Advertisement

Watergate and the Decline of the Separation of Powers

  • Nancy Kassop
Chapter
  • 266 Downloads
Part of the The Evolving American Presidency Series book series (EAP)

Abstract

Whether by conscious intent or by the unpredictable unfolding of events in office, the Nixon administration bears heavy responsibility for affecting the operation of the twin principles of separation of powers and checks and balances in the succeeding decades, right up to the present time. Separation of powers and checks and balances function as two opposite sides of a coin: the concept of “separation of powers” refers to the allocation of constitutional authority to each of the three coordinate branches—executive, legislative, and judicial—and the manifestation of “checks and balances” occurs either by the shared authority of two branches for certain, designated constitutional functions (e.g., the legislative, appointment, impeachment, and amendment processes) or in the monitoring of the actions of each branch by one or both of the others (e.g., judicial review of legislative or executive actions, or, conversely, legislative or executive reactions to judicial decisions).

Keywords

Opposition Party American Civil Liberty Union Nixon Administration Counterterrorism Policy Federal Judiciary 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    Walter Dellinger, “The Constitutional Separation of Powers between the President and Congress,” 20 Op. OLC, May 7, 1996. Available at: www.justice.gov/olc/delly.htm.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., The Imperial Presidency (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1974).Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Gerald Ford, “Proclamation 4311, Granting Pardon to Richard Nixon,” Public Papers of the Presidents, 61: September 8, 1974, 103.Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    Lawrence E. Walsh, Firewall: The Iran-Contra Conspiracy and Cover-Up (New York: W.W. Norton, 1997), 227Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    Bob Woodward, Shadow: Five Presidents and the Legacy of Watergate (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1999), 132–135.Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    For a discussion of the efforts by Clinton to claim various privileges during the Lewinsky scandal, see Mark J. Rozell, Executive Privilege: Presidential Power, Secrecy, and Accountability (2nd edition, revised) (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2002), 140–144.Google Scholar
  7. 10.
    For a discussion of the presidential pardon power, generally, see Jeffrey Crouch, The Presidential Pardon Power (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2009).Google Scholar
  8. 11.
    Christopher H. Pyle and Richard M. Pious, The President, Congress and the Constitution: Power and Legitimacy in American Politics (New York: Free Press, 1984), 215–216.Google Scholar
  9. 12.
    Joint Resolution of Nov. 7, 1973, Public Law 93–148, 87 Stat. 555; Message from Richard Nixon to the House of Representatives, Oct. 24, 1973, 9 Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents 1285 (1973).Google Scholar
  10. 13.
    For a discussion of framework statutes, see Harold Hongju Koh, The National Security Constitution: Sharing Power after the Iran-Contra Affair (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990), 69–70.Google Scholar
  11. 19.
    85 Stat 430, as described in Richard M. Pious, The American Presidency (New York: Basic Books, 1979), 402Google Scholar
  12. 19.
    Andrew Rudalevige, The New Imperial Presidency: Renewing Presidential Power after Watergate (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2005), 63.Google Scholar
  13. 21.
    Lawrence E. Walsh, Iran-Contra: The Final Report (New York: Times Books of Random House, 1994).Google Scholar
  14. 22.
    See Nancy Kassop, “The Power to Make War,” in Katy J. Harriger, ed., Separation of Powers: Documents and Commentary (Washington: CQ Press, 2003), 74–75.Google Scholar
  15. 23.
    Lear Siegler v. Lehman, 842 F. 2d 1102 (9th Cir. 1988); and Ameron Inc. v. U.S., 787 F. 2d 875 (3rd Cir. 1986). For discussion of the history and the recent use of signing statements, see Christopher S. Kelley, “The Significance of the Presidential Signing Statement,” in Christopher S. Kelley, ed., Executing the Constitution: Putting the President Back into the Constitution (Albany: SUNY Press, 2006), 73–89Google Scholar
  16. 23.
    James P. Pfiffner, “The Power to Ignore the Law: Signing Statements,” in James P. Pfiffner, Power Play: The Bush Presidency and the Constitution (Washington, Brookings Institution Press, 2008), 194–228Google Scholar
  17. 23.
    Charlie Savage, “Power of the Pen: Signing Statements,” in Charlie Savage, Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy (New York: Little Brown and Company, 2007), 228–249.Google Scholar
  18. 24.
    Henry J. Abraham, Justices, Presidents and Senators: A History of U.S. Supreme Court Appointments from Washington to Clinton (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 1999), 9, 253.Google Scholar
  19. 28.
    Comment made by Senate Republicans in 2009, as quoted in Sarah Binder and Forrest Maltzman, “Advice and Consent during the Bush Years: The Politics of Confirming Federal Judges,” Judicature, vol. 92, No. 6, May-June 2009, 320.Google Scholar
  20. 30.
    Sarah Binder and Forrest Maltzman, Advice and Dissent: The Struggle to Shape the Federal Judiciary (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2009), 127.Google Scholar
  21. 33.
    For an analysis of the hostility between the White House and Congress during the George H.W. Bush administration, see Charles Tiefer, The Semi-Sovereign Presidency: The Bush Administration’s Strategy for Governing Without Congress (Boulder: Westview Press, 1994).Google Scholar
  22. 35.
    Shirley Anne Warshaw, The Co-Presidency of Bush and Cheney (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2009)Google Scholar
  23. 35.
    Barton Gellman, Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency (New York: Penguin Press, 2008)Google Scholar
  24. 35.
    Jane Mayer, The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals (New York: Doubleday, 2008).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Michael A. Genovese and Iwan W. Morgan 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nancy Kassop

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations