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*fn*: June 20, 1960.



Warren, Black, Frankfurter, Douglas, Clark, Harlan, Brennan, Whittaker, Stewart

Author: Warren

[ 363 U.S. Page 421]

 MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WARREN delivered the opinion of the Court.

These cases involve the validity of certain Rules of Procedure adopted by the Commission on Civil Rights, which was established by Congress in 1957.*fn1 Civil Rights Act of 1957, 71 Stat. 634, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1975-1975e. They arise out of the Commission's investigation of alleged Negro voting deprivations in the State of Louisiana. The appellees in No. 549 are registrars of voters in the State of Louisiana, and the respondents in No. 550 are private citizens of Louisiana.*fn2 After having been summoned to

[ 363 U.S. Page 422]

     appear before a hearing which the Commission proposed to conduct in Shreveport, Louisiana, these registrars and private citizens requested the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana to enjoin the Commission from holding its anticipated hearing. It was alleged, among other things, that the Commission's Rules of Procedure governing the conduct of its investigations were unconstitutional. The specific rules challenged are those which provide that the identity of persons submitting complaints to the Commission need not be disclosed, and that those summoned to testify before the Commission, including persons against whom complaints have been filed, may not cross-examine other witnesses called by the Commission. The District Court held that the Commission was not authorized to adopt the Rules of Procedure here in question, and therefore issued an injunction which prohibits the Commission from holding any hearings in the Western District of Louisiana as long as the challenged procedures remain in force. The Commission requested this Court to review the District Court's decision.*fn3 We granted the Commission's motion to advance the cases, and oral argument was accordingly scheduled on the jurisdiction on appeal in No. 549, on the petition for certiorari in No. 550, and on the merits of both cases.

Having heard oral argument as scheduled, we now take jurisdiction in No. 549 and grant certiorari in No. 550.

[ 363 U.S. Page 423]

     The specific questions which we must decide are (1) whether the Commission was authorized by Congress to adopt the Rules of Procedure challenged by the respondents, and (2) if so, whether those procedures violate the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

A description of the events leading up to this litigation is necessary not only to place the legal questions in their proper factual context, but also to indicate the significance of the Commission's proposed Shreveport hearing. During the months prior to its decision to convene the hearing, the Commission had received some sixty-seven complaints from individual Negroes who alleged that they had been discriminatorily deprived of their right to vote. Based upon these complaints, and pursuant to its statutory mandate to "investigate allegations in writing under oath or affirmation that certain citizens of the United States are being deprived of their right to vote and have that vote counted by reason of their color, race, religion, or national origin,"*fn4 the Commission began its investigation into the Louisiana voting situation by making several ex parte attempts to acquire information. Thus, in March 1959, a member of the Commission's staff interviewed the Voting Registrars of Claiborne, Caddo, and Webster Parishes, but obtained little relevant information. During one of these interviews the staff member is alleged to have informed Mrs. Lannie Linton, the Registrar of Claiborne Parish, that the Commission had on file four sworn statements charging her with depriving Negroes of their voting rights solely because of their race. Subsequent to this interview, Mr. W. M. Shaw, Mrs. Linton's personal attorney, wrote a letter to Mr. Gordon M. Tiffany, the Staff Director of the Commission, in which it was asserted that Mrs. Linton knew the sworn complaints lodged against

[ 363 U.S. Page 424]

     her to be false. The letter also indicated that Mrs. Linton wished to prefer perjury charges against the affiants, and Mr. Shaw therefore demanded that the Commission forward to him copies of the affidavits so that a proper presentment could be made to the grand jury. On April 14, 1959, Mr. Tiffany replied to Mr. Shaw's letter and indicated that the Commission had denied the request for copies of the sworn affidavits. Mr. Shaw was also informed of the following official statement adopted by the Commission:

"The Commission from its first meeting forward, having considered all complaints submitted to it as confidential because such confidentiality is essential in carrying out the statutory duties of the Commission, the Staff Director is hereby instructed not to disclose the names of complainants or other information contained in complaints to anyone except members of the Commission and members of the staff assigned to process, study, or investigate such complaints."

A copy of Mr. Tiffany's letter was sent to Mr. Jack P. F. Gremillion, the Attorney General of Louisiana, who had previously informed the Commission that under Louisiana law the Attorney General is the legal adviser for all voting registrars in any hearing or investigation before a federal commission.

Another attempt to obtain information occurred on May 13, 1959, when Mr. Tiffany, upon Commission authorization, sent a list of 315 written interrogatories to Mr. Gremillion. These interrogatories requested very detailed and specific information, and were to be answered by the voting registrars of nineteen Louisiana parishes. Although Mr. Gremillion and the Governor of Louisiana had previously assented to the idea of written interrogatories, on May 28, 1959, Mr. Gremillion sent a letter to

[ 363 U.S. Page 425]

     Mr. Tiffany indicating that the voting registrars refused to answer the interrogatories. The reasons given for the refusal were that many of the questions seemed unrelated to the functions of voting registrars, that the questions were neither accompanied by specific complaints nor related to specific complaints, and that the time and research required to answer the questions placed an unreasonable burden upon the voting registrars.

In response to this refusal, on May 29, 1959, Mr. Tiffany sent a telegram to Mr. Gremillion, informing the latter that the interrogatories were based upon specific allegations received by the Commission, and reaffirming the Commission's position that the identity of specific complainants would not be disclosed. Mr. Tiffany's letter contained a further request that the interrogatories be answered and sent to the Commission by June 5, 1959. On June 2, 1959, Mr. Gremillion wrote a letter to Mr. Tiffany reiterating the registrars' refusal, and again requesting that the names of complainants be disclosed.

Finally, as a result of this exchange of correspondence, and because the Commission's attempts to obtain information ex parte had been frustrated, the Commission, acting pursuant to Section 105 (f) of the Civil Rights Act of 1957,*fn5 decided to hold the Shreveport hearing commencing on July 13, 1959.

[ 363 U.S. Page 426]

     Notice of the scheduled hearing was sent to Mr. Gremillion, and between June 29 and July 6, subpoenas duces tecum were served on the respondents in No. 549, ordering them to appear at the hearing and to bring with them various voting and registration records within their custody and control. Subpoenas were also served upon the respondents in No. 550. These private citizens were apparently summoned to explain their activities with regard to alleged deprivations of Negro voting rights.*fn6

On July 8, 1959, Mr. Tiffany wrote to Mr. Gremillion, enclosing copies of the Civil Rights Act and of the Commission's Rules of Procedure.*fn7 Mr. Gremillion's attention was also drawn to Section 102 (h) of the Civil Rights Act, which permits witnesses to submit, subject to the discretion of the Commission, brief and pertinent sworn statements for inclusion in the record.*fn8

Two days later, on July 10, 1959, the respondents in No. 549 andNo. 550 filed two separate complaints in the District

[ 363 U.S. Page 427]

     Court for the Western District of Louisiana. Both complaints alleged that the respondents would suffer irreparable harm by virtue of the Commission's refusal to furnish the names of persons who had filed allegations of voting deprivations, as well as the contents of the allegations, and by its further refusal to permit the respondents to confront and cross-examine the persons making such allegations. In addition, both complaints alleged that the Commission's refusals not only violated numerous provisions of the Federal Constitution, but also constituted "ultra vires" acts not authorized either by Congress or the Chief Executive. The respondents in No. 549 also alleged that they could not comply with the subpoenas duces tecum because Louisiana law prohibited voting registrars from removing their voting records except "upon an order of a competent court," and because the Commission was not such a "court." Finally, the complaint in No. 549 alleged that the Civil Rights Act was unconstitutional because it did not constitute "appropriate legislation within the meaning of Section (2) of the XV Amendment."

Both complaints sought a temporary restraining order and a permanent injunction prohibiting the members of the Commission (a) from compelling the "testimony from or the production of any records" by the respondents until copies of the sworn charges, together with the names and addresses of the persons filing such charges were given to the respondents;*fn9 (b) from "conducting any hearing pursuant to the rules and regulations adopted by" the Commission; and (c) from "conspiring together . . . or with any other person . . . to deny complainants their rights and privileges as citizens" of Louisiana or the

[ 363 U.S. Page 428]

     United States "or to deny to complainants their right to be confronted by their accusers, to know the nature and character of the charges made against them," and to be represented by counsel. The complaint in No. 549 also sought a declaratory judgment that the Civil Rights Act of 1957 was unconstitutional.

On the day that the complaints were filed, the district judge held a combined hearing on the prayers for temporary restraining orders. On July 12, 1959, he found that the respondents would suffer irreparable harm if the hearings were held as scheduled, and he therefore issued the requested temporary restraining orders and rules to show cause why a preliminary injunction should not be granted. Larche v. Hannah, 176 F. Supp. 791. The order prohibited the Commission from holding any hearings which concerned the respondents or others similarly situated until a determination was made on the motion for a preliminary injunction.

Inasmuch as the complaint in No. 549 attacked the constitutionality of the Civil Rights Act, a three-judge court was convened pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2282. Since the complaint in No. 550 did not challenge the constitutionality of the Civil Rights Act of 1957, that case was scheduled to be heard by a single district judge. That district judge was also a member of the three-judge panel in No. 549, and a combined hearing was therefore held on both cases on August 7, 1959.

On October 7, 1959, a divided three-judge District Court filed an opinion in No. 549. Larche v. Hannah , 177 F. Supp. 816. The court held that the Civil Rights Act of 1957 was constitutional since it "very definitely constitutes appropriate legislation" authorized by the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments and Article I, Section 2, of the Federal Constitution. Id., at 821. The court then held that since the respondents' allegations with regard to apprisal, confrontation, and cross-examination

[ 363 U.S. Page 429]

     raised a "serious constitutional issue," this Court's decision in Greene v. McElroy, 360 U.S. 474, required a preliminary determination as to whether Congress specifically authorized the Commission "to adopt rules for investigations ... which would deprive parties investigated of their rights of confrontation and cross-examination and their right to be apprised of the charges against them." 177 F. Supp., at 822. The court found that Congress had not so authorized the Commission, and an injunction was therefore issued. In deciding the case on the issue of authorization, the court never reached the "serious constitutional issue" raised by the respondents' allegations.*fn10 The injunction prohibits the Commission from holding any hearing in the Western District of Louisiana wherein the registrars, "accused of depriving others of the right to vote, would be denied the right of apprisal, confrontation, and cross examination."*fn11 The single district

[ 363 U.S. Page 430]

     judge rendered a decision in No. 550 incorporating by reference the opinion of the three-judge District Court, and an injunction, identical in substance to that entered in No. 549, was issued.


We held last Term in Greene v. McElroy, supra, that when action taken by an inferior governmental agency was accomplished by procedures which raise serious constitutional questions, an initial inquiry will be made to determine whether or not "the President or Congress, within their respective constitutional powers, specifically has decided that the imposed procedures are necessary and warranted and has authorized their use." Id., at 507. The considerations which prompted us in Greene to analyze the question of authorization before reaching the constitutional issues presented are no less pertinent in this case. Obviously, if the Civil Rights Commission was not authorized to adopt the procedures complained of by the respondents, the case could be disposed of without a premature determination of serious constitutional questions. See Vitarelli v. Seaton, 359 U.S. 535; Kent v. Dulles, 357 U.S. 116; Watkins v. United States, 354 U.S. 178; Peters v. Hobby, 349 U.S. 331.

We therefore consider first the question of authorization. As indicated above, the Commission specifically refused to disclose to the respondents the identity of persons who had submitted sworn complaints to the Commission and the specific charges contained in those complaints. Moreover, the respondents were informed by the Commission that they would not be permitted to cross-examine

[ 363 U.S. Page 431]

     any witnesses at the hearing. The respondents contend, and the court below held, that Congress did not authorize the adoption of procedural rules which would deprive those being investigated by the Commission of the rights to apprisal, confrontation, and cross-examination. The court's holding is best summarized by the following language from its opinion:

"[We] find nothing in the Act which expressly authorizes or permits the Commission's refusal to inform persons, under investigation for criminal conduct, of the nature, cause and source of the accusations against them, and there is nothing in the Act authorizing the Commission to deprive these persons of the right of confrontation and cross-examination." 177 F. Supp., at 822.

After thoroughly analyzing the Rules of Procedure contained in the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and the legislative history which led to the adoption of that Act, we are of the opinion that the court below erred in its conclusion and that Congress did authorize the Commission to adopt the procedures here in question.

It could not be said that Congress ignored the procedures which the Commission was to follow in conducting its hearings. Section 102 of the Civil Rights Act of 1957 lists a number of procedural rights intended to safeguard witnesses from potential abuses. Briefly summarized, the relevant subdivisions of Section 102 provide that the Chairman shall make an opening statement as to the subject of the hearing; that a copy of the Commission's rules shall be made available to witnesses; that witnesses "may be accompanied by their own counsel for the purpose of advising them concerning their constitutional rights"; that potentially defamatory, degrading, or incriminating testimony shall be received in executive session, and

[ 363 U.S. Page 432]

     that any person defamed, degraded, or incriminated by such testimony shall have an opportunity to appear voluntarily as a witness and to request the Commission to subpoena additional witnesses; that testimony taken in executive session shall be released only upon the consent of the Commission; and that witnesses may submit brief and pertinent sworn statements in writing for inclusion in the record.*fn12

[ 363 U.S. Page 433]

     The absence of any reference to apprisal, confrontation, and cross-examination, in addition to the fact that counsel's role is specifically limited to advising witnesses of their constitutional rights, creates a presumption that Congress did not intend witnesses appearing before the Commission to have the rights claimed by respondents. This initial presumption is strengthened beyond any

[ 363 U.S. Page 434]

     reasonable doubt by an investigation of the legislative history of the Act.

The complete story of the 1957 Act begins with the 1956 House Civil Rights Bill, H.R. 627. That bill was reported out of the House Judiciary Committee without any reference to the procedures to be used by the Commission in conducting its hearings. H.R. Rep. No. 2187, 84th Cong., 2d Sess. During the floor debate, Representative Dies of Texas introduced extensive amendments designed to regulate the procedure of Commission hearings. 102 Cong. Rec. 13542. Those amendments would have guaranteed to witnesses appearing before the Commission all of the rights claimed by the respondents in these cases. The amendments provided, in pertinent part, that a person who might be adversely affected by the testimony of another "shall be fully advised by the

[ 363 U.S. Page 435]

     Commission as to the matters into which the Commission proposes to inquire and the adverse material which is proposed to be presented"; that a person adversely affected by evidence or testimony given at a public hearing could "appear and testify or file a sworn statement in his own behalf"; that such a person could also "have the adverse witness recalled" within a stated time; and that he or his counsel could cross-examine adverse witnesses.*fn13

[ 363 U.S. Page 436]

     The bill, as finally passed by the House, contained all of the amendments proposed by Representative Dies. 102 Cong. Rec. 13998-13999. However, before further action could be taken, the bill died in the Senate. Although many proposals relating to civil rights were introduced in the 1957 Session of Congress, two bills became the prominent contenders for support. One was S. 83, a bill introduced by Senator Dirksen containing the same procedural provisions that the amended House bill in 1956 had contained. The other bill, H.R. 6127, was introduced by Representative Celler, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and this bill incorporated the so-called House "fair play" rules as the procedures which should govern the conduct of Commission hearings.*fn14 After extensive debate and hearings, H.R. 6127

[ 363 U.S. Page 437]

     was finally passed by both Houses of Congress, and the House "fair play" rules, which make no provision for advance notice, confrontation, or cross-examination, were adopted in preference to the more protective rules suggested in S. 83.*fn15

[ 363 U.S. Page 438]

     The legislative background of the Civil Rights Act not only provides evidence of congressional authorization, but it also distinguishes these cases from Greene v. McElroy, supra, upon which the court below relied so heavily. In Greene there was no express authorization by Congress or the President for the Department of Defense to adopt the type of security clearance program there involved. Nor was there any legislative history or executive directive indicating that the Secretary of Defense was authorized to establish a security clearance program which could deprive a person of his government employment on the basis of secret and undisclosed information. Therefore, we concluded in Greene that because of the serious constitutional problems presented, mere acquiescence by the President or the Congress would not be sufficient to constitute authorization

[ 363 U.S. Page 439]

     for the security clearance procedures adopted by the Secretary of Defense. The facts of this case present a sharp contrast to those before the Court in Greene. Here, we have substantially more than the mere acquiescence upon which the Government relied in Greene. There was a conscious, intentional selection by Congress of one bill, providing for none of the procedures demanded by respondents, over another bill, which provided for all of those procedures. We have no doubt that Congress' consideration and rejection of the procedures here at issue constituted an authorization to the Commission to conduct its hearings according to the Rules of Procedure it has adopted, and to deny to witnesses the rights of apprisal, confrontation, and cross-examination.

[ 363 U.S. Page 440]


The existence of authorization inevitably requires us to determine whether the Commission's Rules of Procedure are consistent with the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.*fn16

Since the requirements of due process frequently vary with the type of proceeding involved, e.g., compare Opp Cotton Mills, Inc. v. Administrator, 312 U.S. 126, 152, with Interstate Commerce Comm'n v. Louisville & N.R. Co., 227 U.S. 88, 91, we think it is necessary at the outset to ascertain both the nature and function of this Commission. Section 104 of the Civil Rights Act of 1957 specifies the duties to be performed by the Commission. Those duties consist of (1) investigating written, sworn allegations that anyone has been discriminatorily deprived of his right to vote; (2) studying and collecting information "concerning legal developments constituting a denial of equal protection of the laws under the Constitution"; and (3) reporting to the President and Congress on its activities, findings, and recommendations.*fn17 As is apparent

[ 363 U.S. Page 441]

     from this brief sketch of the statutory duties imposed upon the Commission, its function is purely investigative and fact-finding. It does not adjudicate. It does not hold trials or determine anyone's civil or criminal liability. It does not issue orders. Nor does it indict, punish, or impose any legal sanctions. It does not make determinations depriving anyone of his life, liberty, or property. In short, the Commission does not and cannot take any affirmative action which will affect an individual's legal rights. The only purpose of its existence is to find facts which may subsequently be used as the basis for legislative or executive action.

The specific constitutional question, therefore, is whether persons whose conduct is under investigation by a governmental agency of this nature are entitled, by virtue of the Due Process Clause, to know the specific charges that are being investigated, as well as the identity of the complainants,*fn18 and to have the right to cross-examine

[ 363 U.S. Page 442]

     those complainants and other witnesses. Although these procedures are very desirable in some situations, for the reasons which we shall now indicate, we are of the opinion that they are not constitutionally required in the proceedings of this Commission.

"Due process" is an elusive concept. Its exact boundaries are undefinable, and its content varies according to specific factual contexts. Thus, when governmental agencies adjudicate or make binding determinations which directly affect the legal rights of individuals, it is imperative that those agencies use the procedures which have traditionally been associated with the judicial process. On the other hand, when governmental action does not partake of an adjudication, as for example, when a general fact-finding investigation is being conducted, it is not necessary that the full panoply of judicial procedures be used. Therefore, as a generalization, it can be said that due process embodies the differing rules of fair play, which through the years, have become associated with differing types of proceedings. Whether the Constitution requires that a particular right obtain in a specific proceeding depends upon a complexity of factors. The nature of the alleged right involved, the nature of the proceeding, and the possible burden on that proceeding, are all considerations which must be taken into account. An analysis of these factors demonstrates why it is that the particular rights claimed by the respondents need not be conferred upon those appearing before purely investigative agencies, of which the Commission on Civil Rights is one.

It is probably sufficient merely to indicate that the rights claimed by respondents are normally associated only with adjudicatory proceedings, and that since the Commission does not adjudicate, it need not be bound by adjudicatory procedures. Yet, the respondents contend, and the court below implied, that such procedures

[ 363 U.S. Page 443]

     are required since the Commission's proceedings might irreparably harm those being investigated by subjecting them to public opprobrium and scorn, the distinct likelihood of losing their jobs, and the possibility of criminal prosecutions. That any of these consequences will result is purely conjectural. There is nothing in the record to indicate that such will be the case or that past Commission hearings have had any harmful effects upon witnesses appearing before the Commission. However, even if such collateral consequences were to flow from the Commission's investigations, they would not be the result of any affirmative determinations made by the Commission, and they would not affect the legitimacy of the Commission's investigative function.*fn19

On the other hand, the investigative process could be completely disrupted if investigative hearings were transformed into trial-like proceedings, and i persons who might be indirectly affected by an investigation were given an absolute right to cross-examine every witness called to testify. Fact-finding agencies without any power to adjudicate would be diverted from their legitimate duties and would be plagued by the injection of collateral issues that would make the investigation interminable. Even a person not called as a witness could demand the right to appear at the hearing, cross-examine any witness whose testimony or sworn affidavit allegedly defamed or incriminated him, and call an unlimited number of witnesses of

[ 363 U.S. Page 444]

     his own selection.*fn20 This type of proceeding would make a shambles of the investigation and stifle the agency in its gathering of facts.

In addition to these persuasive considerations, we think it is highly significant that the Commission's procedures are not historically foreign to other forms of investigation under our system. Far from being unique, the Rules of Procedure adopted by the Commission are similar to those which, as shown by the Appendix to this opinion,*fn21 have traditionally governed the proceedings of the vast majority of governmental investigating agencies.

A frequently used type of investigative agency is the legislative committee. The investigative function of such committees is as old as the Republic.*fn22 The volumes written about legislative investigations have proliferated almost as rapidly as the legislative committees themselves, and the courts have on more than one occasion been confronted with the legal problems presented by such committees.*fn23 The procedures adopted by legislative investigating

[ 363 U.S. Page 445]

     committees have varied over the course of years. Yet, the history of these committees clearly demonstrates that only infrequently have witnesses appearing before congressional committees been afforded the procedural rights normally associated with an adjudicative proceeding. In the vast majority of instances, congressional committees have not given witnesses detailed notice or an opportunity to confront, cross-examine and call other witnesses.*fn24

The history of investigations conducted by the executive branch of the Government is also marked by a decided absence of those procedures here in issue.*fn25 The best example is provided by the administrative regulatory agencies. Although these agencies normally make determinations of a quasi-judicial nature, they also frequently conduct purely fact-finding investigations. When doing the former, they are governed by the Administrative Procedure Act, 60 Stat. 237, 5 U.S.C. §§ 1001-1011, and the parties to the adjudication are accorded the traditional safeguards of a trial. However, when

[ 363 U.S. Page 446]

     these agencies are conducting nonadjudicative, fact-finding investigations, rights such as apprisal, confrontation, and cross-examination generally do not obtain.

A typical agency is the Federal Trade Commission. Its rules draw a clear distinction between adjudicative proceedings and investigative proceedings. 16 CFR, 1958 Supp., § 1.34. Although the latter are frequently initiated by complaints from undisclosed informants, id., §§ 1.11, 1.15, and although the Commission may use the information obtained during investigations to initiate adjudicative proceedings, id., § 1.42, nevertheless, persons summoned to appear before investigative proceedings are entitled only to a general notice of "the purpose and scope of the investigation," id., § 1.33, and while they may have the advice of counsel, "counsel may not, as a matter of right, otherwise participate in the investigation." Id., § 1.40. The reason for these rules is obvious. The Federal Trade Commission could not conduct an efficient investigation if persons being investigated were permitted to convert the investigation into a trial. We have found no authorities suggesting that the rules governing Federal Trade Commission investigations violate the Constitution, and this is understandable since any person investigated by the Federal Trade Commission will be accorded all the traditional judicial safeguards at a subsequent adjudicative proceeding, just as any person investigated by the Civil Rights Commission will have all of these safeguards, should some type of adjudicative proceeding subsequently be instituted.

Another regulatory agency which distinguishes between adjudicative and investigative proceedings is the Securities and Exchange Commission. This Commission conducts numerous investigations, many of which are initiated by complaints from private parties. 17 CFR § 202.4. Although the Commission's Rules provide that parties to adjudicative proceedings shall be given detailed

[ 363 U.S. Page 447]

     notice of the matters to be determined, id., 1959 Supp., § 201.3, and a right to cross-examine witnesses appearing at the hearing, id., § 201.5, those provisions of the Rules are made specifically inapplicable to investigations, id., § 201.20,*fn26 even though the Commission is required to

[ 363 U.S. Page 448]

     initiate civil or criminal proceedings if an investigation discloses violations of law.*fn27 Undoubtedly, the reason for this distinction is to prevent the sterilization of investigations by burdening them with trial-like procedures.

Another type of executive agency which frequently conducts investigations is the presidential commission. Although a survey of these commissions presents no definite pattern of practice, each commission has generally been permitted to adopt whatever rules of procedure seem appropriate to it,*fn28 and it is clear that many of the most famous presidential commissions have adopted rules similar to those governing the proceedings of the Civil Rights Commission.*fn29 For example, the Roberts Commission established in 1941 to ascertain the facts relating to the Japanese attack upon Pearl Harbor, and to determine whether the success of the attack resulted from any derelictions of duty on the part of American military personnel, did not permit any of the parties involved in the investigation to cross-examine other witnesses. In fact, many of the persons whose conduct was being investigated were not represented by counsel and were not present during the interrogation of other witnesses. Hearings before the Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack, 79th Cong., 1st Sess., pts. 22-25.

Having considered the procedures traditionally followed by executive and legislative investigating agencies, we think it would be profitable at this point to discuss the oldest and, perhaps, the best known of all investigative bodies, the grand jury. It has never been considered necessary to grant a witness summoned before the grand

[ 363 U.S. Page 449]

     jury the right to refuse to testify merely because he did not have access to the identity and testimony of prior witnesses. Nor has it ever been considered essential that a person being investigated by the grand jury be permitted to come before that body and cross-examine witnesses who may have accused him of wrongdoing. Undoubtedly, the procedural rights claimed by the respondents have not been extended to grand jury hearings because of the disruptive influence their injection would have on the proceedings, and also because the grand jury merely investigates and reports. It does not try.

We think it is fairly clear from this survey of various phases of governmental investigation that witnesses appearing before investigating agencies, whether legislative, executive, or judicial, have generally not been accorded the rights of apprisal, confrontation, or crossexamination. Although we do not suggest that the grand jury and the congressional investigating committee are identical in all respects to the Civil Rights Commission,*fn30 we mention them, in addition to the executive agencies and commissions created by Congress, to show that the rules of this Commission are not alien to those which have historically governed the procedure of investigations conducted by agencies in the three major branches of our Government. The logic behind this historical practice was recognized and described by Mr. Justice Cardozo's landmark opinion in Norwegian Nitrogen Products Co. v. United States, 288 U.S. 294. In that

[ 363 U.S. Page 450]

     case, the Court was concerned with the type of hearing that the Tariff Commission was required to hold when conducting its investigations. Specifically, the Court was asked to decide whether the Tariff Act of 1922, 42 Stat. 858, gave witnesses appearing before the Commission the right to examine confidential information in the Commission files and to cross-examine other witnesses testifying at Commission hearings. Although the Court did not phrase its holding in terms of due process, we think that the following language from Mr. Justice Cardozo's opinion is significant:

"The Tariff Commission advises; these others ordain. There is indeed this common bond that all alike are instruments in a governmental process which according to the accepted classification is legislative, not judicial. . . . Whatever the appropriate label, the kind of order that emerges from a hearing before a body with power to ordain is one that impinges upon legal rights in a very different way from the report of a commission which merely investigates and advises. The traditionary forms of hearing appropriate to the one body are unknown to the other. What issues from the Tariff Commission as a report and recommendation to the President, may be accepted, modified, or rejected. If it happens to be accepted, it does not bear fruit in anything that trenches upon legal rights." 288 U.S., at 318.

And in referring to the traditional practice of investigating bodies, Mr. Justice Cardozo had this to say:

"[Within] the meaning of this act the 'hearing' assured to one affected by a change of duty does not include a privilege to ransack the records of the Commission, and to subject its confidential agents to an examination as to all that they have learned. There

[ 363 U.S. Page 451]

     Likewise, in Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Comm. v. McGrath, 341 U.S. 123, 140-141, this Court held that the Attorney General's action constituted an adjudication. Finally, our decision last year in Greene v. McElroy lends little support to the respondents' position. The governmental action there reviewed was certainly of a judicial nature. The various Security Clearance Boards involved in Greene were not conducting an investigation; they were determining whether Greene could have a security clearance -- a license in a real sense, and one that had a significant impact upon his employment. By contrast, the Civil Rights Commission does not make any binding orders or issue "clearances" or licenses having legal effect. Rather, it investigates and reports leaving affirmative action, if there is to be any, to other governmental agencies where there must be action de novo.

The respondents have also contended that the Civil Rights Act of 1957 is inappropriate legislation under the Fifteenth Amendment. We have considered this argument, and we find it to be without merit. It would unduly lengthen this opinion to add anything to the District Court's disposition of this claim. See 177 F. Supp., at 819-821.

Respondents' final argument is that the Commission's hearings should be governed by Section 7 of the Administrative Procedure Act, 60 Stat. 241, 5 U.S.C. § 1006, which specifies the hearing procedures to be used by agencies falling within the coverage of the Act. One of those procedures is the right of every party to conduct "such cross-examination as may be required for a full and true disclosure of the facts." However, what the respondents fail to recognize is that Section 7, by its terms, applies only to proceedings under Section 4, 60 Stat. 238,5 U.S.C. § 1003 (rule making), and Section 5, 60 Stat.

[ 363 U.S. Page 453239]

     ,5 U.S.C. § 1004 (adjudications), of the Act. As we have already indicated, the Civil Rights Commission performs none of the functions specified in those sections.

From what we have said, it is obvious that the District Court erred in both cases in enjoining the Commission from holding its Shreveport hearing. The court's judgments are accordingly reversed, and the cases are remanded with direction to vacate the injunctions.

Reversed and remanded.

[For opinion of MR. JUSTICE FRANKFURTER, concurring in the result, ...

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