolute and plenary authority over their privileges. This was an independent body of law, described by Coke as lex parliamenti. [Footnote 9] Only Parliament could declare what those privileges were or what new privileges were occasioned, and only Parliament could judge what conduct constituted a breach of privilege.

In particular, this exclusion of lex parliamenti from the lex terrae, or law of the land, precluded judicial review of the exercise of the contempt power or the assertion of privilege. Parliament declared that no court had jurisdiction to consider such questions. In the latter part of the seventeenth century, an action for false imprisonment was brought by one Jay, who had been held in contempt. The defendant, the Serjeant-at-Arms of the House of Commons, demurred that he had taken the plaintiff into custody for breach of privilege. The Chief Justice, Pemberton, overruled the demurrer. Summoned to the bar of the House, the Chief Justice explained that he believed that the assertion of privilege went to the merits of the action, and did not preclude jurisdiction. For his audacity, the Chief Justice was dispatched to Newgate Prison. [Footnote 10]

It seems inevitable that the power claimed by Parliament would have been abused. Unquestionably it was. A few examples illustrate the way in which individual rights were infringed. During the seventeenth century, there was a violent upheaval, both religious and political. This was the time of the Reformation and the establishment of the Church of England. It was also the period when the Stuarts proclaimed that the royal prerogative was absolute. Ultimately there were two revolutions, one protracted and bloody, the second without bloodshed. Critical commentary of all kinds was treated as contempt of Parliament in these troubled days.
The history of contempt of the legislature in this country is notably different from that of England. In the early days of the United States, there lingered the direct knowledge of the evil effects of absolute power. Most of the instances of use of compulsory process by the first Congresses concerned matters affecting the qualification or integrity of their members or came about in inquiries dealing with suspected corruption or mismanagement of government officials. [Footnote 19] Unlike the English practice, from the very outset, the use of contempt power by the legislature was deemed subject to judicial review. [Footnote 20] ...

Weak legal case could still benefit Trump in Congress clash
Elaine Kamarck, a ["]scholar["] at the liberal Brookings Institution who worked in the Clinton White House, said the House subpoenas of Trump's banks and accountants are a world away from the McCarthy era's hunt for Communists.
List of members of the House Un-American Activities Committee, 75th-90th sessions

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat May 18th, 2019 at 01:33:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Judge OKs House Oversight! Subpoena of Trump Finances
In a 41-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta gave Trump's accounting firm Mazars USA seven days to release the records.
The opinion accepts Congress's investigatory power in pursuit of alleged frauds by DJT, personally, and in concert with the Trump Organization to acquire the Old Post Office lease and default on "liabilities" to M. Cohen, 2011 - present. How the fact instantiate violation of the emoluments clause (superficially cited) is incomprehensible to me at the moment. Hizzoner also liberally cites elements of Watkins to justify the "informing function" of Congress. This is a counter-intuitive application of the SCOTUS ruling, inter alia, but whatever.
Stormy Daniels Drops Defamation Lawsuit Against Michael Cohen

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue May 21st, 2019 at 01:04:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Thu May 23rd, 2019 at 01:47:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Occasional Series