David Selmer

Date of Defense



Political Science


As indicated by the title, the emphasis of this paper is upon the effect of the contempt power upon the rights of the contemnor. The implications of contempt to civil liberties are extensive, and an understanding of this is in order, especially in view of the fact that the contempt of court power has proliferated in recent years. The power has to be reconciled with our conceptions of due process of law and the felt need for non-arbitrary and just exercises of judicial authority. The most illustrative example in this regard would be the power of the judge in certain instances to summarily punish the contemnor without benefit of a jury trial and other procedural safeguards. The contempt power is a means of legitimate punishment that for the most part does not follow the ordinary avenues of legal procedure associated with criminal actions, and its effect upon the contemnor's rights is worthy of consideration.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only