Supreme Court Orders Nixon To Hand Over Tapes

On July 24, 1974, the United States Supreme Court ordered Nixon to surrender the White House tapes.

The decision of the court was unanimous, 8-0. Justice William Rehnquist did not sit on the case.

Nixon complied with the court’s order in United States v. Nixon.

One of the tapes he released came to be known as the “Smoking Gun Tape”. It revealed that just six days after the Watergate break-in Nixon and Haldeman had discussed the ways to obstruct the FBI’s investigation. This revelation directly led to a collapse in congressional support for Nixon and resulted in his resignation as president on August 9, 1974.

UNITED STATES v. NIXON

Full Text of the Supreme Court Decision In The Watergate Case

July 24, 1974

UNITED STATES v. NIXON, 418
U.S. 683 (1974)

418 U.S. 683

UNITED STATES v. NIXON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, ET AL.
CERTIORARI BEFORE JUDGMENT TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT. [Read more…]

Alexander Butterfield Reveals Existence Of White House Tapes

Alexander Butterfield’s appearance before the Senate Watergate Committee was a pivotal moment in the unfolding scandal.

From the moment Butterfield confirmed the existence of an Oval Office taping system, the hunt for the tapes began. Ultimately, the Supreme Court ordered Nixon to surrender specified tape recordings, including the “Smoking Gun” tape that precipitated his resignation.

Butterfield’s confirmation came in response to a question from Fred Thompson, the committee’s minority counsel. Thompson went on to serve as a Republican senator from Tennessee from 1994 until 2003.

The committee’s chief counsel, Sam Dash, also questioned Butterfield.

  • Watch Butterfield, in response to Fred Thompson, confirm the existence of the tapes (2m)
  • Listen to Butterfield respond to a question from Sam Dash about how to find out what was on the tapes (1m)