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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.


Top Posts:

Inherent Contempt Fines Rule

The Problem: Rising Executive Branch Intransigence and Declining Congressional Oversight Effectiveness The refusal of executive branch officials to comply with ...
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GGN Inherent Contempt Fines Proposal Gaining Traction in House Leadership Discussions: Rep. Schiff Third Committee Chair To Consider

Recent news reports from NBC News, Reuters, Axios, HuffPost, The Hill, and other media outlets confirm that the modified inherent ...
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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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Recent Posts:

Listen to GGN’s Jason Foster Discuss Congressional Oversight Challenges on FedSoc’s Necessary & Proper Podcast

Don't miss Good Government Now Senior Fellow Jason Foster's fascinating discussion of current oversight challenges facing Congress and his extensive ...
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Congress must diversify its subpoena enforcement arsenal to counter escalating executive branch obstruction

by Dr. William J. Murphy and Morton Rosenberg The Hill - March 4, 2020 - The effectiveness of congressional subpoena ...
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McGahn Ruling Leaves Congress No Choice But to Pursue Inherent Contempt Fines and Independent Criminal Prosecutions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, February 28, 2020 8:00pm Media Contact: Bill Murphy • wmurphy@goodgovernmentnow.org • (610) 529-6494 (m) Statement of ...
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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 ...
Read More

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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