Constitutional Law And Executive Privilege
The United States has a system to check and balance the different branches of the government, namely the Executive, Judicial and Legislative. It allows for fair play, and objective decision making for efficient governance of the country.
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However, the Executive branch, or the President, has the power of many privileges. Although executive privilege is not clearly defined in the Constitution, the Supreme Court has found it to be a fundamental way of separating the powers. The executive privilege allows the President of the United States, and other members of the Executive branch to resist legal action. This legal action can be in the form of subpoenas. This privilege also allows the Executive branch to deny intervention from the Judicial and Legislative bodies. An example, this privilege was used by the President at the time during the Watergate Sandal. In the court case, President Nixon denied the release of certain evidence regarding the Watergate incident. Though, eventually President Nixon had to resign.
However, the first president to use this executive privilege was the first president of the country, George Washington. In 1976, he refused to give the House of Representatives a copy of a certain treaty saying that it was not meant for the House of Representatives but for the members of the Senate.
The executive privilege was denied to President Clinton during the scandal trial connected to Monica Lewinski.
Though the executive privilege is considered an important right for the President to have, critics feel that it should be used judicially, and not radically. It is an active attempt to protect the president’s privacy and security since he is the head of the state.
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