Washington Law Review


Professor Raveson previously argued that the Constitution limits the contempt power to the punishment of actual obstructions of the administration of justice. In this Article, he maintains that any standard for defining contempt that is less restrictive than actual obstruction or the imminent threat of obstruction would be unconstitutionally overbroad. In addition, Professor Raveson discusses the inevitable imprecision that inheres even in the actual obstruction standard for contempt. He explains that the appropriate division between permissible advocacy and contempt must reflect a balance between the frequently conflicting goals of a trial in order to maximize the value of these interests to the system of justice as a whole. Finally, Professor Raveson suggests a number of variables that can assist to define and balance these competing interests, as well as provide greater certainty to the bench and bar in determining whether particular conduct is contemptuous.

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