United States v. Nixon (1974)
During the trial of those who had been accused of the 1972 break-in at the Watergate Complex, the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee, it was discovered that President Nixon had been taping conversations in the Oval Office. A subpoena was issued for these tapes but the President refused to turn them over on grounds of "executive privilege." The Supreme Court heard the case. Nixon's lawyer argued that the issue at stake was the philosophy of separation of powers while the prosecutor argued that if the President is wrong in how he reads the Constitution, who is going to tell him? The Court unanimously decided against the President stating that even he had to stand trial in some circumstances. An ironic note to this case is that the Chief Justice Burger, who delivered the Court's decision, was Nixon's personal choice for Chief Justice.
Copyright © 1997 Jonathan Chin & Alan Stern