U.S. vs. Nixon
Transcript U.S. vs. Nixon
U.S. Vs. Nixon
Michael and Ryan Fischer
Major political scandal that occurred in the United
States in the 1970s as a result of the June 17, 1972
break-in at the Democratic National Committee (DNC)
headquarters at the Watergate office
complex in Washington, D.C.
Scandal was a result of the Nixon administration’s
attempted cover-up of its involvement.
Watergate Scandal Continued
The scandal led to the discovery of multiple
abuses of power by the Nixon administration,
articles of impeachment, and the resignation
of Richard Nixon, the President of the United
States, on August 9, 1974
The affair began with the arrest of five men
for breaking and entering the DNC
headquarters in the Watergate office complex on
June 17, 1972
It was revealed that President Nixon had a tape-recording system in
his offices and that he had recorded many conversations
Government Investigators wanted to investigate the tapes but Nixon
refused to turn them over, causing the issue to be taken to court
A grand jury returned indictments against seven of
President Richard Nixon's closest aides in the
The special prosecutor appointed by Nixon and the
defendants sought audio tapes of conversations
recorded by Nixon in the Oval Office
Nixon asserted that he was immune from the
subpoena claiming "executive privilege," which is
the right to withhold information from other
government branches to preserve confidential
communications within the executive branch or to
secure the national interest
Does the separation of powers created by the Constitution
provide the President with an absolute power to withhold
information from other branches of government?
Also, If the power is not absolute, should President Nixon be
able to claim executive privilege under the aforementioned
Does the separation of powers allow for the settlement of this
dispute to reside in the executive branch or should it be
settled by the judicial branch?
Does the claim of executive privilege damage the precedent
set by the 5th Amendment, which ensures due process?
Parties: United States
The President's power to claim executive
privilege is not an absolute one. Executive
privilege may not be invoked to deny the
courts access to evidence needed in a
criminal proceeding. This is a dispute that
can properly be heard in the federal
United States Government
The constitutional scheme of separation of
powers grants to the President the privilege
of withholding information from the other
branches of government. Furthermore, this
power is absolute, and it is vital where highlevel communications are involved. In
addition, this dispute should be resolved
within the executive branch, not by the
The case was appealed and quickly found its
way to the supreme court
Nixon claimed that the tapes he was
demanded to reveal were covered by
“executive privilege”, which the District Court
disagreed with causing Nixon to appeal the
The United States Federal Supreme Court
had jurisdiction over the case because it
involved the US constitution and United
States cabinet members
Decision: 8 votes for United States, 0
Legal provision: US Const. Art. II
The president was ordered to turn tapes over by May
Both Nixon and Jaworski appealed directly to the
Supreme Court which heard arguments on July 8.
Nixon's attorney argued the matter should not be
subject to "judicial resolution" since the matter was a
dispute within the executive branch and the branch
should resolve the dispute itself.
Also, he claimed Special Prosecutor Jaworski had not
proven the requested materials were absolutely
necessary for the trial of the seven men.
Besides, he claimed Nixon had an absolute executive
privilege to protect communications between "high
Government officials and those who advise and assist
them in carrying out their duties."
Why is this a landmark case?
First of all, it had to do with the President
of the United States.
Solved the issue over how much power
the president really has, and showed that
the president does not get any acceptions.