Corse Case Gravel

Gravel v. United States, 408 U.S. 606 (1972), was a case in which a US senator read to a subcommittee from classified documents that were later made public. The issue concerned the protections provided by the Debate Clause in the United States Constitution. It was held on June 15, 1971, after Senator Mike Gravel of Alaska obtained information from a Washington Post editor. Justice White sent a letter to the court, and Blackmun, Powell, Reinquist, and Burger agreed. while Justice Brennan files a dissenting opinion that was later joined by Marshall and Douglas.
 The report included the Pentagon papers that had been sent by Ben Bagdikian and over the next few days, Gravel was assisted by the congressional staff member in exploring the details in the report. However, there was worry that his home would be raided and so Gravel, in his dyslexic state, took the report and headed to his office where they were placed under the security by disabled Vietnam veterans. When he tried reading the paper in the Congressional Record later on June 29, 1971, there was a lack of quorum and the senator was prevented from convening as the role was required to be performed by the chair of the Senate. He, however, could not continue as he was prevented by his dyslexic state as he managed to read only part of it. He, therefore, organized for the Pentagon Paper to be published by a private entity, the Beacon Press and ended up causing a misunderstanding on privacy.

The verdict by the Supreme Court held that the privileges of the Debate Clause of the Constitution, also referred to as the Constitution’s Speech was fulling to the members of the house. It was affirmed that the Debate Clause was enjoyed by the Congressional aides and the members of the congress as a whole but did not relate to the activity of that was exercised out of the legislative process. The court declared, ‘the privilege available to the aide is confined to those services that would be immune legislative conduct if performed by the Senator himself.” It thus meant that the court refused to give protection to the congressional aides from prosecution and to further threw the lower court order. It meant that the testimony was privileged and as a result, the privilege was declared to be absolute. It, however, upheld the private publication ruling that had been suggested by Gravel. It was affirmed, “[Private] publication by Senator Gravel through the cooperation of Beacon Press was in no way essential to the deliberations of the Senate.”

It thus meant that the court had taken the protections that have by protected in the Speech with the blame placed on Associated Justice Potter Stewart. He had the option of extending the protection to include the testimony before the grand jury. Associate Justice William O. Douglas also gave his ruling and condemned politicians of promoting excessive secrecy and the media for the failure in challenging the issue. The case is thus relevant because t reassured on the protections by the Debate Clause as there was a much broader conception of the right in the end.


Jr, Lewis F. Powell. “Gravel v. U.S.” Washington and Lee University School of Law Washington & Lee University School of Law Scholarly Commons 10, no. 10 (1971): 1–165.

Justia. “Gravel v. United States 408 U.S. 606 (1972).” Justia, 1972.

Deadline is approaching?

Wait no more. Let us write you an essay from scratch

Receive Paper In 3 Hours
Calculate the Price
275 words
First order 15%
Total Price:
$38.07 $38.07
Calculating ellipsis
Hire an expert
This discount is valid only for orders of new customer and with the total more than 25$
This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Find Out the Cost of Your Paper

Get Price