United States v. Nixon

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United States v. Nixon, was a landmark United States Supreme Court decision. It resulted in a unanimous 8-0 ruling against President Richard Nixon and was important to the late stages of the Watergate scandal. It is considered a crucial precedent limiting the power of any US president.


  • "The President wants me to argue that he is as powerful a monarch as Louis XIV, only four years at a time, and is not subject to the processes of any court in the land except the court of impeachment." — James D. St. Clair, Richard Nixon's counsel, arguing before the Supreme Court
  • "Mr. St. Clair, what public interest is there in preserving secrecy with respect to a criminal conspiracy?" —Justice Lewis Powell during oral arguments
  • "Neither the doctrine of separation of powers, nor the need for confidentiality of high-level communications, without more, can sustain an absolute, unqualified Presidential privilege of immunity from judicial process under all circumstances. The President's need for complete candor and objectivity from advisors calls for great deference from the courts. However, when the privilege depends solely on the broad, undifferentiated claim of public interest in the confidentiality of such conversations, a confrontation with other values arises."—Chief Justice Warren Burger
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