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United States v. Nixon

418 U.S. 683 (1974)

Following a subpoena of the Watergate tapes by special prosecutor Leon Jaworski, Richard Nixon sought to have them quashed on the ground of executive privilege. The United States Supreme Court ruled 8-0 (BURGER, C. J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which all Members joined except REHNQUIST, J., who took no part in the consideration or decision of the cases.) that the tapes should be released.

The court determined (a) that the courts have the final voice in determining constitutional questions and (b) that no person, not even the President of the United States, is above the law.

Following the ruling, many feared that the President would defy the court. But on August 5, 1974, (two months after the inital subpoena) 64 tape recording transcripts were released. Four days later Nixon resigned.