U.S. Supreme Court
Sinclair v. United States, 279 U.S. 263 (1929)
Sinclair v. United States
Argued February 18, 19, 1929
Decided April 8, 1929
279 U.S. 263
CERTIFICATE FROM THE COURT OF APPEALS
OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
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.