"We Have a Duty": The Supreme Court and the Watergate Tapes Litigation

By Howard Ball; Paul L. Murphy | Go to book overview

3
The Supreme Court in 1974: Personae, Process, and Politics

Richard M. Nixon ran for the presidency in 1968 with what one scholar labeled the "hot campaign issue: the Supreme Court." 1 He ran against not only the Democratic candidate, Hubert Humphrey, but also against chief justice of the United States Earl Warren and the super chief's liberal allies on the high bench. Said Nixon, in July, 1968, on the campaign trail: "I believe in a strict interpretation of the Supreme Court's functions. In essence this means I believe we need a Court which looks upon its functions as being that of interpretation rather than of breaking through into new areas that are really the prerogative of the Congress of the United States."2

In part, Nixon's campaign strategy was to run against an attitude of the Court that had existed throughout the Warren years. That judicial feeling was "that somehow it is the Court's special obligation to save the nation from episodes of constitutional crisis." 3 (Ironically, that attitude pervaded the conference sessions held during the months of May through July 1974 and, even though it was known as Nixon's Court or the Burger

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"We Have a Duty": The Supreme Court and the Watergate Tapes Litigation
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Exhibits ix
  • Preface xi
  • 1 - The Supreme Court in the Political System 1
  • Notes 13
  • 2 - The Watergate Scandal Unfolds 21
  • Notes 34
  • 3 - The Supreme Court in 1974: Personae, Process, and Politics 39
  • Notes 57
  • 4 - The Critical Issues: Separation of Powers, Executive Privilege, and Judicial Review (revisited) 61
  • Notes 69
  • 5 - U.S. V. Nixon, I: The Duty to Hear the Case 73
  • Notes 91
  • 6 - U.S. V. Nixon, Ii: Written Briefs and Oral Arguments 95
  • Notes 106
  • 7 - U.S. V. Nixon, Iii: The Substantive Debate Among the Brethren 111
  • Notes 137
  • 8 - Executive Privilege: The Court's Fashioning of an Inherent Presidential Power 143
  • Notes 150
  • Selected Bibliography 153
  • Index 161
  • About the Author 165
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