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The Use of Select Committees in Impeachment Proceedings

The National Legal Foundation has discovered twenty-five cases in which Select Committees (or Special Committees) have been used in impeachment investigations or were proposed to be used. This list is believed to be exhaustive. However, it is very difficult to be certain that this is the case in any research related to impeachment. Nonetheless, these twenty-five cases serve to illustrate general categories of uses of Select Committees in impeachment investigations.

The first major distinction that must be noted is that some resolutions specifically called for the formation of a Select Committee to perform certain functions, while other resolutions did not mention a Select Committee but were nonetheless referred to a Select Committee. In some cases, the Members were chosen from the House at large. In other cases, the Members were chosen only from the Judiciary Committee. This latter practice was sometimes referred to as a Select Committee and sometimes as a Select Subcommittee. Under either name, the Judiciary Committee did not control the selection of the Committee Members, although the Committee sometimes reported to the Judiciary Committee.

The major uses of Select Committees have been (1) to investigate and draft articles of impeachment, (2) to investigate only, and (3) to draft articles only. Below are the details of each use or proposed use of Select Committees.

It is beyond the scope of this Background Briefing to detail the House Rules as they existed on each occasion in which the House has used a Select Committee in an impeachment inquiry. It is clear that the current Rules must be the measuring rod against which historic practice is gauged. However, it is noteworthy that (as is shown by the individual occasions listed below) even after the formation of the Rules Committee and the Judiciary Committee, Select Committees continue to be used in impeachment proceedings.

The Rules Committee itself existed as a Select Committee from 1789 until 1880 when it became a standing committee. House Rules Manual, 411 (annotation). Its current areas of jurisdiction became effective as part of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946. Id. Its primary jurisdiction as it relates to impeachment is its jurisdiction to direct other committees to make investigations. Id. However, since 1975, all committees have authority to investigate without Rules Committee authorization. Id. There are two implications of this authority. First, the Rules Committee may itself investigate impeachment issues in order to determine whether a more thorough investigation is warranted by another committee or whether a direct impeachment proceeding should begin. Second, any committee that might have jurisdiction of any matter that could amount to an impeachable offense may conduct an investigation without waiting for authorization from the Rules Committee.

The Judiciary Committee was created in 1813 and its present jurisdiction is also derived from the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946. Id. at 402 (annotation). Its jurisdiction, as it relates to impeachment, is derived from its enumerated area of jurisdiction 14, “Presidential Succession.” Id.

Under current House Rules, the Government Reform and Oversight Committee may also become involved in impeachment proceedings by beginning an investigation at any time it chooses, even without acting on a resolution:

The Committee on Government Reform and Oversight may at any time conduct investigations of any matter without regard to the provisions of clause 1, 2, or 3 (or this clause) conferring jurisdiction over such matter upon another standing committee. The committee’s findings and recommendations in any such investigation shall be made available to the other standing committee or committees having jurisdiction over the matter involved….
Id. at 436-37.

Finally, Rule X, Clause 6, provides for Select Committees. Id. at 464-73. The clause states in relevant part:

The Speaker shall appoint all select and conference committees which shall be ordered by the House from time to time. At any time after an original appointment, the Speaker may remove Members or appoint additional Members to select and conference committees.
Id. at 470.

Unlike Conference Committees, there are no requirements concerning selection of the members of a Select Committee. Id. at 470-71. However, should a Member change party affiliation, he shall be removed from the Select Committee. Id. at 472.

Investigations of Legislative Branch Officials

William Blount, Senator

On July 3, 1797, President John Adams sent a confidential communication to the House detailing purported misconduct by Senator Blount. The message and papers were referred to a five-member Select Committee:

  • Samuel Sitgreaves (PA), Federalist
  • Abraham Baldwin (GA), Federalist
  • Samuel W. Dana (CT), None
  • John Dawson (VA), Democratic Republican
  • William Hindman (MD), None

Action Taken: Select Committee recommends Senator Blount be impeached, and an impeachment resolution was introduced and then adopted on July 7, 1797. Id. at 448, 459.

Purpose: Examine material presented by President Adams and report its recommendations to the House. 1 Annals of Cong. 440-41 (Joseph Gales ed., 1797).

On July 8, 1797, another five-member Select Committee was appointed to draft the articles of impeachment:

  • Samuel Sitgreaves (PA), Federalist
  • Abraham Baldwin (GA), Federalist
  • Samuel W. Dana (CT), None
  • John Dawsonm (VA), Democratic Republican
  • Robert G. Harper (MD), None

Purpose: Prepare and report articles of impeachment against Senator Blount; also given the power to send for persons, papers, and records. Id. at 463-64.

Action Taken: On December 4, 1797, this Select Committee reported its findings to the House. Id. at 672. Then, on January 25, 1798, it submitted five articles of impeachment against William Blount. Id. at 919.

Composition of the House: The above Select Committees were appointed in the 5th Congress, which, on its first day, had the following composition in the House: 58 Federalists, 48 Democratic Republicans.

Investigations of Executive Branch Officials

Andrew Johnson, President

On February 21, 1868, Mr. Covode introduced an impeachment resolution against President Johnson. This resolution was referred to the Committee on Reconstruction. Cong. Globe, 40th Cong., 2nd Sess. 1329-30 (1868). The Committee submitted its report recommending impeachment to the House on February 22, 1868. Id. at 1336. The House debated and finally adopted the impeachment resolution on February 24, 1868. Id. at 1336-69, 1382-1400.

A seven-member Special Committee was appointed to draft the articles of impeachment:

  • George S. Boutwell (MA), Republican
  • Thaddeus Stevens (PA), Republican
  • John A. Bingham (OH), Republican
  • James F. Wilson (IA), Republican
  • John A. Logan (IL), Republican
  • George W. Julian (IN), Republican
  • Hamilton Ward (NY), Republican

Action Taken: Ten articles were reported by the Special Committee on February 29, 1868, and nine were adopted by the House on March 2, 1868. Id. at 1542-43, 1616-18.

Purpose: Prepare and report articles of impeachment against President Johnson; also given power to send for persons, papers, and records, and to take testimony under oath. Id. at 1401.

Composition of the House: The above Special Committee was appointed in the 40th Congress, which, on its first day, had the following composition in the House: 143 Republicans, 49 Democrats

H. Snowden Marshall, U.S. District Attorney, Southern District of New York

On December 14, 1915, Mr. Buchanan offered impeachment charges against Marshall. The charges were referred to the Judiciary Committee. 53 Cong. Rec. 240 (1915). The Judiciary Committee reported its findings to the House on April 5, 1916. H.R. Rep. No. 64-494 (1916). They recommended a Select Committee of five be appointed by the Speaker to further investigate Marshall.

A resolution, H.R. Res. 193, adopting the Judiciary Committee’s recommendation, passed, and a five-member Select Committee was appointed by the Speaker:

  • John A. Moon (TN), Democrat
  • John N. Garner (TX), Democrat
  • Charles R. Crisp (GA), Democrat
  • John A. Sterling (IL), Republican
  • Irvine L. Lenroot (WI), Republican

Purpose: Conduct an investigation of Judge Marshall and report the facts in the case to the House; also given the power to send for persons and papers. Id. at 5540-41.

Action Taken: The Select Committee report, h.r. rep. no 64-544, was read into the record on April 14, 1916. Id. at 6135. The report found Marshall guilty of a breach of the privileges of, and in contempt of the House of Representatives and recommended he be brought to the bar of the House to answer the charges. Id. at 6141.

Composition of the House: The above Select Committee was appointed in the 64th Congress, which, on its first day, had the following composition in the House: 230 Democrats, 196 Republicans, 9 Others

Harry M. Daugherty, Attorney General

A Judiciary report, which found insufficient evidence to impeach Judge Daugherty, was submitted to the House and referred to the House calendar on January 10, 1923. 64 Cong. Rec. 1536 (1923). On January 25, 1923, the Judiciary Committee report was debated and a resolution discharging the committee from further consideration of the matter was proposed. Id. at 2410-52.

Mr. Thomas offered an amendment to the resolution that would have forced another investigation by a Select Committee appointed by the Speaker of the House. Id. at 2415. Mr. Thomas’s amendment failed and no Select Committee was appointed. The resolution discharging the Judiciary Committee from further action was adopted. Id. at 2450-52.

Spiro Agnew, Vice President

On September 25, 1973, in a letter to the House of Representatives, Spiro Agnew requested an official investigation into the charges made against him during an investigation by the United States Attorney for the District of Maryland. 119 Cong. Rec. 31,368 (1973).

On September 26, 1973, the House took up debate on Vice President Agnew’s request. Id. at 31,453, 31,478, 31,480, 31,490, 31,492, 31,503. Mr. Findley offered a resolution, H.R. Res. 569, appointing a Select Committee to investigate the Vice President. The resolution was referred to the Rules Committee. Id. at 31,506. However, no action on the resolution was ever taken, and no Select Committee was ever appointed.

Richard Nixon, President

On October 23, 1973, there was a landslide of resolutions calling for either the impeachment of, or the investigation of impeachment charges against President Nixon. 119 Cong. Rec. 34,873 (1973). One of these resolutions, H.R. Res. 646 , was introduced by Mr. Sisk, and called for the creation of a Special Committee to consider an impeachment resolution against the President. Then, on October 30, 1973, another resolution, H.R. Res. 671, calling for the creation of a Select Committee, was introduced by Mr. Dingell. Id. at 35,483.

Both of the above resolutions were referred to the Rules Committee. No further action regarding these resolutions was recorded. No Select Committee was ever formed.

Investigations of Judicial Branch Officials

George Turner, Territorial Judge, Northwest Territory

On May 10, 1796, the House received a report from the Attorney General on the conduct of Judge Turner. The report was referred to a Select Committee of unknown number for further action. Only one member’s name is recorded in the committee reports and Congressional Record:

  • Theophilus Bradbury (MA), Federalist

Purpose: Investigate the accusations against Judge Turner found in the Attorney General’s report. 5 Annals of Cong. 1338 (1796).

Action Taken: On February 27, 1797, Mr. Bradbury submitted the Select Committee report to the House recommending a hearing be held in the Northwest Territory. 6 Annals of Cong. 2320 (1797).

Composition of the House: The above Select Committee was appointed in the 4th Congress, which, on its first day, had the following composition in the House: 54 Federalists, 52 Democratic Republicans

John Pickering, U.S. District Judge, District of New Hampshire

On February 4, 1803, the House received a report from President Jefferson regarding the conduct of Judge Pickering. A five-member Select Committee was appointed to investigate Judge Pickering:

  • Joseph H. Nicholson (MD), Democratic Republican
  • James A. Bayard (DE), Federalist
  • John Randolph (VA), None
  • Samuel Tenney (NH), Federalist
  • Lucas C. Elmendorf (NY), Democratic Republican

Action Taken: The Select Committee recommended impeachment in a report submitted to the House on March 3, 1803. Id. at 644.

Purpose: Examine the report from President Jefferson and submit recommendations to the House. 12 Annals of Cong. 460 (1803).

Composition of the House: The above Select Committee was appointed in the 7th Congress, which, on its first day, had the following composition in the House: 69Democratic Republicans, 36 Federalists

After adopting an impeachment resolution, the House appointed a five-member Select Committee to draft articles of impeachment:

  • Joseph H. Nicholson (MD), Democratic Republican
  • Roger Griswold (CT), Federalist
  • John Randolph (VA), None
  • Samuel Thatcher (NH), Federalist
  • Peter Early (GA), Democratic Republican

Action taken: The Select Committee submitted four articles of impeachment to the House on December 27, 1803. Id. at 790.

Purpose: Prepare articles of impeachment; also given power to send for persons, papers, and records. 13 Annals of Cong. 380 (1803).

Composition of the House: The above Select Committee was appointed in the 8th Congress, which, on its first day, had the following composition in the House: 102 Democratic Republicans, 39 Federalists

Samuel Chase, Associate Justice, United States Supreme Court

On January 7, 1804, a resolution was approved appointing a seven-member Select Committee to investigate Justice Chase:

  • Joseph H. Nicholson (MD), Democratic Republican
  • Roger Griswold (CT), Federalist
  • John Randolph (VA), None
  • Joseph Clay (PA), Democratic Republican
  • Peter Early (GA), Democratic Republican
  • Benjamin Huger (SC), Federalist
  • John Boyle (KY), Democratic Republican

Action Taken: The Select Committee recommended impeachment in a report submitted to the House on March 6, 1804. Id. at 1093.

Purpose: Investigate the truth of the allegations and submit a statement of facts and recommendations to the House. 13 Annals of Cong. 873-76 (1804).

Composition of the House: The above Select Committee was appointed in the 8th Congress, which, on its first day, had the following composition in the House: 102 Democratic Republicans, 39 Federalists

On March 13, 1804, the report was approved and a five-member Select Committee was appointed to draft the impeachment articles:

  • Joseph H. Nicholson (MD), Democratic Republican
  • John Randolph (VA), None
  • Joseph Clay (PA), Democratic Republican
  • Peter Early (GA), Democratic Republican
  • John Boyle (KY), Democratic Republican

Purpose: Prepare and report articles of impeachment; also given power to send for persons, papers, and records. Id. at 1182.

Action Taken: The House adopted the Select Committee’s articles on March 26, 1804. Id. at 1237.

Composition of the House: The above Select Committee was appointed in the 8th Congress, which, on its first day, had the following composition in the House: 102 Democratic Republicans, 39 Federalists

Richard Peters, U.S. District Judge, District of Pennsylvania

On January 7, 1804, Judge Peters was added, by amendment, to the resolution appointing a seven-member Select Committee to investigate Justice Chase:

  • Joseph H. Nicholson (MD), Democratic Republican
  • John Randolph (VA), None
  • Roger Griswold (CT), Federalist
  • Peter Early (GA), Democratic Republican
  • Joseph Clay (PA), Democratic Republican
  • Benjamin Huger (SC), Federalist
  • John Boyle (KY), Democratic Republican

Purpose: Investigate the truth of the allegations and submit a statement of facts and recommendation to the House. 13 Annals of Cong. 873-76 (1804).

Action Taken: The Select Committee, exonerated Judge Peters of any wrongdoing in a report submitted to the House on March 6, 1804. Id. at 1093.

Composition of the House: The above Select Committee was appointed in the 8th Congress, which, on its first day, had the following composition in the House: 102 Democratic Republicans, 39 Federalists

Harry Innis, U.S. District Judge, District of Kentucky

On March 31, 1808, a seven-member Select Committee was appointed to investigate Judge Innis:

  • John Rowan (KY), Democratic Republican
  • James Fisk (VT), Democratic Republican
  • Burwell Bassett (VA), Democratic Republican
  • John Montgomery (MD), Democratic Republican
  • John Smilie (PA), Democratic Republican
  • Jedediah K. Smith (NH), Democratic Republican
  • John Taylor (SC), Democratic Republican

Purpose: Inquire into the conduct of Judge Innis and report its recommendation to the House. 18 Annals of Congress 1886 (1808).

Action Taken: The Select Committee submitted its report absolving Judge Innis of all wrongdoing to the House on April 19, 1808. Id. at 2197.

Composition of the House: The above Select Committee was appointed in the 10th Congress, which, on its first day, had the following composition in the House: 118 Democratic Republicans, 24 Federalists

Peter Bruin, Presiding Judge, Mississippi Territory

On April 18, 1808, a seven-member Select Committee was appointed to investigate Judge Bruin:

  • George Poindexter (MS), Territorial Delegate
  • Jesse Wharton (TN), Democratic Republican
  • Benjamin Howard (KY), Democratic Republican
  • Jeremiah Morrow (OH), Democratic Republican
  • Joseph Calhoun (SC), Democratic Republican
  • John Campbell (MD), Federalist
  • Samuel W. Dana (CT), None

Purpose: Inquire into the conduct of Judge Bruin and report its recommendations to the House. 18 Annals of Cong. 2189, 2070 (1808).

Action Taken: No reported action by the Select Committee.

Composition of the House: The above Select Committee was appointed in the 10th Congress, which, on its first day, had the following composition in the House: 118 Democratic Republicans, 24 Federalists

Harry Toulmin, Superior Court Judge, Washington District of Mississippi Territory

On December 21, 1811, an accusatory letter from Judge Toulmin’s district was referred to a seven-member Select Committee:

  • George Poindexter (MS), Territorial Delegate
  • Joseph Calhoun (SC), Democratic Republican
  • William W. Bibb (GA), Democratic Republican
  • John Rhea (TN), Democratic Republican
  • John Taliaferro (VA), Democratic Republican
  • Abijah Bigelow (MA), Federalist
  • Epaphroditius Champion (CT), Federalist

Purpose: Inquire into conduct of Judge Toulmin and report its recommendation to the House; also given power to send for persons, papers, and records. 23 Annals of Cong. 567 (1811).

Action Taken: The Select Committee submitted a report absolving Judge Toulmin on May 22, 1812. 24 Annals of Cong. 1436 (1812).

Composition of the House: The above Select Committee was appointed in the 12th Congress, which, on its first day, had the following composition in the House: 108 Democratic Republicans, 36 Federalists

William P. Van Ness, U.S. District Judge, Southern District of New York

On April 10, 1818, a five-member Select Committee was appointed to investigate Judge Van Ness:

  • John C. Spencer (NY), Democratic Republican
  • Joseph Hopkinson (PA), Federalist
  • Arthur Livermore (NH), Democratic Republican
  • Thomas S. Williams (CT), Federalist
  • Joseph Bloomfield (NJ), Democratic Republican

Purpose: Inquire into conduct of Judge Van Ness and report its findings to the House; also given power to send for persons and papers. 32 Annals of Cong. 1715-16 (1818).

Action Taken: On February 17, 1819, the Select Committee submitted a report to the House recommending no action be taken against Judge Van Ness. 34 Annals of Cong. 1218-22 (1819).

Composition of the House: The above Select Committee was appointed in the 15th Congress, which, on its first day, had the following composition in the House: 141 Democratic Republicans, 42 Federalists

Mathias B. Tallmadge, U.S. District Judge, Northern District of New York

On April 10, 1818, Judge Tallmadge was added to the resolution appointing a five-member Select Committee to investigate Judge Van Ness:

  • John C. Spencer (NY), Democratic Republican
  • Joseph Hopkinson (PA), Federalist
  • Arthur Livermore (NH), Democratic Republican
  • Thomas S. Williams (CT), Federalist
  • Joseph Bloomfield (NJ), Democratic Republican

Purpose: Inquire into conduct of Judge Van Ness and Judge Tallmadge and report its findings to the House; also given power to send for persons and papers. 32 Annals of Cong. 1715-16 (1818).

Action Taken: On February 17, 1819, the Select Committee submitted a report to the House recommending no action be taken against Judge Tallmadge. 34 Annals of Cong. 1218-22 (1819).

Composition of the House: The above Select Committee was appointed in the 15th Congress, which, on its first day, had the following composition in the House: 141 Democratic Republicans, 42 Federalists

William Stevens, U.S. District Judge, District of Georgia

On April 10, 1818, Judge Stevens was added to the resolution appointing a five-member Select Committee to investigate Judge Van Ness:

  • John C. Spencer (NY), Democratic Republican
  • Joseph Hopkinson (PA), Federalist
  • Arthur Livermore (NH), Democratic Republican
  • Thomas S. Williams (CT), Federalist
  • Joseph Bloomfield (NJ), Democratic Republican

Purpose: Inquire into conduct of Judge Van Ness, Judge Tallmadge, and Judge Stevens and report its findings to the House; also given power to send for persons and papers. 32 Annals of Cong. 1715-16 (1818).

Action Taken: Judge Stevens resigned during the House investigation, and on November 24, 1818, the Select Committee was disbanded. 33 Annals of Cong 313 (1818).

Composition of the House: The above Select Committee was appointed in the 15th Congress, which, on its first day, had the following composition in the House: 141 Democratic Republicans, 42 Federalists

James H. Peck, U.S. District Judge, District of Missouri

Following the adoption of an impeachment resolution, a five-member Select Committee was formed to draft the articles of impeachment. There was only one member’s name recorded in reports and the official record of congressional debates:

  • James Buchanan PA (None)

Purpose: Prepare and report articles of impeachment to the House. 6 Reg. of Debates 818-19 (1830).

Action Taken: On April 30, 1830, the Select Committee submitted impeachment articles to the House. Id. at 863.

Composition of the House: The above Select Committee was appointed in the 15th Congress, which, on its first day, had the following composition in the House: 139 Democrats, 74 National Republicans

Philip K. Lawrence, U.S. District Judge, Eastern District of Louisiana

On January 7, 1839, the House received a petition from Duncan Hennan requesting an investigation of Judge Lawrence. The petition was referred to a seven-member Select Committee:

  • Henry Johnson (LA), Whig
  • John Pope (KY), Whig
  • Elisha Whittlesey (OH), Whig
  • John Campbell (SC), Nullifier
  • George Owens (GA), Democrat
  • William B. Calhoun (MA), Whig
  • George Dromgoole (VA), Democrat

Purpose: Inquire into conduct of Judge Lawrence and submit recommendations to the House. H.R. Doc. No. 25-63 (1839).

Action Taken: On February 11, 1839, the Select Committee submitted its report, H.R. Doc. No. 25-272, to the House. The report recommended Judge Lawrence be impeached. Cong. Globe, 25th Cong., 3rd Sess. 187 (1839).

Composition of the House: The above Select Committee was appointed in the 25th Congress, which, on its first day, had the following composition in the House: 108 Democrats, 107 Whigs, 24 Others

West H. Humphreys, U.S. District Judge, Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of Tennessee

On May 6, 1862, after voting to impeach Judge Humphreys, the House appointed a five-member Select Committee to draft the articles of impeachment. The members of this Select Committee were not recorded.

Purpose: Draft and submit articles of impeachment. 32 Cong. Globe, 37th Cong., 2nd Sess. 2134 (1862).

Action Taken: On May 19th the Select Committee’s articles were adopted by the House. Id. at 2205.

Composition of the House: The above Select Committee was appointed in the 37th Congress, which, on its first day, had the following composition in the House: 105 Republicans, 43 Democrats, 30 Others

Charles H. Swayne, U.S. District Judge, Northern District of Florida

On December 13, 1904, after voting to impeach Judge Swayne, a resolution was passed that appointed a five-member Select Committee to draft the articles of impeachment:

  • Henry W. Palmer (PA), Republican
  • John J. Jenkins (WI), Republican
  • Henry D. Clayton (AL), Democrat
  • James N. Gillet (CA), Republican
  • David H. Smith (KY), Democrat

Purpose: Prepare and submit articles of impeachment. 39 Cong. Rec. 248 (1904).

Action Taken: On January 10, 1905, the Select Committee reported twelve articles of impeachment to the House. Id. at 665-67.

Composition of the House: The above Select Committee was appointed in the 58th Congress, which, on its first day, had the following composition in the House: 208 Republicans, 178 Democrats

George W. English, U.S. District Judge, Eastern District of Illinois

A seven-member Special Committee, “being a subcommittee” of the Judiciary Committee, was appointed under House Joint Resolution 347 to investigate Judge English and report their findings to the House. 66 Cong. Rec. 5013, 5014 (1925).

  • William D. Boies (IA), Republican
  • Charles A. Christopherson (SD), Republican
  • Ira G. Hersey (ME), Republican
  • Earl C. Michener (MI), Republican
  • Hatton N. Sumners (TX), Democrat
  • John N. Tillman (AR), Democrat
  • Royal H. Weller (NY), Democrat

Purpose: Inquire into official conduct of Judge English and submit recommendations to the House. 67 Cong. Rec.1224 (1925)

Action Taken: On December 19, 1925, the Special Committee submitted its report. The report was subsequently referred to the Judiciary Committee, where the investigation continued. 67 Cong. Rec. 6652 (1925).

Composition of the House: The above Special Committee was appointed in the 68th Congress, which, on its first day, had the following composition in the House: 225 Republicans, 205 Democrats, 5 Others

Grover Moscowitz, U.S. District Judge, Eastern District of New York

On March 2, 1929, a joint resolution, H.R.J. Res. 431, calling for the investigation of Judge Moscowitz, was signed by the President. 70 Cong. Rec. 5227 (1929). The resolution created, by name, a five-member Select Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee to conduct the investigation. Id. at 4610. Its members were:

  • Earl C. Michener (MI), Republican
  • J. Banks Kurtz (PA), Republican
  • C. Ellis Moore (OH), Republican
  • Royal H. Weller (NY), Democrat (died; replaced on March 4, 1929, by Homer W. Hall (IL), Republican)
  • Henry St. George Tucker (VA), Democrat

Purpose: Inquire into official conduct of Judge Moscowitz and report findings to the Judiciary Committee. H.R. Rep. No. 71-1106 (1929).

Action Taken: Submitted report to the Judiciary Committee, in turn, submitted House Report 1106 to the House criticizing Judge Moscowitz, but refused to recommend impeachment.

Composition of the House: The above Select Subcommittee was appointed in the 70th Congress, which, on its first day, had the following composition in the House: 237 Republicans, 195 Democrats, 3 Others

Harry Anderson, U.S. District Judge, Western District of Tennessee

On June 13, 1930, a resolution appointing a Special Committee, consisting of five members of the House Judiciary Committee, was adopted by the House. 72 Cong. Rec. 10,649 (1930). (Names of Committee members listed at 74 Cong. Rec. 51,313 (1931).)

  • Andrew J. Hickey (IN), Republican
  • Fiorello H. LaGuardia (NY), Republican
  • Charles I. Sparks (KS), Republican
  • Hatton N. Sumners (TX), Democrat
  • Gordon Browning (TN), Democrat

Purpose: Inquire into official conduct of Judge Anderson and report findings to the Judiciary Committee; also granted the power to send for persons and papers. Id.

Action Taken: Unknown. However, the Judiciary Committee reported to the House on February 18, 1931, and recommended against impeachment. 74 Cong. Rec. 5312-13 (1931).

Composition of the House: The above Special Committee was appointed in the 71st Congress, which, on its first day, had the following composition in the House: 267 Republicans, 167 Democrats, 1 Other

Harold Louderback, U.S. District Judge, Northern District of California

On May 26, 1932, Mr. LaGuardia introduced a resolution, H.R. Res. 239, requesting a Special Committee consisting of five members of the House Judiciary Committee be appointed to investigate Judge Louderback. The resolution was referred to the Judiciary Committee for further action. 75 Cong. Rec. 11,358 (1932). On May 31, 1932, the Judiciary Committee reported the resolution back to the House without amendment. Id. at 11,700. The resolution was adopted on June 9, 1932. Id. at 12,470. The members of this Special Committee were (Names of Committee members listed in H.R. Rep. No. 72-2065 (1933).):

  • Hatton N. Sumners (TX), Democrat
  • Gordon Browning (TN), Democrat
  • Malcolm C. Tarver (GA), Democrat
  • Fiorello H. LaGuardia (NY), Republican
  • Charles I. Sparks (KS), Republican

Purpose: A Special Committee was appointed to conduct the investigation and report its findings to the Judiciary Committee. H.R. Res. 239, 72nd Cong. (1932).

Action Taken: The actions of the Special Committee could not be found in primary sources. However, on February 17, 1933, the Judiciary Committee submitted a report, H.R. Rep. 2065, recommending Judge Louderback not be impeached, and a resolution, H.R. Res. 387, requesting the report be adopted. 76 Cong.Rec. 4375-76 (1933).

Composition of the House: The above Special Committee was appointed in the 72nd Congress, which, on its first day, had the following composition in the House: 220 Democrats, 214 Republicans, 1 Other

William O. Douglas, Associate Justice, United States Supreme Court

On April 16, 1970, seven resolutions, H.R. Res. 922, 923, 924, 925, 926, 927, and 928, calling for the creation of a Select Committee to investigate Justice Douglas were introduced on the floor of the House. All were referred to the Rules Committee for further action. 116 Cong. Rec. 12,130-31 (1970). No action was ever taken on these resolutions and therefore, no Select Committee was ever formed. Justice Douglas was investigated by a Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee under a different resolution, H.R. Res. 920. The final report of the Subcommittee found no cause for impeachment and recommended no further action be taken. Id. at 42,240.

© 2018 National Legal Foundation
Last updated June 2, 1998. 

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