Law Dictionary

United States v. Nixon

U.S. Case Law

legal Definition of United States v. Nixon

418 U.S. 683 (1974), held that presidential materials (such as documents and tape-recorded communications) can be subpoenaed as evidence to be used in a criminal trial. President Richard M. Nixon had refused to turn over a portion of his private materials to the congressional committee investigating the Watergate incident, claiming that it was his prerogative as president to keep confidential statements secret. The Court, however, ruled that such a prerogative must yield to the need of the judiciary to enforce criminal justice, as long as the confidential statements do not relate strictly to military or diplomatic matters.

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