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The Problem: Congress has lost the authority to enforce subpoenas.

Inherent contempt enforcement has been the most effective of the three methods available to Congress for defending its institutional prerogatives against contumacious behavior and ensuring timely compliance with its information demands.  Congress employed it highly successfully and almost exclusively until 1935, even after enactment of the criminal contempt statute in 1857.  

Congress stopped employing inherent contempt after 1935 for three reasons: (a) the associated trials at the bar of either house consumed too much floor time, (b) the habeas corpus suits that invariably accompanied the arrests and detentions of alleged contemnors further delayed the process excessively, and (c) the arrest and incarceration of witnesses was perceived unseemly. Read more.

Our Mission

Good Government Now was founded to strengthen congressional subpoena enforcement to re-establish an appropriate constitutional balance between the legislative and executive branches.


Recent Posts:

McGahn Subpoena Ruling a Pyrrhic Victory for Congress

by Dr. William J. MurphyFedSoc Blog, January 8, 2020 Good Government Now President Dr. William J. Murphy Although the U.S ...
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Can Congress Enforce their Subpoenas?

Federalist Society Article I Project Executive Director Nate Kaczmarek interviews Good Government Now President Dr. William J. Murphy about GGN's ...
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Press Release: McGahn Ruling a Pyrrhic Victory for Congress

Case Highlights Weakness of Legislative Subpoena Enforcement as Congress Continues to Allow Executive Branch to Deny Access to Most Effective ...
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The Case for Direct Appointment by the House of Outside Counsel to Prosecute Citations of Criminal Contempt of Executive Branch Officials

by Morton Rosenberg and William J. Murphy Morton Rosenberg, Senior Fellow,Good Government NowDr. William J. Murphy, President,Good Government Now Abstract ...
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A Message From Bill Murphy: Working with Congress On Behalf Of The People

This is what Bill does almost every day while in Washington D.C. — Educating Congress to give power back to ...
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Civil Enforcement of Subpoenas Emphasized in House Resolution Would Be a Mistake; Congress Should Instead Pursue Inherent Contempt Fines and Independent Prosecutions for Criminal Contempt

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday, June 11, 2019 3:00pm Media Contact: Bill Murphy • wmurphy@goodgovernmentnow.org • (610) 529-6494 (m) Washington, D.C ...
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