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McGrain v. Daugherty

Daugherty's Brother Is Called To Testify

Called before the Senate's investigating committee was Mally S. Daugherty, brother of the former attorney general. Daugherty refused to appear and was promptly placed under arrest by John J. McGrain, the sergeant-at-arms of the Senate. Daugherty successfully gained his release by demanding a writ of habeas corpus. In his petition, he argued that the Senate had exceeded its powers under the Constitution by compelling him to testify on a non-legislative matter. A lower court agreed, saying: "What the Senate is engaged in doing is not investigating the Attorney General's office; it is investigating the former Attorney General. What it has done is to put him on trial before it. In so doing it is exercising the judicial function. This it has no power to do." McGrain then appealed this decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court had to address the question of whether, since there is no express provision in the Constitution for congressional investigations, this power is implied as part of its legislative function.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1918 to 1940McGrain v. Daugherty - Teapot Dome, Daugherty's Brother Is Called To Testify, Mcgrain Prevails In High Court