U.S. v. Nixon, III: The Substantive Debate among the Brethren
At the conclusion of the oral argument, the justices of the Court entered the critical group phase, the Conference Session, that was followed by the equally important opinion-creation time. Faced with some severe time constraints (the impending impeachment action in the House of Representatives), the brethren had to gear up for some serious consultations. They also needed to act quickly because the chief justice would probably want to write the opinion for the Court.
In the July 9 Conference Session, convened a day after the oral arguments, the justices unanimously agreed that there was jurisdiction to hear the case and that it was a justiciable controversy. There was some agreement about the Rule 17c application, although Justice Powell wrote that "we were not entirely in agreement as to the standard to be met in overcoming the privilege."1 There was agreement that executive privilege did