The opinion of the court was delivered by: GESELL
On separate applications of Howard University and George Washington University, the United States District Court issued Temporary Restraining Orders on May 6, 1969, and May 19, 1969, respectively, enjoining acts that threatened the regular activities of these educational institutions. When the Court was later advised that these Orders had not been fully obeyed, United States Marshals were instructed to make appropriate arrests. Among those arrested and ordered to show cause why they should not be held in criminal contempt under 18 U.S.C. § 402 were two juveniles, one a student at Howard and the other a student at George Washington. By separate motions they challenged the jurisdiction of the Court, asserting that in the District of Columbia exclusive jurisdiction over juveniles rests in the Juvenile Court by statute. The motions were heard together. A matter of first impression is presented.
The Temporary Restraining Orders were broadly framed to deal with conditions of unrest on the campuses. Each University invoked the Court's aid so that those desiring an education could receive it without molestation from others who were ignoring orders of duly constituted University authorities. The Orders were issued to keep University facilities open and to free non-participating students and the faculty from improper interference. The Orders applied to students and non-students whether adults or juveniles without exception.
The suggestion now made that another court is the proper court to discipline any persons charged with violating this Court's orders is unacceptable. The inherent power of a court, particularly a court of equity such as this, to punish for contempt of its lawful processes cannot be questioned. This power is essential to the proper conduct of the judicial function and without it a court would be unable to preserve decorum or assert its authority by order or decree. As was stated In Re Debs, 158 U.S. 564 at 594-595, 15 S. Ct. 900 at 910, 39 L. Ed. 1092 (1895):
Other authorities to the same general effect are numerous. See Myers v. United States, 264 U.S. 95, 44 S. Ct. 272, 68 L. Ed. 577 (1924); Bessette v. W. B. Conkey Co., 194 U.S. 324, 24 S. Ct. 665, 48 L. Ed. 997 (1904); Ex Parte Robinson, 86 U.S. (19 Wall) 505, 22 L. Ed. 205 (1874); Ex Parte Bradley, 74 U.S. (7 Wall) 364, 19 L. Ed. 214 (1869).
This inherent authority over contempt is rooted in the common law and has been recognized in this country since early Colonial times. Indeed, the United States Code itself is explicit on the point, providing in Title 18 U.S.C. § 401 that:
A court of the United States shall have power to punish by fine or imprisonment, at its discretion, such contempt of its authority, and none other, as
(3) Disobedience or resistance to its lawful writ, process, order, rule, decree, or command.
Defendant's base their challenge to the Court's jurisdiction upon the following provisions of the District of Columbia Code establishing the Juvenile Court.
Section 11-1551(a)(1)(A) of the D.C.Code states:
(a) Except as herein otherwise provided, the Juvenile Court has original and exclusive jurisdiction of ...