The Nation: Showdown Before the Justices

The case called The United States of America v. Richard Nixon raises an ostensibly simple question: Does Federal Judge John Sirica have the right to review 64 still-secret White House tape recordings for possible use in the Watergate trial of six former Nixon aides? In fact, the issue on which the U.S. Supreme Court begins final deliberations this week is far more complex and far reaching. The ultimate ruling—and how Nixon responds to it—may vitally affect the impeachment proceedings and conceivably could alter the constitutional relationship between the Judicial and Executive branches of government.

Despite the masses of evidence already on the...

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