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U.S. Supreme Court

Reed v. County Commissioners, 277 U.S. 376 (1928)

Reed v. County Commissioners

of Delaware County, Pennsylvania

No. 744

Argued and submitted April 25, 26, 30, 1928

Decided May 28, 1928

277 U.S. 376


Resolutions of the U.S. Senate created a committee of Senators to investigate the means used to influence the nomination of candidates for the Senate, and empowered it to require attendance of witnesses and production of books and papers, to take and preserve all ballot boxes, etc., used in a certain senatorial election, "and to do such other acts as may be necessary in the matter of said investigation." The committee and their agent brought suit in a federal court against county officers to obtain possession of the ballot boxes, etc.


1. That the general authority conveyed by the clause above quoted is to be confined to acts of the same general class as those specifically authorized. P. 277 U. S. 389.

2. The context, the practice of the Senate to rely on its own powers, and the attending circumstances show that the Senate did not intend to authorize the committee to invoke the power of the Judicial Department. Id.

3. Therefore, the plaintiffs were not "authorized by law to sue," within the meaning of Jud.Code, § 24, defining jurisdiction of the district court. Id.

21 F.2d 1018 affirmed.

Certiorari, 276 U.S. 613, to a decree of the circuit court of appeals which affirmed a decree of the district court, 21 F.2d 144, dismissing a bill brought by the members of a special committee of the Senate, and their agent, against county officers, for the purpose of requiring the latter to deliver to the former the ballot boxes, ballots, etc., used in a senatorial election. chanrobles.com-red

Page 277 U. S. 386


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