In addition to stamps, postage franking can be in the form of printed or stamped impressions made in an authorized format and applied directly by a franking machine, postage meter, computer generated franking labels or other similar methods ("Postage Evidencing Systems"),[8] any form of preprinted "postage paid" notice authorized by a postal service permit ("Indicia"),[9] or any other marking method accepted by the postal service and specified by its regulations, as proof of the prepayment of the appropriate fees. [24] The sitting president does not have personal franking privileges but the vice president, who is also President of the Senate, does. [7] The first US postage stamp was the red brown Five cent Franklin (SC-1) issued in 1847. To learn more, visit our Cookies page. Since then, the franking of congressional mail has been subject to ongoing review and regulation. Though U.S. presidents have claimed a right to confidentiality in the face of congressional demands virtually since the founding of the republic, the U.S. Supreme Court first recognized executive privilege in 1974 in the endgame to the Watergate scandal, when President Richard Nixon, claiming absolute protection of all presidential communications, tried to withhold audio tapes of Oval Office meetings and other evidence demanded by a special prosecutor. A formal resolution alleging criminal contempt, if passed by the full House, wouldn’t go anywhere further without the involvement of a U.S. attorney -- one of the lead federal prosecutors around the country who report to the Justice Department, which is headed by Barr. For the first time, this Article sets out the full extent of the executive branch’s doctrine, the various pieces of which have been expressed in OLC opinions, letters to Congress, and court filings. See note 8 infra. Even if the case were then pursued in court, history suggests there would be a legal battle that could play out for years -- especially since Trump has invoked executive privilege over the documents Congress is requesting. It’s a misdemeanor defined in the U.S. federal legal code as when a witness summoned by Congress "to give testimony or to produce papers" refuses "to answer any question pertinent to the question under inquiry." The privilege is supposed to provide a safe space for presidents to get candid advice from aides without the concern that they’ll later be called to testify. Further, this understanding of the privilege provides a theoretical foundation to explain why it does not apply in impeachment, a position consistent with the historical understanding of Congress’s broad powers of inquiry during impeachments and subsequent trials. 4 President Kennedy's definition of the procedures which qualified for executive privilege left those assertions of privilege which did not qualify in the separate agency privilege category. [2] Although there are differences in the manner that the postal systems of the 191 nations[3] that belong to the Universal Postal Union (UPU) apply and regulate the way their mails are franked, most mails fall under one (and sometimes more) of four major types and/or methods of franking: postage (stamps, etc. Even as it rejected Nixon’s specific argument, the court agreed that a president generally does have an interest in maintaining White House secrecy. In the United States this is called the "Congressional frank" which can only be used for "Official Business" mail. Individuals may send letters to any of the above office-holders without charge.[16]. In the United States, unless otherwise designated, such mails are serviced by both the military and civil postal systems that accept them as First Class letter mail.[14]. When the House or Senate believes it’s being wrongly rebuffed, it can vote to hold a person in contempt of Congress. In that vacuum—unconstrained by precedent—the executive branch has developed a comprehensive theory of executive privilege to support and implement prophylactic doctrines that render Congress largely powerless in oversight disputes. Congress members would spend much time "inscribing their names on the upper right-hand corner of official letters and packages" until the 1860s for the purpose of sending out postage free mail. [25], In New Zealand, individuals (though not organisations) writing to a Member of Parliament can do so without paying for postage. ), privilege, official business, and business reply mail. [18] Such mails are generally serviced as First Class Mail (or equivalent) unless otherwise designated (such as "bulk" mailings). The use of a franking privilege is not absolute but is generally limited to official business, constituent bulk mails, and other uses as prescribed by law, such as the "Congressional Frank" afforded to Members of Congress in the United States. 70 Duke Law Journal 1 (2020), Available at SSRN: If you need immediate assistance, call 877-SSRNHelp (877 777 6435) in the United States, or +1 212 448 2500 outside of the United States, 8:30AM to 6:00PM U.S. Eastern, Monday - Friday. [26], "Postage Payment Methods U.S. 3401(a) U.S. [23] Among the Commission's responsibilities is to establish the "Official Mail Allowance" for each Member based proportionally on the number of constituents they serve. (countable) A particular benefit, advantage, or favor; a right or immunity enjoyed by some but not others; a prerogative, preferential treatment. Have a confidential tip for our reporters? America’s founders didn’t include a power of investigation in the U.S. Constitution. Shaub, Jonathan David, The Executive's Privilege (October 1, 2020). Both Congress’s oversight authority and executive privilege are recognized as implied constitutional authorities. Congress asserts its subpoenas are legally binding. Contempt of Congress was the grounds for one of the three articles of impeachment against Nixon approved by the House Judiciary Committee in 1974. Keywords: executive privilege, constitutional law, congress, oversight, impeachment, Suggested Citation: Understanding executive privilege as a limited immunity—and severing the privilege from the undifferentiated confidentiality interests and broad categories of information with which the executive branch has conflated it—eliminates the prophylactic doctrines on which the executive branch relies to thwart legitimate congressional oversight. But rather than infer two competing affirmative authorities, this Article proposes to infer a limit—presidential immunity—on the first. (There’s also a civil -- noncriminal -- version of contempt.). This is a type of confidentiality privilege limited to a president and his or her immediate aides. Existing scholarship largely ignores this doctrine and addresses executive privilege on the basis of two unexamined premises: first, that the privilege is an affirmative constitutional authority belonging to the president, and, second, that the privilege is akin to an evidentiary privilege that protects specified categories of information. In Italy, mail sent to the President was free of charge until this franking privilege was abolished in 1999. "Postage" franking is the physical application and presence of postage stamps, or any other markings recognized and accepted by the postal system or systems providing service, which indicate the payment of sufficient fees for the class of service which the item of mail is to be or had been afforded. In Canada, the monarch, the Governor General, members of the Senate of Canada, members of the House of Commons, the Clerk of the House of Commons, Parliamentary Librarian, Associate Parliamentary Librarian, officers of parliament, and the Senate Ethics Officer all have franking privilege and mails sent to or from these people are sent free of charge. "Business Reply Mail" (BRM) franking is a preprinted frank with a Permit number which authorizes items so marked to be posted as First Class Mail with the authorizing postal service without advance payment by the person posting the item. Suggested Citation, 620 S. Limestone StreetLexington, KY 40506-0048United States859.562.3183 (Phone), HOME PAGE: http://https://law.uky.edu/directory/jonathan-david-shaub, U.S. [10], "Privilege" franking is a personally pen-signed or printed facsimile signature of a person[11] with a "franking privilege" such as certain government officials (especially legislators) and others designated by law or Postal Regulations. Types of franks include uncanceled and precanceled postage stamps (both adhesive and printed on postal stationery), impressions applied via postage meter (via so-called "postage evidencing systems"), official use "Penalty" franks, Business Reply Mail (BRM), and other permit Imprints (Indicia), manuscript and facsimile "franking privilege" signatures, "soldier's mail" markings, and any other forms authorized by the 191 postal administrations that are members of the Universal Postal Union.[1]. The U.S. Constitution says the president "shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors." This allows the letter or other parcel to be sent without the application of a postage stamp. "Official Business" franking is any frank printed on or affixed to mails which are designated as being for official business of national governments (i.e. Certain other persons are also accorded the privilege such as Members-elect and former presidents and their spouse or widow as well. branch privilege required presidential participation. Governments also use BRM to permit replies associated with official business purposes.[19][20]. While all affixed postage stamps and other markings applied to mail to qualify it for postal service is franking, not all types and methods are used to frank all types or classes of mails. In the United States, the franking privilege predates the establishment of the republic itself, as the Continental Congress bestowed it on its members in 1775. Postage fees for BRM are paid by the permit holder upon its delivery to the specified address authorized by the permit and preprinted on the item of business reply mail. Any and all conflicts that might arise affecting the franking of mails serviced by multiple administrations which result from differences in these various postal regulations and/or practices are mediated by the UPU, a specialized agency of the United Nations which sets the rules and technical standards for international mail exchanges.

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