Sinclair v. United States,
279 U.S. 263 (1929)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Sinclair v. United States, 279 U.S. 263 (1929)

Sinclair v. United States

No. 555

Argued February 18, 19, 1929

Decided April 8, 1929

279 U.S. 263



1. The chairman and any of the members of the Committee on Public Lands and Surveys of the Senate are empowered to administer oaths to witnesses before the committee. Rev.Stats. § 101. P. 279 U. S. 291.

2. Rev.Stats. § 102, prescribing punishment for refusal to answer before congressional committees, includes witnesses who voluntarily appear without being summoned. P. 279 U. S. 291.

3. While the power of inquiry of the respective houses of Congress is an essential and appropriate auxiliary to the legislative function, it must be exerted with due regard for the rights of witnesses; a witness may rightfully refuse to answer where the bounds of the power are exceeded or where the questions asked are not pertinent to the matter under inquiry. McGrain v. Daugherty, 273 U. S. 135. P. 279 U. S. 291.

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