The Watergate Scandal Of The United States

1460 Words Dec 4th, 2014 6 Pages
Executive Privilege:
Aaron Kelly Blackmon
University of Houston

In one of the most important moments in the history of the republic was the Watergate scandal that stretched the constitution to its very limits. It was a case that challenged the system of checks and balances of the branches of government. The president invoked what is referred to as executive privilege. Executive privilege as defined by Kinkopf is:
The variety of privileges and immunities, grounded in the constitutional structure of the presidency, that allow the President to withhold information or refrain from participation in the
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The constitution does not specifically mention this notion. For those that propose a strict reading of the constitution this argument is often used but we can see that this sort of interpretation of the document is not really held up and is not in line with the way that the courts have treated reading it. There are numerous examples where law has been adopted that have established privileged information. Hardin writes in The Yale Law Review
Evidentiary privileges well established at common law protected military and state secrets and the identity of government informers. Statutes have been enacted by Congress from time to time protecting various governmental communications and reports from public scrutiny.
Additionally he goes on to point out that the withholding information for “the public interest” has been referenced to the doctrine of separation of powers. The separation of powers often cited as the most clear constitutional reference to executive privilege but during the course of history executive power has collided with congressional power and the issue of who would prevailed was always one that was filled with tautness beginning with the First Congress and President George Washington. The House of Representatives debated a request involving investigating the conduct of Robert Morris, the Superintendent of

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