A Privilege or a Principle
The Watergate Hotel is one of the most luxurious hotels in the U.S. However, it was the site of the infamous Watergate scandal in 1972 that led to the case of U.S. v. Nixon. The U.S. v. Nixon case tested the power of the president and his confidential communications with his aides. It was also a matter of protecting executive privilege and whether the other governmental branches can interfere with each other’s issues. Although the case mainly involved the president and his aides, the case also changed how presidential decisions affect our daily lives. The scandal started when five burglars were caught breaking into the Watergate Hotel in Washington D.C. which was serving as the Democratic National Committee Headquarters in 1972. During the congressional hearings about the break-in scandal, it was found that President Nixon had a tape-recording device installed in the Oval Office. The tapes were wanted by the special prosecutor in charge of the case. Nixon then had the prosecutor removed from his job. The next prosecutor also requested to see the tapes. A federal court judge then stepped in and stated that President Nixon had to hand over the tapes recordings. In response to this, the President released shortened and edited versions of the tapes. However, these weren’t good enough to meet the court order. The President was ordered by the United States District Court to hand over the complete tapes. The special prosecutor then requested the Supreme Court to hear the case and help settle the issue. Before the Supreme Court, Nixon’s lawyers argued that the tapes were protected by the President’s executive privilege and that the President can determine if they can be released to the public or to the other branches of government. However, the Department of Justice argued that Nixon could be using executive privilege to cover up his information about illegal activities. The Department of Justice also stated that this could be a...
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