a ruling against the President but almost irresistibly pressing for it."33 It was manifestly clear, from the evidence in the justices' files, that the justices were aware of that reality and that they acted with dispatch to fulfill their "duty to end the Watergate crisis." 34
However credible or noble that action of the Court might have been at the time, the simple truth is that in their commitment to come to judgment quickly, a majority of the justices accepted the arguments of the Nixon attorneys that executive privilege was constitutionally based. It would have been enough for the Court to have ended the crisis; the justices did not have to create a broad constitutional executive privilege.
The precedent, however, has been established. While there was some discussion about executive privilege, there should have been a great deal more reflection and analysis by the judges before the creation of the constitutional privilege. (Between May 31 and July 24, 1974, many strongly held views were expressed--and modified--by the justices, except for the executive privilege principle.) The Court ended the 1974 presidential crisis of Watergate, but by employing interpretive judicial review to define the contours of Article II, it may well have set the stage for future constitutional crises.