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United States v. Nixon

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 506 U.S. 224

Brief Fact Summary. The special prosecutor in the Watergate scandal subpoenaed tape recordings made of President Nixon (the “President”) discussing the scandal with some of his advisers. The President claimed executive privilege as his basis for refusing to turn over the tapes.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. Although a President deserves great deference regarding his Article II constitutional privilege, that privilege is not absolute and must be balanced against other constitutional interests.


Facts. The special prosecutor in the Watergate scandal subpoenaed the tape recordings of conversations involving the President and his advisers regarding the scandal. The President’s counsel moved to quash the subpoena citing Article II of the United States Constitution (the “Constitution”) and its grant of privilege to the President. The President’s counsel also argued it was a non-justiciable question because it was a disagreement between parts of the executive branch.

Issue. Is the President’s Article II constitutional privilege absolute?

Content Type: Brief


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