Blair v. United States,
250 U.S. 273 (1919)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Blair v. United States, 250 U.S. 273 (1919)

Blair v. United States

Nos. 763-768

Argued January 28, 1919

Decided June 2, 1919

250 U.S. 273


It is the duty of this court to refrain from passing upon the constitutionality of an act of Congress when the interests of the party attacking it do not entitle him to raise the question. P. 250 U. S. 278.

Held, that witnesses subpoenaed in a grand jury investigation of possible violations of the Corrupt Practices Act of June 25, 1910, as amended, and of possible perjury in connection therewith, had no standing to question the power of Congress, under Art. I, § 4, of the Constitution, to enact provisions for regulation and control of primary elections of candidates for the office of United States Senator. P. 250 U. S. 279.

Under the Fifth Amendment and the legislation of Congress, a federal

Page 250 U. S. 274

grand jury has a broad power of investigation and inquisition; the scope of its inquiries is not to be narrowly limited by questions of propriety or forecasts of probable results; the examination of witnesses need not be preceded by a formal charge against a particular individual, and witnesses, duly subpoenaed, must attend and answer the questions propounded in the inquiry, subject to the right to be protected from self-incrimination, and excluding matters specially privileged by law. P. 250 U. S. 281.

A witness summoned to give testimony before a grand jury in the District Court is not entitled to refuse to answer, when ordered by the court, upon the ground that the court and jury are without jurisdiction over the supposed offense under investigation. P. 250 U. S. 282.

253 Fed. Rep. 800, affirmed.

The cases are stated in the opinion.

Page 250 U. S. 276

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