April 10, 2013

When things fall into the wrong hands.

From Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong's "The Brethren," the 1979 book about the the Supreme Court (in the 1969 Term through the 1975 Term). This vignette takes place after the oral argument in the Watergate tapes case (United States v. Nixon) at page 374:
The clerks turned to humor to kill time as they waited to learn what was going on. One of Powell’s clerks, disturbed by his boss’s memo the day before, drafted a phony opinion and gave it very limited circulation to the clerks’ dining room. “We believe the principle of executive privilege is important…. This case is different from all others that will come before the Court. The Court should be guided by a solicitous concern for the effective discharge of the President’s duties and the dignity of his high office.

“However, we’re deciding this case differently, because Nixon is a crook and somebody ought to throw the son of a bitch in jail.”

Marshall laughed heartily when his clerks showed him a copy. The copies were destroyed for fear that one might fall into the wrong hands.

17 comments:

damikesc said...

Man, sounds like Nixon got a fair hearing and all there.

Bob R said...

Bob "Wrong Hands" Woodward sounds like a good nickname for a designated hitter.

edutcher said...

Wasn't Marshall the one who arranged his own showings of all the porno involved in obscenity cases so he'd be sure he was judging the Constitutionality objectively?

Bob R said...

The Wrong Hands would be a good name for a rock band...sorry, wrong blog.

mccullough said...

Another easy case the court botched.

Congress could have impeached and removed Nixon for refusing to comply with its subpoena.

mccullough said...

What kind of idiot saves the tapes?

whoresoftheinternet said...

Remember when the stuff Nixon did was considered a very bad thing when an R did it?

Now it's perfectly ok to do it if you aren't an R and are working for the left.

Enjoy the decline, hypocrites!

Thorley Winston said...

I think damikesc makes a good point. As a nation we generally accept the authority of the courts (the weakest branch of government) because they are seen for the most part as being impartial. We laugh at Nixon’s infamous claim that if a President does something it’s not illegal because we aspire to live under the rule of law rather than just the rule of men. But when courts act in ways to show that they’re acting more like they’re following their own wishes rather than trying to faithfully apply the rule of law, we get closer and closer to the day when elected officials and ordinary citizens will openly defy their rulings which they have no real power to enforce.

campy said...

What kind of idiot saves the tapes?

JFK. LBJ.

Michael K said...

I wonder if Hillary was there. She was on the Watergate committee as junior staff. It sounds like her.

Marshal said...

mccullough said...
What kind of idiot saves the tapes?


His estate won a $30 million judgment because the government refused to return them.

He expected them to be worth something, and he was right.

ricpic said...

...Nixon was a thief...

It's ironic that Marshall's law clerk mouthed the usual smear of Nixon as a thief. That was LBJ, the president who nominated Marshall. LBJ was a big time thief. And no doubt the law clerk's hero. Nixon was a lot of things and far from a hero to many on the right, but he didn't enrich himself by way of the political offices he held. How do we know that? If anything, if the tiniest smidgen of evidence of thievery by Nixon had ever come to light it would have been trumpeted by the MSM for months. And it hasn't been. They got nothin'. About LBJ and Barry they got tons. And sit on it.

Hagar said...

In fact, it is quite remarkable that "Tricky Dick's" White House gang seems to have been the cleanest in post WWII history in respect of acquiring riches beyond their published salaries, etc.

Even the Nixon papers was a clean deal with no intent to defraud. The deal was entirely legal when it was made, and work on cataloguing the papers, boxing them up, and transferring them to the Federal Gov't immediately got underway. The only hitch was that Mr. Nixon's lawyer did not get around to writing out the deed until the following year, and then the doofus backdated it, instead of starting with "Pursuant to verbal agreement of ....", never dreaming that anyone would question the bona fides of such a distinguished member of the bar as himself.

Richard Dolan said...

While we will still have Nixon to kick around from a few more years, the sad reality is that most under-40 folks today have only a vague idea of who he was or why he is the butt of so many jokes. Early generations probably felt the same way about Chester A. Arthur and James A. Garfield.

Hagar said...

To Republicans, a crook is someone who misapropriates money or other valuables.

To Democrats, it is someone who opposes them.

Joe said...

Woodward is a known liar of monumental proportions, so why is any credibility given to him about anything?

Phil said...

I saw The Wrong Hands opening for The Thievin' Bastards in 1987 at The Continental Club in Austin.