Other Free Encyclopedias » Law Library - American Law and Legal Information » Notable Trials and Court Cases - 1833 to 1882

Kilbourn v. Thompson - Significance, An Uncooperative Witness, Preserving The Separation Of Powers, Congressional Immunity, Samuel R. Lowery, African American Lawyer

called plaintiff john chief

Plaintiff

Hallett Kilbourn

Defendant

John G. Thompson, Michael C. Kerr, John M. Glover, Jeptha D. New, Burwell P. Lewis, A. Herr Smith

Plaintiff's Claim

Kilbourn objected to the fact that he had been called before a committee of Congress, and, refusing to answer questions, had been jailed for contempt of Congress. He brought suit against Thompson, the sergeant-at-arms, as well as against the five members of the congressional committee that had called him.

Chief Lawyers for Plaintiff

Charles A. Eldredge, Enoch Totten, Noah L. Jeffries

Chief Defense Lawyers

Walter H. Smith, Frank H. Hurd

Justices for the Court

Salmon Portland Chase, Nathan Clifford, Stephen Johnson Field, John Marshall Harlan I, Ward Hunt, Stanley Matthews, Samuel Freeman Miller (writing for the Court), Morrison Remick Waite, William Burnham Woods

Justices Dissenting

None

Place

Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

28 February 1881

Decision

That Congress had exceeded its powers in subpoenaing and imprisoning Kilbourn, because the congressional investigation for which he had been called did not actually concern legislation; however, because of congressional immunity, only Thompson could be punished for the improper action.

Related Cases

  • Calder v. Bull, 3 U.S. 386 (1798).
  • Ex parte Milligan, 71 U.S. 2 (1866).
  • Loan Association v. Topeka, 87 U.S. 655 (1875).
  • United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542 (1876).

Sources

http://www.tnstate.edu/library/digital/lowery.htm

Luther v. Borden - Significance, Insurrection In Providence, Which Was The Rightful Government?, Political Vs. Natural Rights [next] [back] Kentucky v. Dennison - Significance, Who Decides?, A Slave Girl And The Man Who Helped Her, On The Eve Of The Civil War

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or