Rep. Charles Rangel went to a federal appeals court Thursday to try to have his 2010 censure from fellow members of Congress expunged, arguing the committee that investigated him was racist and violated his constitutional rights.

A lower court judge has already tossed Mr. Rangel’s case, arguing that his colleagues who censured him for evading taxes were protected by the Constitution’s Speech and Debate Clause, which allows lawmakers to engage in their duties without having to worry about being sued.

But with Mr. Rangel looking on from the front row, his lawyer, Jay Goldberg, told a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that the Speech and Debate clause can’t be used to justify when Congress tramples on an individual’s due process rights.

“These are not procedural irregularities. These are of constitutional magnitude,” Mr. Goldberg said, recounting problems he said tainted the investigative committee that looked into Mr. Rangel’s behavior.

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