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Mid-way through 1974, the Watergate scandal reached a boiling point. Citing executive privilege and the need to shield conversations with advisers to encourage frank discussions, President Richard Nixon refused to hand over to a special prosecutor transcripts pointing to his participation in the cover-up that sank his presidency. The dispute bypassed the usual appeals process and catapulted straight to the Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments on July 8. Sixteen days later, the Court delivered a striking rebuke to presidential power.

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