McPhaul v. United States

RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION: Alabama General Assembly

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1958-1962)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

CITATION: 364 US 372 (1960)
ARGUED: Oct 13, 1960
DECIDED: Nov 14, 1960

Facts of the case


Media for McPhaul v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 13, 1960 (Part 2) in McPhaul v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 13, 1960 (Part 1) in McPhaul v. United States

Earl Warren:

Number 33, Arthur M. McPhaul, Petitioner versus United States.

Mr. Goodman you may proceed.

Ernest Goodman:

Mr. Chief Justice and members of the Court, this is a certiorari from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals which affirmed a conviction of the petitioner in this case for contempt of the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

The petitioner was subpoenaed by a subcommittee of the House Committee in February 1952 in Detroit to appear on February 27th of that year.

He was subpoenaed in his own name, Arthur McPhaul, and the subpoena called for him to bring certain records of the Civil Rights Congress.

He appeared before the committee with an attorney and in response to a number of questions directed to him by a counsel for the committee.

He claimed the privilege under the Fifth Amendment upon being pressed by the attorney for the committee as to whether he would produce the records sought by the subpoena.

His final answer was "I will not".

Potter Stewart:

Could you tell us that he did have the counsel with him.

Ernest Goodman:

Yes, he did.

Following that, a citation was issued by Congress and an indictment was issued in July of 1954 on which the petitioner was arraigned.

Felix Frankfurter:

What was the date of the original hearing?

Ernest Goodman:

February 1952, the indictment was issued two and a half years later.

Felix Frankfurter:

It was the citation.

Ernest Goodman:

Citation was at some --

Felix Frankfurter:

I'm interested in why (Inaudible).

Ernest Goodman:

Well, it took two and a half years for the indictment and then two and a half years for the trial.

I only asked for that is that I have nothing to do with that though I was just waiting for the Government to act and I assumed they didn't act because they were apprehensive of the nature of the case they had.

It might only --

Felix Frankfurter:

You mean it's not through the indictment.

The case has been tried for two and a half years.

Ernest Goodman:

That's right.

Felix Frankfurter:

Any motions by you for delay?

Ernest Goodman:

I have filed a motion --

Felix Frankfurter:

Any bill of particulars?

Anything that's (Voice Overlap) --

Ernest Goodman:

I filed a -- I filed a motion to dismiss which was argued expeditiously and determined against me but it didn't hold up the matter very long.

I just have no --

Felix Frankfurter:

Does that brought you down -- that brings you down to assist the court (Inaudible)?

Ernest Goodman:

That's right, December 1956 when the trial took place before Judge Freedman and the jury.