Monday 13 September 2010
The issue of Executive Privilege has been of importance in the latter part of the Twentieth Century. This reflects both the increased importance of the President within Government generally and national security in particular - and moves towards greater openness.
In the 1953 Supreme Court decision of US v Reynolds it was held that national security could be a valid reason for the Executive withholding sensitive information. Richard Nixon attempted to use the doctrine in his efforts to stave off investigation of Watergate. Two important recent cases are
Espy and Judicial Watch. Claims of Executive Privilege were particularly controversial in relation to Harriet Myers and Josh Bolton.
A CRS paper on the subject is available here. Emily Berman has written a report published by the Brennan Center which argues that this doctrine needs to be rolled back. She proposes an Executive Privilege Cofication Act.
Her paper is available here.