United States v. Nixon Answer Key
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United States v. Nixon | BRI’s Homework Help Series
Can the President of the United States withhold certain information from Congress and the courts? During the Watergate Scandal, President Richard Nixon attempted to withhold recording tapes from the White House from investigators. The Supreme Court’s ruling would have huge impacts on the system of checks and balances within the United States' governing system.
Reading United States v. Nixon Case Excerpts
Can the president of the United States withhold certain pieces of information from legislative and judicial oversight? In this episode of BRI’s Primary Source Close Reads, Joshua Schmid is joined by Dr. Josh Dunn as they break down excerpts from the case of United States v. Nixon relating to the question of executive privilege. How did the Watergate Scandal lead to this Supreme Court case? Is the president’s right to safeguard certain information entirely immune from judicial power?
Richard Nixon and the Watergate Scandal
In 1974, Richard M. Nixon became the only President in US history to resign from the presidency. After administration operatives were caught breaking into the Democratic Party headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, DC, Nixon covered up the crime. A Congressional investigation produced a stunning revelation: The Oval Office had a recording system that taped all the President’s conversations. The tapes could prove whether Nixon himself had ordered the cover-up. The Supreme Court rejected Nixon’s claim that executive privilege allowed him to withhold the tapes. With members of his own Republican Party turning against him and the House drawing up impeachment charges that were sure to pass, Nixon resigned the presidency on August 9. The events raised serious questions about the definition, use, and abuse of executive authority.
The Resignation of Richard Nixon
Shortly before Richard Nixon was re-elected President in 1972, individuals connected with his re-election campaign were arrested while breaking into Democratic Party Headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington DC. Nixon was re- elected by an overwhelming margin, but questions surrounding his knowledge of the break-in, and his attempt to cover it up would not go away. During these investigations, Nixon’s Vice President, Spiro Agnew, was forced to resign on unrelated corruption charges. According to the Twenty-Fifth Amendment, the President must nominate a new Vice President when that office becomes vacant, and both houses of Congress must approve that Vice President. Because few in Congress believed that Nixon’s presidency would survive, key members of Congress told Nixon to nominate as Vice President a distinguished Republican Member of Congress, Gerald Ford. After Nixon’s resignation, Ford was sworn in as President and made the extremely unpopular decision of issuing Nixon a full pardon “for all offences against the United States.”
United States v. Nixon (1974)
Case background and primary source documents concerning the Supreme Court case of United States v. Nixon. Dealing with the principle of separation of powers, this lesson focuses on the question of whether or not the Constitution’s separation of powers intended to create an absolute executive privilege.