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This litigation presents for review the denial of a motion, filed in the District Court on behalf of the President of the United States, in the case of United States v. The subpoena directed the President to produce certain tape recordings and documents relating to his conversations with aides and advisers.
The President appealed to the Court of Appeals. On March 1,a grand jury of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia returned an indictment charging seven named individuals [n3] with various offenses, including conspiracy to defraud the United States and to obstruct justice.
Although he was not designated as such in the indictment, the grand jury named the President, among others, as an Us vs nixon coconspirator. This subpoena required the production, in advance of the September 9 trial date, of certain tapes, memoranda, papers, transcripts, or other writings relating to certain precisely identified meetings between the President and others.
On April 30, the President publicly released edited transcripts of 43 conversations; portions of 20 conversations subject to subpoena in the present case were included. This motion was accompanied by a formal claim of privilege.
On May 20,the District Court denied the motion to quash and the motions to expunge and for protective orders. It further ordered "the President or any subordinate officer, official, or employee with custody or control of the Us vs nixon or [p] objects subpoenaed," id.
The District Court rejected jurisdictional challenges based on a contention that the dispute was nonjusticiable because it was between the Special Prosecutor and the Chief Executive and hence "intra-executive" in character; it also rejected the contention that the Judiciary was without authority to review an assertion of executive privilege by the President.
The second challenge was held to be foreclosed by the decision in Nixon v. The District Court held that the judiciary, not the President, was the final arbiter of a claim of executive privilege. The court held, finally, that the Special Prosecutor had satisfied the requirements of Rule 17 c.
The District Court stayed its order pending appellate review on condition that review was sought before 4 p. The court further provided that matters filed under seal remain under seal when transmitted as part of the record.
On May 24,the President filed a timely notice of appeal from the District Court order, and the certified record from the District Court was docketed in the United [p] States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
On the same day, the President also filed a petition for writ of mandamus in the Court of Appeals seeking review of the District Court order. Later on May 24, the Special Prosecutor also filed, in this Court, a petition for a writ of certiorari before judgment.
On May 31, the petition was granted with an expedited briefing schedule.
On June 6, the President filed, under seal, a cross-petition for writ of certiorari before judgment. This cross-petition was granted June 1,U. The finality requirement of 28 U.
United States, U. This requirement ordinarily promotes judicial efficiency and hastens the ultimate termination of litigation.
In applying this principle to an order denying a motion to quash and requiring the production of evidence pursuant [p] to a subpoena duces tecum, it has been repeatedly held that the order is not final, and hence not appealable. United States, supra; Alexander v. Ryan, supra, at The requirement of submitting to contempt, however, is not without exception, and in some instances the purposes underlying the finality rule require a different result.
For example, in Perlman v. Here too, the traditional contempt avenue to immediate appeal is peculiarly inappropriate due to the unique setting in which the question arises. To require a President of the United States to place himself in the posture of disobeying an order of a court merely to trigger the procedural mechanism for review of the ruling would be [p] unseemly, and would present an unnecessary occasion for constitutional confrontation between two branches of the Government.
Similarly, a federal judge should not be placed in the posture of issuing a citation to a President simply in order to invoke review. The issue whether a President can be cited for contempt could itself engender protracted litigation, and would further delay both review on the merits of his claim of privilege and the ultimate termination of the underlying criminal action for which his evidence is sought.
These considerations lead us to conclude that the order of the District Court was an appealable order. The appeal from that order was therefore properly "in" the Court of Appeals, and the case is now properly before this Court on the writ of certiorari before judgment.
That argument has been renewed in this Court with emphasis on the contention that the dispute does not present a "case" or "controversy" which can be adjudicated in the federal courts.
Since the Executive Branch has exclusive authority and absolute discretion to decide whether to prosecute a case, Confiscation Cases, 7 Wall. Brief for the President The mere assertion of a claim of an "intra-branch dispute," without more, has never operated to defeat federal jurisdiction; justiciability does not depend on such a surface inquiry.
In United States v. See also Powell v.President Nixon’s incomplete compliance with the special prosecutor's demands was challenged and eventually taken to the Supreme Court of the United States. The Court decided that executive privilege is not limitless, and the tapes were ordered released.
President Nixon tells a White House news conference on March 15, , that he will not allow his legal counsel, John Dean, to testify on Capitol Hill. A congressional hearing about President Nixon’s Watergate break-in scandal revealed that he had installed a tape-recording device in the Oval Office.
Nixon v. United States, U.S. (), was a United States Supreme Court decision that determined that the question of whether the Senate had properly tried an impeachment was a political question and could not be resolved in the courts.
Background. The Chief Judge for the.
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