McGrain v. Daugherty

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
McGrain v. Daugherty
Seal of the United States Supreme Court
Argued December 5, 1924
Decided January 17, 1927
Full case nameMcGrain v. Daugherty
Citations273 U.S. 135 (more)
47 S. Ct. 319; 71 L. Ed. 580; 1927 U.S. LEXIS 985
The Constitution grants Congress auxiliary powers to carry out its duties. As congressional investigations have a legislative purpose, Congress has the power to make inquiries and to compel information when it is necessary and proper to execute Congress' authority under the Constitution.
Court membership
Chief Justice
William H. Taft
Associate Justices
Oliver W. Holmes Jr. · Willis Van Devanter
James C. McReynolds · Louis Brandeis
George Sutherland · Pierce Butler
Edward T. Sanford · Harlan F. Stone
Case opinion
MajorityVan Devanter, joined by Taft, Holmes, McReynolds, Brandeis, Sutherland, Butler, Sanford
Stone took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.
Laws applied
U.S. Const. art. I

McGrain v. Daugherty, 273 U.S. 135 (1927), was a case heard before the Supreme Court, decided January 17, 1927. It was a challenge to Mally Daugherty's contempt conviction, which he received when he failed to appear before a Senate committee investigating Attorney General Harry Daugherty's failure to investigate the perpetrators of the Teapot Dome Scandal. The Court upheld his conviction.[1]

In the case, the Supreme Court held for the first time that under the Constitution, Congress has the power to compel witness and testimony.[1]


Investigations in 1922 for the Teapot Dome scandal began in the Department of the Interior, but when questions regarding the Justice Department were raised Congress took control and led further investigation. Implications that Harry M. Daugherty was involved were raised due to his lack of involvement in investigation. Mally S. Daugherty, brother to Harry, was called into question and asked to produce related documents by a Senate committee. Upon Harry's resignation and increased suspicion resulting, Mally was arrested. At this point Mally challenged the committee's authority to act and arrest a civilian in order to acquire evidence.[2]


  1. ^ a b "McGrain v. Daugherty". Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  2. ^ Walker and Epstein, Lee and Thomas G. (2011). Institutional Powers and Constraints. Washington DC: CQ Press. p. 153. ISBN 9781604265163.

External links[edit]