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The Watergate scandal was constantly creeping outwards in the Nixon administration, seeming to not have any end, as the web of deceit and coverups extended from the FBI straight into the White House. While the political fallout from Watergate in the form of impeachment proceedings was slowly making its way through Congress, the legal aspects of the case were also, in parallel, proceeding through the federal courts.
Jaworski sought a subpoena ducestecum, a legal document compelling the President to produce tapes and documents connected to the case.
The President filed a motion in District Court to quash this subpoena in the case of United States v. Mitchell. The District Court rejected his claims. The President appealed immediately to the Court of Appeals, but before the Court of Appeals could rule, both sides filed applications for certiorari with the Supreme Court, who granted it immediately.
Whether the United States violated President Nixon’s constitutional right of executive power, his need for confidentiality, his need to maintain the separation of powers, and his executive privilege to immunity from any court demands for information and evidence.
In the first half of 1972, the Democratic National Headquarters at the Watergate Office Building in Washington, D.C., was broken into. The investigation that followed centered on staff members of then Republican President Richard M. Nixon. The Special Prosecutor subpoenaed certain tapes and documents of specific meetings held in the White House. The President’s lawyer sought to deny the subpoena. The Special Prosecutor asked the Supreme Court of the United States to hear the case before the lower appeals court ruled on the President’s appeal to deny the subpoena.