Sacher v. United States, No. 828

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM; BURTON; HARLAN; CLARK
PartiesHarry SACHER, Petitioner, v. UNITED STATES of America
Docket NumberNo. 828
Decision Date19 May 1958

356 U.S. 576
78 S.Ct. 842
2 L.Ed.2d 987
Harry SACHER, Petitioner,

v.

UNITED STATES of America.

No. 828.
May 19, 1958.

Messrs.

Hubert T. Delany, Frank J. Donner and Telford Taylor, for petitioner.

Solicitor General Rankin, Assistant Attorney General Tompkins, Mr. Philip R. Monahan and Doris H. Spangenburg, for the United States.

PER CURIAM.

The petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit's is granted. Charged in a three-count indictment for violation of R.S. § 102, as amended, 2 U.S.C. § 192, 2 U.S.C.A. § 192, for failure to answer three questions put to him by a subcommittee of the Internal Security Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, the petitioner, having waived

Page 577

trial by jury, was found guilty on all counts and sentenced to six months' imprisonment and to pay a fine of $1,000. After the sentence was sustained by the Court of Appeals, 99 U.S.App.D.C. 360, 240 F.2d 46, this Court, having granted a petition for certiorari, remanded the case, 354 U.S. 930, 77 S.Ct. 1396, 1 L.Ed.2d 1533, to the Court of Appeals for reconsideration in light of Watkins v. United States, 354 U.S. 178, 77 S.Ct. 1173, 1 L.Ed.2d 1273. On reargument before the Court of Appeals sitting en banc, a divided court again affirmed the conviction. 102 U.S.App.D.C. 264, 252 F.2d 828.

The broad scope of authority vested in Congress to conduct investigations as an incident to the 'legislative Powers' granted by the Constitution is not questioned. See Watkins v. United States, supra, 354 U.S. at page 215, 77 S.Ct. at page 1193. But when Congress seeks to enforce its investigating authority through the criminal process administered by the federal judiciary, the safeguards of criminal justice become operative. The subject matter of inquiry before the subcommittee at which petitioner appeared as a witness concerned the recantation of prior testimony by a witness named Matusow. In the course of the hearing, the questioning of petitioner entered upon a 'brief excursion,' 99 U.S.App.D.C. 360, 367, 240 F.2d 46, 53, into proposed legislation barring Communists from practice at the federal bar, a subject not within the subcommittee's scope of inquiry as authorized by its parent committee. Inasmuch as petitioner's refusal to answer related to questions not clearly pertinent to the subject on which the two-member subcommittee conducting the hearing had been authorized to take testimony, the conditions necessary to sustain a conviction for deliberately refusing to answer questions pertinent to the authorized subject matter of a congressional hearing are wanting. Watkins v. United States, supra. The judgment of the

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Court of Appeals is therefore reversed and the cause remanded to the District Court with directions to dismiss the indictment.

Reversed.

Mr. Justice BURTON took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.

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11 practice notes
  • Ashland Oil, Inc. v. FTC, Civ. No. 75-1956.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • 2 Febrero 1976
    ...supra, 360 U.S., at 117, 79 S.Ct. 1081; see also, United States v. Rumely, supra, 345 U.S., at 51, 73 S.Ct. 543; Sacher v. United States, 356 U.S. 576, 78 S.Ct. 842, 2 L.Ed.2d 987 (1958). And, in deciding the pertinency, the specific inquiries need only be reasonably related to the major su......
  • Exxon Corp. v. F. T. C., KERR-M
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 19 Diciembre 1978
    ...v. United States, 272 F.2d 653 (5th Cir. 1959); Sacher v. United States, 102 U.S.App.D.C. 264, 252 F.2d 828, Rev'd on other grounds, 356 U.S. 576, 78 S.Ct. 842, 2 L.Ed.2d 987 (1958). The material that the FTC proposed to divulge, then, was fully within the scope of the legislature's legitim......
  • Russell v. United States Shelton v. United States Whitman v. United States Liveright v. United States Price v. United States Gojack v. United States 8212 12, 128, Nos. 8
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 21 Mayo 1962
    ...296—297, 49 S.Ct. 268, 272—273, 73 L.Ed. 692; Watkins v. United States, supra, 354 U.S. at 208, 77 S.Ct. at 1189; Sacher v. United States, 356 U.S. 576, 577, 78 S.Ct. 842, 843, 2 L.Ed.2d 987; Flaxer v. United States, 358 U.S. 147, 151, 79 S.Ct. 191, 193, 3 L.Ed.2d 183; Deutch v. United Stat......
  • Deutch v. United States, No. 233
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 12 Junio 1961
    ...S.Ct. 567, 5 L.Ed.2d 633; Braden v. United States, 365 U.S. at pages 433, 435—436, 81 S.Ct. 584, 5 L.Ed.2d 653; Sacher v. United States, 356 U.S. 576, 577, 78 S.Ct. 842, 2 L.Ed.2d 987; Sinclair v. United States, 279 U.S. 263, 296—297, 49 S.Ct. 268, 73 L.Ed. 692. These two basically differen......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
9 cases
  • Ashland Oil, Inc. v. FTC, Civ. No. 75-1956.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • 2 Febrero 1976
    ...supra, 360 U.S., at 117, 79 S.Ct. 1081; see also, United States v. Rumely, supra, 345 U.S., at 51, 73 S.Ct. 543; Sacher v. United States, 356 U.S. 576, 78 S.Ct. 842, 2 L.Ed.2d 987 (1958). And, in deciding the pertinency, the specific inquiries need only be reasonably related to the major su......
  • Exxon Corp. v. F. T. C., KERR-M
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 19 Diciembre 1978
    ...v. United States, 272 F.2d 653 (5th Cir. 1959); Sacher v. United States, 102 U.S.App.D.C. 264, 252 F.2d 828, Rev'd on other grounds, 356 U.S. 576, 78 S.Ct. 842, 2 L.Ed.2d 987 (1958). The material that the FTC proposed to divulge, then, was fully within the scope of the legislature's legitim......
  • Russell v. United States Shelton v. United States Whitman v. United States Liveright v. United States Price v. United States Gojack v. United States 8212 12, 128, Nos. 8
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 21 Mayo 1962
    ...296—297, 49 S.Ct. 268, 272—273, 73 L.Ed. 692; Watkins v. United States, supra, 354 U.S. at 208, 77 S.Ct. at 1189; Sacher v. United States, 356 U.S. 576, 577, 78 S.Ct. 842, 843, 2 L.Ed.2d 987; Flaxer v. United States, 358 U.S. 147, 151, 79 S.Ct. 191, 193, 3 L.Ed.2d 183; Deutch v. United Stat......
  • Deutch v. United States, No. 233
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 12 Junio 1961
    ...S.Ct. 567, 5 L.Ed.2d 633; Braden v. United States, 365 U.S. at pages 433, 435—436, 81 S.Ct. 584, 5 L.Ed.2d 653; Sacher v. United States, 356 U.S. 576, 577, 78 S.Ct. 842, 2 L.Ed.2d 987; Sinclair v. United States, 279 U.S. 263, 296—297, 49 S.Ct. 268, 73 L.Ed. 692. These two basically differen......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2 books & journal articles
  • Supreme Court Behavior and Civil Rights
    • United States
    • Political Research Quarterly Nbr. 13-2, June 1960
    • 1 Junio 1960
    ...Rathbun v. U.S., 355 U.S. 107 (1957); Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41 (1957); Youngdahl v. Rainfair, 355 U.S. 131 (1957); Sacher v. U.S., 356 U.S. 576 Ashdown v. Utah, 357 U.S. 426 (1958); Knapp v. Schweitzer, 357 U.S. 371 (1958);N.A.A.C.P. v. Patterson, 357 U.S. 449 (1958); Lerner v. Casey, ......
  • The South Counterattacks: the Anti-Naacp Laws
    • United States
    • Political Research Quarterly Nbr. 12-2, June 1959
    • 1 Junio 1959
    ...supra note 37; Watkins v. United States, 354 U.S. 178 (1957); Sweezy v. New Hampshire, 354 U.S. 234 (1957); Sacher v. United States, 356 U.S. 576 (1958). The Fifth Amendment could be of little value before state investigatory First, a corporation as such may not claim the privilege against ......

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