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Privacy and Personal Space in America

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How would you feel if all of your private conversations could potentially be released all over social media and shared with millions? It is easy to say that we all think that not all of our conversations should be open to releasing for everyone to see. Believe it or not, this same consideration applies to our very own President of the United States of America. Certain subjects and matters that the president discusses, such as national security issues, or executive branch communication should not be open to the public. You may be asking how or why is this possible? How can the executive branch keep certain discussions, records, etc. to themselves?

That is because of a right called executive privilege. Executive Privilege is a right claimed by the United States and others to withhold from Congress, the courts, or individuals, information that has been requested or subpoenaed. This prevents executive branch employees or officials from testifying in Congressional hearings. Although these rights of executive privilege are not in directly granted in the Constitution, some people do not think that it exists but executive privilege does exists and it is implied by the constitutional principle of separation of powers between the three branches of government. Some people believe that we shouldn’t use executive privilege, but I think that we should. For example, Presidents have been using executive privilege in two types of cases: those that involve national security and those that involve executive branch communication.

National security

Most of the time, when a president uses executive privilege it is to protect sensitive military or diplomatic information, which if it does ever get released, could possibly place the security of the United States in great danger. Since the president is commander in chief of the U.S. Military (as stated in the Constitution) the “states secrets” claim of using executive privilege is rarely taken to the Supreme Court.

Executive branch communication

Most of the conversations that the president has between him and his top aides and advisors are written down or electronically recorded. President has contended that executive privilege secrecy should be attended to the records of some of those conversations. The president argued that in order for their advisors to be open and candid in giving advice, and to present all possible ideas, they must feel safe that the discussions will remain confidential. This application of executive privilege, while rare, is always controversial and often challenged.

In 1792 George Washington was the first president to use executive privilege. What happened was that the House of Representatives asked for information from the Washington administration about the military defeat of Major General Arthur St Clair. Even though the Washington administration did give the requested papers to the House, Washington strongly expressed he had the right to refuse to disclose information that would be harmful to the public. Even though Washington cooperated, he set the example that on certain occasions presidents can withhold information. In 1976 Washington refused to provide the house with requested information about the Jay Treaty, Stating that the house does not play a constitutional role in the treaty-making process. Washington noted, however, that if the house had requested information concerning an impeachment, he would be required to supply such information to the house because of its constitutional responsibilities in the impeachment process

The use of executive privilege to protect internal discussions and deliberations can be traced back to George Washington. However, it is it was the Supreme Court 1974 ruling in the Nixon Watergate scandal that establishes executive privilege as a legal right and set forth appropriate uses since next in, executive privilege has been used in the administration, although more frequently than others.

For example, Ronald Reagan uses executive privilege 3 times during his term as president. He is often credited with ushering in a new era of government secrecy by limiting Freedom of Information Act request and imposing severe punishments on whistleblowers, however, during the Iran-Contra scandal, Reagan waived executive privilege, making his documents, Diaries and entire staff available for Congressional scrutiny. And Bill Clinton used executive privilege 14 times during his presidency. In 1998, his attempt to keep White House aides from testifying about the Monica Lewinsky scandal was struck down, the first time since Nixon that executive privilege was overruled in court. United States v. Nixon(1974)President Richard Nixon refused to comply with a subpoena required to hand over a federal court audio tape that was believed to offer evidence on the executive branch alleged involvement in the 1972 Watergate break-in.Nixon claims that he had the right to withhold the material to protect the privacy of his Communications with his advisers. Anonymous opinion the Supreme Court recognized that a constitutional right to executive privilege did exist, however, the court rejected Nixon’s claims and required him to produce the tapes for the evidence in the investigation chief justice Warren Burger explains that the president was entitled to great difference particularly on issues of National Security executive privilege, the Justice noted that the system of checks and balances prohibited any absolute claim of executive privilege. In 1974 during his attempt to Shield Oval Office recordings from a congressional investigation into Watergate scandal the standoff May, which, in an 8-0 decision, establish the president’s legal right to executive privilege the importance of the Watergate investigation outweighed Nixon’s claim.

Although President Richard Nixon used executive privilege for his personal benefits. I believe that we should still have executive privilege. Like many other rights, it isn’t in the constitution, but that does not mean it doesn’t exist. It does exist and the president should be able to use it. Without executive privilege the president would not be able to freely discuss all the options on resolving world issues / especially confidential and top secret military efforts. Executive privilege is what keeps this country save, without it our national security would be at risks, private information, confidential information could be exposed and have our country at great risks. And this is why I believe that the president should use executive privilege.

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Privacy and Personal Space in America. (2019, February 11). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 22, 2021, from
“Privacy and Personal Space in America.” GradesFixer, 11 Feb. 2019,
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