U.S. v. Nixon (1974)
This mini-lesson covers the basics of the Supreme Court’s decision that then-sitting President Nixon had to turn over some recordings of his presidential communications to a court of law. Students learn about the Watergate break-in, the president’s privilege of confidentiality, and the supremacy of the Constitution even over the President of the United States.
- Describe basic events surrounding the Watergate break-in.
- Explain the president’s privilege of confidentiality.
- Identify the main arguments put forth in the case.
- Describe the Supreme Court’s reasons for requiring Nixon to turn over his tapes.
- Identify the tension between the president’s privilege and the needs of the criminal justice system.
- Recognize that the president is not above the law.
- Evaluate a president’s need for confidential communications.