Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations v. Ferrer, No. 16-5232 (D.C. Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Appellant challenged two district court orders directing him to produce various documents in response to a subpoena issued by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. While the appeal was pending, appellant turned over some of the documents and the Subcommittee completed its investigation, issuing a final report. The DC Circuit held that the case was moot because the relief appellant seeks is barred by the separation of powers. The court explained that the separation of powers, including the Speech or Debate Clause, barred the court from ordering a congressional committee to return, destroy, or refrain from publishing the subpoenaed documents. Furthermore, there was no reasonable expectation that the Subcommittee, having completed its work and issued its final report, will nonetheless reopen its investigation and again issue a subpoena to appellant. Accordingly, the DC Circuit vacated the district court's judgments and dismissed the case as moot.