Jurney v. MacCracken

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Jurney v. MacCracken
Seal of the United States Supreme Court
Argued January 7-8, 1935
Decided February 4, 1935
Full case nameJurney v. MacCracken
Citations294 U.S. 125 (more)
55 S. Ct. 375; 79 L. Ed. 802; 1935 U.S. LEXIS 42
Case history
PriorJudgment for defendants, 63 App. D.C. 342; 72 F. (2d) 560; cert. granted, 293 U.S. 543
The Congress has the implicit power to find a person in contempt.
Court membership
Chief Justice
Charles E. Hughes
Associate Justices
Willis Van Devanter · James C. McReynolds
Louis Brandeis · George Sutherland
Pierce Butler · Harlan F. Stone
Owen Roberts · Benjamin N. Cardozo
Case opinion
MajorityBrandeis, joined by Hughes, Van Devanter, Sutherland, Butler, Stone, Roberts, Cardozo
McReynolds took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

Jurney v. MacCracken, 294 U.S. 125 (1935), was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that Congress has an implicit power to find one in contempt of Congress.[1] During a Senate investigation of airlines and of the U.S. Postmaster General, the attorney William P. MacCracken, Jr. allowed his clients to destroy subpoenaed documents. After a one-week trial on the Senate floor (presided over by the Vice-President of the United States, acting as Senate President), MacCracken, a lawyer and former Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Aeronautics, was found guilty and sentenced to 10 days imprisonment.[2] MacCracken filed a petition of habeas corpus with the federal courts to overturn his arrest, but, after litigation, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Congress had acted constitutionally, and denied the petition.[1]

The respondent, Chesley W. Jurney, was the Sergeant at Arms of the Senate, and hence the person with custody of MacCracken.


  1. ^ a b Jurney v. MacCracken, 294 U.S. 125 (1935).
  2. ^ William P. Mac Cracken, Jr. Papers Archived 2008-04-21 at the Wayback Machine

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