Executive Privilege And The Watergate Scandal

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Executive Privilege What is executive privilege? Executive privilege is the privilege held by the executive branch to perform delicate operations without the complications of public knowledge. Executive privilege has been utilized with success throughout the history of our nation. However, on occasions where it has been misused, the results have been disastrous. Executive privilege by itself is neither harmful nor helpful. It is simply a tool at the disposal of the Executive officials and the President. Throughout the history of the United States the right of executive privilege has been claimed by almost every president. Although there is no specific provision detailing this right, this privilege has existed and been utilized frequently. Cornell University Law School defined executive privilege as, “The privilege that allows the president and other high officials of the executive branch to keep certain communications private if disclosing those communications would disrupt the functions or decision-making processes of the executive branch” (Executive Privilege). In simpler terms, the executive branch has the ability to…show more content…
Government as well. Perhaps one of the most famous cases of misuse is the Watergate Scandal. President Richard Nixon attempted to claim executive privilege in order to withhold audiotapes from the supreme court. This was not a situation that executive privilege was being used to benefit the function of the executive branch. Rather it was being used to conceal the wrongdoings of the President of the United States in the infamous Watergate Scandal. The Supreme Court also ruled that executive privilege could not be invoked to withhold evidence from a criminal trial. As it was not being used to increase the effectiveness of the executive branch, executive privilege is seen as being misused in this

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