United States v. Nixon


The landmark case of United States v. Nixon grew out of the June 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C., and the Nixon administration's attempted cover-up of its involvement. The special prosecutor in charge of investigating the case issued a subpoena ordering President Richard Nixon to release audiotapes and papers related to meetings between the president and four Nixon aides indicted by the grand jury. Refusing the prosecutor's demands, President Nixon publicly stated that he would abide only by a definitive decision of the Supreme Court. Rejecting Nixon’s claim of presidential immunity, the Court’s unanimous 8–0 ruling, handed down in July 1974, is considered an important precedent in limiting the powers of the executive branch; it led directly to Nixon’s resignation in August of that year.

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Warren E. Burger (Library of Congress)

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