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Today in legal history...

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

DC Circuit ruled FBI congressional office raid unconstitutional
Dwyer Arce at 12:00 AM ET

On August 3, 2007, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the FBI's conduct during an 18-hour raid on the congressional offices of Representative William Jefferson was unconstitutional. The court held that the "compelled disclosure of privileged material to the Executive during execution of the search warrant" violated the Speech or Debate Clause of the Constitution because the FBI searched through privileged materials without giving Jefferson an opportunity to review them. The court overturned a lower court ruling and ordered the return of the privileged legislative documents, but refused Jefferson's request for the return of non-privileged documents because Jefferson did not demonstrate that the "operations of his office ha[d] been disrupted as a result of not having the original versions of non-privileged documents." The court also barred the FBI from disclosing the privileged or "political sensitive and non-responsive items."

Learn more about constitutional law and the House of Representatives from the JURIST news archive.

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