National Constitution Center Publication Features Dean Gormley
In a post featured in the Constitution Daily, a publication of the National Constitution Center, Dean Ken Gormley looks back at the "Saturday Night Massacre" and developing Watergate scandal and considers how the events tested America's constitutional principles.
Forty years ago, when President Richard M. Nixon fired Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox in the infamous "Saturday Night Massacre," seeking to shut down Cox's criminal investigation before it proved Nixon's complicity in the Watergate cover-up, the nation's system of laws hung in the balance. At issue was whether the President of the United States, by dint of sheer force, could overpower the rule of law and halt an investigation of his own conduct as Chief Executive, thus defying the Special Prosecutor's office, the courts, Congress, and 19 ordinary citizens of the federal grand jury who had directed Nixon to turn over nine White House tapes that would prove or disprove his involvement in a criminal cover-up.
Read "The Saturday Night Massacre 40 years later: How our Constitution trumped a reckless president"