United States v. Nixon

Major Issue?

In 1972, President Richard Nixon was running for reelection against Senator George McGovern. Five months before the election, an alert security guard found five men armed with cameras and bugging equipment, they were arrested inside the Democratic National Committee's offices in the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. Police soon discovered that the burglars worked, directly or indirectly, for the Committee to Re-Elect the President. Nixon refused to turn the tapes over to Congress, claiming the tapes were covered by "executive privilege." He claimed that the President had the right to privileged communication that could not be looked at by any other branch of the government. The District Court ruled against Nixon. The President appealed and the case quickly reached the Supreme Court.


"United States v. Nixon, 1974." Http://www.phschool.com/. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2015.


"President Richard Nixon." Watergate. Web. 8 Dec. 2015. <http://presidentnixonandwatergate.weebly.com/president-richard-nixon.html>.

How Did U.S and Law Change?

The United States v. Nixon firmly established limited the power of the president after the Watergate scandal happened. The president cannot use executive privilege as an excuse to withhold evidence that is 'demonstrably relevant in a criminal trial. The case also made many Americans distrust U.S powers.

Important Information

The Supreme Court said that under the Constitution, the judiciary had the final voice, not the Executive branch. As for "executive privilege," the Court acknowledged that the President had a right to privileged communication where certain areas of national security were concerned. However, the Court stated that this case did not meet those conditions. Nixon handed over the tapes that revealed that he had personally engaged in the cover-up of the burglary. Congress began impeachment proceedings against the President for his actions. Rather than face the impeachment hearings, Nixon resigned from office.



"United States v. Nixon (1974)." Infoplease. Sandbox Networks, Inc, n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2015.

Big image