Dept. of Justice v. House Comm. on Judiciary

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: July 2, 2020
  • Case #: 19-1328
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: 951 F.3d 589 (D.C. Cir. 2020)
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether an impeachment trial before a legislative body is a “judicial proceeding” under Rule 6(e)(3)(E)(i) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.

Respondent requested disclosure of redacted portions of the Mueller report. Respondent argued that a “court may authorize disclosure—at a time, in a manner, and subject to any other conditions that it directs—of a grand jury matter: (i) preliminarily to or in connection with a judicial proceeding.” Fed. R. Crim. P. 6(e)(3)(E)(i). Petitioner opposed the request, seeking a stay pending an appeal from the lower court. Both the district court and court of appeals concluded that an impeachment trial was a “judicial proceeding” under Rule 6(e) because of its judicial nature, therefore granting an exception to the Rule.  Petitioner argues that in United States v. Sells Engineering, 463 U.S. 418, 427 (1983) “the Court explained that its narrow interpretation of the term “attorney for the Government” in the Rule was warranted because “[i]n the absence of a clear indication in a statute or Rule, we must always be reluctant to conclude that a breach of [grand jury] secrecy has been authorized.’” Petitioner argues that the lower court's analyses were too broad as Congress has never suggested that the “judicial proceeding” exception to extends to impeachments.

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