United States v. Brewster
Annotate this Case
408 U.S. 501 (1972)
U.S. Supreme Court
United States v. Brewster, 408 U.S. 501 (1972)
United States v. Brewster
Argued October 18, 1971
Reargued March 20, 1972
Decided June 29, 1972
408 U.S. 501
Appellee, a former United States Senator, was charged with the solicitation and acceptance of bribes in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 201(c)(1) and 201(g). The District Court, on appellee's pretrial motion, dismissed the indictment on the ground that the Speech or Debate Clause of the Constitution shielded him "from any prosecution for alleged bribery to perform a legislative act." The United States filed a direct appeal to this Court under 18 U.S.C. § 3731 (1964 ed., Supp. V), which appellee contends this Court does not have jurisdiction to entertain because the District Court's action was not "a decision or judgment setting aside, or dismissing" the indictment, but was instead a summary judgment on the merits based on the facts of the case.
1. This Court has jurisdiction under 18 U.S.C. § 3731 (1964 ed., Supp. V) to hear the appeal, since the District Court's order was based upon its determination of the constitutional invalidity of 18 U.S.C. §§ 201(c)(1) and 201(g) on the facts as alleged in the indictment. Pp. 50507.
2. The prosecution of appellee is not prohibited by the Speech or Debate Clause. Although that provision protects Members of Congress from inquiry into legislative acts or the motivation for performance of such acts, United States v. Johnson, 383 U. S. 169, 383 U. S. 185, it does not protect all conduct relating to the legislative process. Since, in this case, prosecution of the bribery charges does not necessitate inquiry into legislative acts or motivation, the District Court erred in holding that the Speech or Debate Clause required dismissal of the indictment. Pp. 408 U. S. 507-529.
Reversed and remanded.
BURGER, C.J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which STEWART, MARSHALL, BLACKMUN, POWELL, and REHNQUIST, JJ., joined. BRENNAN, J., filed a dissenting opinion in which DOUGLAS J., joined, post, p. 408 U. S. 529. WHITE, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which DOUGLAS and BRENNAN, JJ., joined, post, p. 408 U. S. 551.
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