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Gravel v. United States

Significance, Private Publication Not Protected, Impact


Frank Gravel, U.S. Senator


United States

Petitioner's Claim

That a senator's aide shares the protections guaranteeing the senator freedom of speech and debate.

Chief Lawyers for Petitioner

Robert J. Reinstein and Charles L. Fishman

Chief Lawyer for the Respondent

Erwin N. Griswold, U.S. Solicitor General

Justices for the Court

Harry A. Blackmun (announced the opinion), Warren E. Burger, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., William H. Rehnquist, Byron R. White (writing for the Court)

Justices Dissenting

William J. Brennan, Jr., William O. Douglas, Thurgood Marshall, Potter Stewart


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

29 June 1972


That the privileges of the Speech or Debate Clause do extend to congressional aides, but not to activity outside the legislative process.

Related Cases

  • United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683 (1974).
  • Eastland v. United States Servicemen's Fund, 421 U.S. 491 (1975).
  • Nixon v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 731 (1982).
  • Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S. 681 (1997).

Further Readings

  • Chandler, Ralph C. The Constitutional Law Dictionary. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, Inc., 1987.
  • Ducat, Craig R., and Harold W. Chase. Constitutional Interpretation. St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Company, 1988.
  • Encyclopedia of the American Constitution. New York, NY: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1986.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1963 to 1972