UNITED STATES V. BRAMBLETT, 348 U. S. 503 (1955)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Bramblett, 348 U.S. 503 (1955)

United States v. Bramblett

No. 159

Argued February 7, 1955

Decided April 4, 1955

348 U.S. 503


The Disbursing Office of the House of Representatives is a "department or agency" of the United States within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. § 1001, which forbids the willful falsification of a material fact "in any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States." Pp. 348 U. S. 503-510.

(a) The legislative history of this section shows that it was the intention of Congress to make it applicable to the legislative and judicial branches of the Government. Pp. 348 U. S. 504-508.

(b) A different result is not required by the definitions of "department" and "agency" in 18 U.S.C. § 6. Pp. 348 U. S. 508-509.

(c) The development, scope and purpose of § 1001 shows that "department," as used in this context, was meant to describe the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Government. p. 348 U. S. 509.

(d) That criminal statutes must be construed strictly does not mean that every criminal statute must be given the narrowest possible meaning in complete disregard of the purpose of the legislature. Pp. 348 U. S. 509-510.

120 F.Supp. 857 reversed.