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First Amendment Issues, Congressional Subpoena Power at Stake in Backpage Court Case

August 19, 2016, Washington Internet Daily

Rob Kelner is quoted in a Washington Internet Daily article regarding the possible implications of the Backpage decision on Congress’ future subpoena power. According to Kelner, if the D.C. Circuit squashes the subpoena, “that would have a very dramatic effect, I think, because it's so extraordinarily rare for a congressional subpoena ever to be quashed under any circumstances. And, so, you have to assume that in future cases many corporations would try to hang their hat on this case in evading compliance with the congressional subpoenas." 

Kelner adds, "Far fewer than 1 percent" of the few congressional subpoenas are litigated.” Companies don't want to litigate for public relations, reputational and cost reasons, and Congress is worried about losing subpoena power as an enforcement tool if a court quashes one, he says. In the rare situation where a court has quashed a subpoena, it's "defined a very, very narrow standard."


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