S: Court Cases Project :: Nixon Versus United States :: Ansell, Brown, & Mortazavi
BC: Ansell, Brown, & Mortazavi
FC: Nixon Versus United States | Court Cases Project | Ansell, Brown, & Mortazavi
1: Table of Contents | Page 2...... I. Background Page 8...... II. Path to the Supreme Court Page 9...... The Nixon Timeline Page 10..... III. The Court Case Page 20..... IV. Aftermath Page 24..... V. Citations
2: Nixon was sworn into office on January 20, 1969 serving under the Republican Party. Nixon was a likable President up until The Vietnam War. Students, the minority group, began fearlessly protesting this war demanding troops to come home. Instead of soothing this huge group of protesters, he made ignorant remarks calling them “bums” which only agitated this group of people more. The only people on his side were families, elderly, or “settled-down” couples. | I. Background
3: Nixon didn't want to lose this war and refused to be seen as a failure, but sooner than later, he ended up withdrawing and bringing these troops home. Worried about his appearance and social status about the Presidency, he became very anxious and panicky about possibly not winning the next election when in reality his polls for winning were skyrocketing. This caused President Nixon to go overboard when he decided to do something so unpresidential that will go down in the history books.
4: Nixon did the unthinkable when he created a group of his own men who worked in the White House named “The Plumbers”. This group of high officials were to stop the leaking of classified information to the news media. Its members then branched into illegal activities working for the Committee to Reelect the President also known as CREEPS which led to Watergate Break In and Watergate Scandal.
5: The Plumbers' first task was the burglary of the office of Daniel Ellsberg's Los Angeles psychiatrist, Lewis J. Fielding, in an effort to uncover evidence to discredit Ellsberg, who had leaked the Pentagon Papers. The operation was reportedly unsuccessful in finding the file and reported to the White House. Eventually, the case against Ellsberg was dismissed due to government misconduct. It was not until the second time The Plumbers were caught which made National Headline News. Five men were arrested for breaking and entering into the Democratic national Convention Committee Headquarters at the Watergate Complex on June 17, 1972.
6: In July 1973, evidence became arising against the president's staff. This included testimony provided by former staff members in an investigation conducted by the Senate Watergate Committee, it was discovered that Nixon had a tape –recording system in his office which recorded many conversations that revealed his attempt to cover up the break –in. | The FBI connected cash found on these burglars to a slush fund used by the CREEPS, the fundraising group for the Nixon Campaign.
7: After a long-drawn-out series of harsh court battles, the U.S Supreme Court ruled that the President had to hand over the tapes to government investigators which made him comply. It was almost certain Nixon would face in impeachment in the House of Representatives and high possibilities of a conviction in the Senate, making Nixon resigned the presidency on August 9, 1974.
8: II. Path to the Supreme Court | Due to the high-profile nature of the case, and the fact it dealt with the president, this case went straight to the supreme court.
9: The Nixon Timeline | 1969 - Inauguration 1971 - Issues with the Pentagon Papers 1972 - The Watergate Break-in; Nixon Reelected 1973 - Information leaks out, Downhill spiral of administration; tapes are requested and Nixon resists to give them up. 1974 - Supreme Court Case is heard, Tapes are demanded and some released, Nixon convicted and resigns, Ford pardons all crimes by Nixon
10: III. The Court Case | The case began with Nixon refusing to grant the supreme court's request to turn over the tapes from Nixon's white house taping system, claiming "executive privilege".
11: Judge Sirica ruled that Nixon was bound by Judical Order, and that he was required to reproduce the tapes. It was also ruled that the tapes would be reviewed privately to see if they contained evidence for the case. Nixon appealed the ruling, opening the "Nixon v. Sirica" Case. The Court ruled 5-2, siding with Sirica after much debate.
12: Archibald Cox was the Judge appointed to review the tapes. Nixon really did not want to turn over his tapes, so he pleaded to give Cox transcripts instead. Cox turned down the offer, insisting that the tapes be handed over. | COX | RICHARDSON | BORK
13: Attorney General Richardson, who was the only one who could fire cox, was pressured to do so by those in the white house. Richardson refused to do so and resigned. Richardson's duties fell upon Deputy Attorney General Ruckelshaus, who was also pressured to fire Cox. Ruckelshaus also refused and resigned. Robert Bork was assigned to be the acting department head and fired Cox. | Judge Sirica | This is called the Saturday Night Massacre
14: Nixon's Secretary, Rose Mary Woods, claimed that she "accidentally erased" a very important segment of a tape including a conversation Nixon had with someone about the Watergate break-in. | .1972. | This and several other incidents involving the tapes not only hurt Nixon's public image, but they also did not bode well with his relationship with the Supreme Court | But | Nixon still manages to get reelected.
15: Those involved in the Watergate Break-in were convicted with criminal charges. | While the court was interested in Watergate and Nixon's taping system, the supreme court was mainly concerned about the issues of Judicial Review and Executive Privilege, for as we know, the Supreme Court deals primarily with constitutionality. | United States v. Nixon Petitioner: United States Respondent: Richard Nixon
16: Oral Arguments | Because of the complexity of the issue, 90 minutes for each side were granted instead of the typical 30. | .1974. | Reaching a Decision | The Court decided much faster than normal. A day after the oral arguments, July 9, the justices met to cast their votes. Chief Justice Warren Burger wrote the Court's Opinion.
17: The Court's landmark decision was given in four parts to an eager crowd. The case was about to be over, but there was still more to unfold...
18: The Decision Day | July 24 was a historic day, as it was when the supreme court announced their ruling in the case | After a brief tribute to former Chief Justice Earl Warren and a bunch of "fluffy talk", Chief Justice Burger finally announced the court's decision in four main points, stating that the opinion of the court was unanimous. | BURGER
19: The Opinion in Four Elements | 1. The Supreme Court has the final say over constitutional matters 2. Requesting Nixon's tapes was fully legal 3. Presidents may not use "a general, absolute claim of executive privilege" 4. Presidents may not solely use a claim of executive privilege for "protecting the public" | Finally, The court unanimously voted in favor of The United States. Nixon was now required to turn over all the tapes to Sirica for release to the public. Nixon tried to remain optimistic, but it all ended when he resigned on August 8.
20: IV. Aftermath | The effects of the Watergate Scandal and the decision of the Supreme Court on American society as well as future cases presented later on:
21: July 27th- After holding a series of public hearings, that provided evidence of illegal White House Activities, the House Judiciary Committee recommended that Nixon be impeached based on three charges: obstruction of justice, abuse of presidential powers, and trying to impede the impeachment process by defying committee subpoenas. August 5th- A previously unknown tape was released from the White House, known as the "Smoking Gun Tape," that documented the initial stages of the cover-up. August 8th- Nixon participates in a nationally televised event from the Oval Office, officially resigning from his position as President, beginning with the words, "In all the decisions I have made in my public life, I have always tried to do what was best for the Nation." _ President Richard Nixon
22: August 9th- President Nixon officially leaves the White House and becomes the first United States President to ever resign. Gerald Ford then becomes President. September 8th- After Nixon's resignation, Congress dropped its impeachment proceedings against him. However, Nixon was still eligible to remain responsible for the crimes he had committed during his Presidency. However, Gerald Ford issued him a full pardon, immunizing him from any consequences because he believed it to be " in the best interest of the country."
23: Effects on our Country after the Supreme Court Decision: 1. An increased level of cynicism about politics emerged after the Watergate Scandal and the Supreme Court Case that followed. 2. The media became more confident and aggressive after this case. The work of reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein led to the publication of the Watergate Scandal. After the Nixon v. United States Case, the work of the media eventually led to the development of teams of “investigative reporters around the world.” 3. Nixon wanted to exercise his Executive Powers in order to avoid handing over the tapes that would eventually provide evidence against him. However, the justice system did not allow him unlimited powers, and therefore, this case set the precedent for every other United States President to follow, limiting their powers.
24: V. Citations | Ameslab, prod. "Watergate." ameslab.gov. ameslab, n.d. Web. 24 May 2012.
25: "Losing Faith." FunwithHistory. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 May 2012.