Meme from synecdochic
I wasn't going to do this, but I couldn't resist. My first thought was Hustler Magazine vs. Falwell
. And that post-bellum decision that upheld racial segregation on trains and mandated it at the federal level (the name of which I'd have to look up). But then I found a much more appropriate decision for an election year: Watergate. The Meme:
As was demonstrated in an interview with Katie Couric, Sarah Palin is unable to name any Supreme Court Case other than Roe v. Wade.The Rules:
Post info about ONE Supreme Court decision, modern or historic, to your lj. (Any decision, as long as it's not Roe v. Wade.) For those who see this on your f-list, take the meme to your OWN lj to spread the fun.United States v. Nixon (1974)
Five men broke into the Watergate complex and were arrested with cameras and bugging equipment. The men all worked for the campaign to re-elect President Nixon. They went to jail, but one of the men wrote to the judge detailing pay-offs from the highest levels of Nixon's office in return for his silence. It was then discovered that Nixon taped all of his conversations. The special prosecutor subpoenaed those tapes.
Nixon stonewalled the investigation by invoking "executive privilege."
The case tested the limits of presidential power. Does executive privilege mean that the president has absolute power to withhold any information he likes from the other branches of government? If his power is not absolute, can he withhold tapes pertinent to a criminal investigation? Does it breach the separation of powers if the judicial branch investigates the executive branch? If so, wouldn't that mean that the executive branch would have to investigate itself? Did invoking "executive privilege" violate due process for the man trying to defend himself?
Result: The President could not withhold information from a criminal investigation simply because he was president. Nixon had to turn over the tapes. Nixon resigned shortly thereafter, rather than be impeached.
Why is this relevant today? The Bush administration has claimed executive privilege more times in the last eight years than we've seen since Nixon. McCain refused to turn over his notes concerning his meetings with Kenneth Lay of Enron. This week, the White House stonewalled investigation of the suspicious firings of nine US attorneys
. ...the White House refused to turn over to Justice Department investigators emails and other documents that investigators believed were crucial to uncovering the truth as to why the U.S. attorneys were fired, the report said.
Raises a lot of questions, eh?