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

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

Preface

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-

-xi-

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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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