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

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

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

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

Synopsis

This unique study of the Watergate scandal analyzes the U.S. vs. Nixon case from the perspective of the Supreme Court justices. Using original interviews and letters from the Justices, as well as conference notes and docket sheets of selected Court members, Ball explores the constitutional issues that faced the Court and the way in which they arrived at an institutional opinion. Discussions of the role of the federal judiciary in the political system, the concept of judicial review, and the Court's processes and personnel put the case into perspective.

Excerpt

This book is an effort to examine and analyze the way in which the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court grappled with a political and constitutional issue of enormous proportions that had plagued the national and the international communities for over two years. That issue, of course, was the political and legal events surrounding the abortive break-in (and subsequent coverup) of the Democratic National Party headquarters in the Watergate Complex in Washington, D.C., in June 1972.

In the recounting of the dramatic tragedy of Watergate from the perspective of the justices, the book uses a number of original sources. These include interviews with some of the brethren, letters from the justices, and, most important, the conference notes and docket sheets of some of the justices, especially Justices William J. Brennan, Jr. and William O. Douglas. Using these materials, along with some other important secondary sources, there is the retelling of the Watergate Tapes litigation story from the perspective of the justices who sat and struggled with the litigation at the time.

In order to tell this inside story of the Nixon case in a mean-

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