Friday, July 5, 2013

A Case For July 4

I came across a good case to present for the July 4: Nixon v. United States, 978 F.2d 1269 (D.C. Cir. 1992). I was looking to find a case describing past presidents, seeing if any decision reflected the fact that three presidents died on that day. I found this case instead, and, although it does not directly relate to July 4th, it has all the elements of a rightly fitting case for the occasion.
For one, it covers the history of how each president, from Washington through Bush (Sr.), handled his personal papers. The decision also raised and discussed an issue of independence, the president's papers independence from the president's person.

The argument was built around an issue, whether a president is "a trustee for the American People" and has no personal interest to claim in presidential papers. Because the applicable statute was enacted after Nixon's presidency, the court still found him an owner of the subject materials and remanded the case to a lower court for determining a compensation. For later presidents, since Reagan, "the Presidential Records Act of 1978 [...] prospectively abolished private ownership of presidential papers. 44 U.S.C. § 2201 et seq. (1988)."

More history posts

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