Executive Privilege: Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton

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Introduction "We are all imperfect. We cannot expect perfect government." William Howard Taft. Executive Privilege is a part of the American governmental system used by the Presidents of the United States for the people but also for themselves. The historic case of United States V Nixon in 1974 set a precedent for the doctrine which has impacted the later presidencies. Does man’s imperfection excuse his decisions of how he governs? What is Executive Privilege? A Brief History Raoul Berger, author of celebrated book Executive Privilege: Constitutional Myth, wrote that: "Executive privilege"-the President's claim of constitutional authority to withhold information from Congress-is a myth. Unlike most myths, the origins of which are lost in the mist of antiquity, "executive privilege" is a product of the nineteenth century, fashioned by a succession of presidents who created "precedents" to suit the occasion. The very words "executive privilege" was conjoined only yesterday, in 1958". Berger correctly identifies that executive privilege is a power of myth. Most of his argument comes from the fact that this special privilege evoked by a president is not in the Constitution. Executive privilege is instead an "implied power derived from Article II" (Rozell 918). The word "executive privilege" has indeed been recently coined with the Eisenhower administration (Rozell, 816). The most simplified definition of the doctrine is "the power of the Government to withhold information from the public, the courts, and the Congress" (Schwartz, 3). It is important to note that executive privilege is mainly intended for protecting national security and deliberations of the White House; it was never to be an absolute power to cover up ... ... middle of paper ... ...onpost.com/wp­srv/politics/special/clinton/stories/ruff052898.htm >. Schwartz, Barnard. "Executive Privilege and Congressional Investigatory Power." California Law Review 47.1 (1959): 3. Business Source Premier. Web. 3 Aug. 2013. United States. Congressional Research Service. Presidential Claims of Executive Privilege: History, Law, Practice and Recent Developments. By Morton Rosenberg. N.p.: n.p., n.d. 21 Aug. 2008. Web. 8 Dec. 2013. United States. The White House. Special Counsel to the President."Congressional Requests to Departments and Agencies for Documents Protected by Executive Privilege" The White House, September 28, 1994. Web. 3 Aug. 2013. Williams, Pete. "What Is Executive Privilege?" Msnbc.com. National Broadcast Company, n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2013.

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