29--Roe v Wade and Watergate - TeacherWeb by xuxianglp


									Roe v. Wade (January 22, 1973)
In 1969 a Texas woman known by the pseudonym Jane Roe
challenged a Texas law that prohibited abortions except to
save the mother’s life. In March 1971 the U.S. Supreme
Court agreed to hear the case, known as Roe v. Wade. (Henry
Wade was the district attorney of Dallas County, where Roe
filed the suit.) On January 22, 1973, by a 7-2 vote, the
Court held that a woman's right to an abortion fell within
the right to privacy (recognized in the 1965 Supreme Court
decision Griswold v. Connecticut) that was protected by the
Fourteenth Amendment. The ruling awarded a woman total
autonomy over her pregnancy during the first trimester and
defined different levels of state interest for the second
and third trimesters. Roe v. Wade exerted a tremendous
impact throughout the country, as only four states had
enacted laws guaranteeing a woman widespread access to an
abortion at the time of the ruling. The abortion issue
continues to be a major source of controversy within U.S.
politics and society.

ROE V. WADE 410 U.S. 113




… We forthwith acknowledge our awareness of the sensitive
and emotional nature of the abortion controversy, of the
vigorous opposing views, even among physicians, and of the
deep and seemingly absolute convictions that the subject
inspires. One's philosophy, one's experiences, one's
exposure to the raw edges of human existence, one's
religious training, one's attitudes toward life and family
and their values, and the moral standards one establishes
and seeks to observe, are all likely to influence and to
color one's thinking and conclusions about abortion.
In addition, population growth, pollution, poverty, and
racial overtones tend to complicate and not to simplify the

Our task, of course, is to resolve the issue by
constitutional measurement, free of emotion and of
predilection. We seek earnestly to do this, and, because we
do, we [410 U.S. 113, 117] have inquired into, and in this
opinion place some emphasis upon, medical and medical-legal
history and what that history reveals about man's attitudes
toward the abortion procedure over the centuries. We bear
in mind, too, Mr. Justice Holmes' admonition in his now-
vindicated dissent in Lochner v. New York, 198 U.S. 45, 76

"[The Constitution] is made for people of fundamentally
differing views, and the accident of our finding certain
opinions natural and familiar or novel and even shocking
ought not to conclude our judgment upon the question
whether statutes embodying them conflict with the
Constitution of the United States."

… In view of all this, we do not agree that, by adopting
one theory of life, Texas may override the rights of the
pregnant woman that are at stake. We repeat, however, that
the State does have an important and legitimate interest in
preserving and protecting the health of the pregnant woman,
whether she be a resident of the State or a nonresident who
seeks medical consultation and treatment there, and that it
has still another important and legitimate interest in
protecting the potentiality of human life. These interests
are separate and distinct. Each grows in substantiality as
the woman approaches [410 U.S. 113, 163] term and, at a
point during pregnancy, each becomes "compelling."

With respect to the State's important and legitimate
interest in the health of the mother, the "compelling"
point, in the light of present medical knowledge, is at
approximately the end of the first trimester. This is so
because of the now-established medical fact, referred to
above at 149, that until the end of the first trimester
mortality in abortion may be less than mortality in normal
childbirth. It follows that, from and after this point, a
State may regulate the abortion procedure to the extent
that the regulation reasonably relates to the preservation
and protection of maternal health. Examples of permissible
state regulation in this area are requirements as to the
qualifications of the person who is to perform the
abortion; as to the licensure of that person; as to the
facility in which the procedure is to be performed, that
is, whether it must be a hospital or may be a clinic or
some other place of less-than-hospital status; as to the
licensing of the facility; and the like.

This means, on the other hand, that, for the period of
pregnancy prior to this "compelling" point, the attending
physician, in consultation with his patient, is free to
determine, without regulation by the State, that, in his
medical judgment, the patient's pregnancy should be
terminated. If that decision is reached, the judgment may
be effectuated by an abortion free of interference by the

With respect to the State's important and legitimate
interest in potential life, the "compelling" point is at
viability. This is so because the fetus then presumably has
the capability of meaningful life outside the mother's
womb. State regulation protective of fetal life after
viability thus has both logical and biological
justifications. If the State is interested in protecting
fetal life after viability, it may go so far as to
proscribe abortion [410 U.S. 113, 164] during that period,
except when it is necessary to preserve the life or health
of the mother.

Measured against these standards, Art. 1196 of the Texas
Penal Code, in restricting legal abortions to those
"procured or attempted by medical advice for the purpose of
saving the life of the mother," sweeps too broadly. The
statute makes no distinction between abortions performed
early in pregnancy and those performed later, and it limits
to a single reason, "saving" the mother's life, the legal
justification for the procedure. The statute, therefore,
cannot survive the constitutional attack made upon it here.
… To summarize and to repeat:

1. A state criminal abortion statute of the current Texas
type, that excepts from criminality only a life-saving
procedure on behalf of the mother, without regard to
pregnancy stage and without recognition of the other
interests involved, is violative of the Due Process Clause
of the Fourteenth Amendment.

(a) For the stage prior to approximately the end of the
first trimester, the abortion decision and its effectuation
must be left to the medical judgment of the pregnant
woman's attending physician.

(b) For the stage subsequent to approximately the end of
the first trimester, the State, in promoting its interest
in the health of the mother, may, if it chooses, regulate
the abortion procedure in ways that are reasonably related
to maternal health.

(c) For the stage subsequent to viability, the State in
promoting its interest in the potentiality of human life
[410 U.S. 113, 165] may, if it chooses, regulate, and even
proscribe, abortion except where it is necessary, in
appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the
life or health of the mother.

2. The State may define the term "physician," as it has
been employed in the preceding paragraphs of this Part XI
of this opinion, to mean only a physician currently
licensed by the State, and may proscribe any abortion by a
person who is not a physician as so defined.
                WATERGATE READINGS
In June 1972, five men were arrested while attempting to
plant wiretaps in the offices of the Democratic National
Committee (DNC) at the Watergate hotel in Washington, D.C.
President Richard Nixon was facing reelection in November
of that year. This event ultimately sparked an
investigation into the activities of the Nixon
administration. Nixon was reelected by a landslide, but by
May 1973 the Senate Watergate committee had begun
nationally televised hearings into the incident and a
suspected cover-up orchestrated by the White House. The
investigation revealed that a taping system installed in
the White House had recorded all conversations in the White
House offices. In a scandal that seemed to grow more
complex every day, Nixon claimed executive privilege to
resist turning the tapes over to investigators. However,
the Supreme Court ruled against him in July 1974. When
investigators finally listened to the tapes, they
discovered a gap of eighteen and one-half minutes in the
recordings. In late July, the House Judiciary Committee
issued three articles of impeachment against Nixon, who
would resign in August.

I. House Judiciary Committee's Assessment of Nixon's
Activities (1974)

Note: The acronym “CRP” stands for the Committee for the
Re-election of the President.
June 19, 1972–June 29, 1972

. . . At the meeting, on the morning of June 20,
Kleindienst, Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Mitchell and Dean
discussed the Watergate break-in. (Book II, 240-41)

On that same morning at 9:00 a.m. the President arrived in
his Oval Office. While this meeting on Watergate took place
one floor above among the President's chief of staff, his
chief domestic adviser, his counsel, his Attorney General,
and his campaign director, the President remained alone in
the Oval Office (with the exception of a three-minute
meeting with Butterfield from 9:01 to 9:04 a.m.). The
President left the Oval Office at 10:20 a.m., and went to
his EOB office. (Book II, 243)

At his EOB office, the President met with Ehrlichman from
10:25 until 11:20 a.m. (Book II, 243) The President did not
discuss Watergate with Ehrlichman, even though the
President had given Ehrlichman the highest-level
responsibility for investigation of the Watergate matter.
(In re Grand Jury, Misc. 47-73, order, 12/19/73; Book II,
238: "Presidential Statements," 8/22/73, 45-46)

Starting at 11:26 a.m., during a meeting which lasted one
hour and 19 minutes, the President did discuss Watergate
with Haldeman. . . .

In July, 1973, the tape recording of this June 20, 1972
meeting between the President and Haldeman was subpoenaed
by the Special Prosecutor. The subpoena was resisted by the
President on the grounds of executive privilege (Book II,
258) but upheld by the Court of Appeals. (Book IX, 748,
750-54) On November 26, 1973, when the President's lawyer
finally produced the recording, it contained an eighteen
and one-half minute erasure. The erasure obliterated that
portion of the conversation which, according to Haldeman's
notes, referred to Watergate. (Book II, 249-50) The
obliteration was, in fact, caused by repeated manual
erasures, which were made on the tape recorder used by the
President's personal secretary Rose Mary Woods. . . .



From late June, 1972, until after the Presidential election
in November, President Nixon through his close subordinates
engaged in a plan of containment and concealment which
prevented disclosures that might have resulted in the
indictment of high CRP and White House officials; that
might have exposed Hunt and Liddy's prior illegal covert
activities for the White House; and that might have put the
outcome of the November election in jeopardy. Two of the
President's men, John Dean, Counsel to the President, a
subordinate, and Herbert Kalmbach, personal attorney to the
President, an agent, who had been assigned to carry out the
cover-up, carried out their assignment. They did so with
the full support of the power and authority of the
President of the United States.

Tape recordings of Presidential conversations in the
possession of the Committee establish that implementation
of the plan prior to the election had the full approval of
the President. . . . On the morning of March 21, 1973, Dean
told the President regarding his investigation after the
break-in, "I was under pretty clear instructions [laughs]
not to really to investigate this, that this was something
that just could have been disastrous on the election if it
had--all hell had broken loose, and I worked on a theory of
containment." The President replied, "Sure." (HJCT 88)
During the same conversation, Dean said of the cover-up,
"We were able to hold it for a long time." The President's
reply was, "Yeah, I know." (HJCT 101-02) Dean said that
some bad judgments, some necessary judgments had been made
before the election, but that at the same time, in view of
the election, there was no way.

The President said, "We're all in on it." . . .

On August 29, 1972, the President held a news conference.
He discussed various pending investigative proceedings in
connection with Watergate. . . .

In fact, Dean had conducted no investigation. He had been
acting to narrow and frustrate investigation by the FBI. He
had reached no conclusion that no one in the White House
had been involved in Watergate. He made no report of such
an investigation. . . .

The President and his staff had not "cooperated completely"
with the investigatory agencies. The evidence, rather,
shows clearly and convincingly that the President and his
closest aides acted to obstruct and impede the
The President's statements on August 29 themselves were
designed to delay, impede and obstruct the investigation of
the Watergate break-in; to cover up, conceal, and protect
those responsible and to conceal the existence and scope of
other unlawful covert activities. . . .

II. House Judiciary Committee's Conclusion on Impeachment


After the Committee on the Judiciary had debated whether or
not it should recommend Article I to the House of
Representatives, 27 of the 38 Members of the Committee
found that the evidence before it could only lead to one
conclusion; that Richard M. Nixon, using the powers of his
high office, engaged, personally and through his
subordinates and agents, in a course of conduct or plan
designed to delay, impede, and obstruct the investigation
of the unlawful entry, on June 17, 1972, into the
headquarters of the Democratic National Committee; to cover
up, conceal and protect those responsible; and to conceal
the existence and scope of other unlawful covert

This finding is the only one that can explain the
President's involvement in a pattern of undisputed acts
that occurred after the break-in and that cannot otherwise
be rationally explained.

1. The President's decision on June 20, 1972, not to meet
with his Attorney General, his chief of staff, his counsel,
his campaign director, and his assistant John Ehrlichman,
whom he had put in charge of the investigation--when the
subject of their meeting was the Watergate matter.

2. The erasure of that portion of the recording of the
President's conversation with Haldeman, on June 20, 1972,
which dealt with Watergate--when the President stated that
the tapes had been under his "sole and personal control."
3. The President's public denial on June 22, 1972, of the
involvement of members of the Committee for the Re-election
of the President or of the White House staff in the
Watergate burglary, in spite of having discussed Watergate,
on or before June 22, 1972, with Haldeman, Colson, and
Mitchell--all persons aware of that involvement.

4. The President's directive to Haldeman on June 23, 1972,
to have the CIA request the FBI to curtail its Watergate

5. The President's refusal, on July 6, 1972, to inquire and
inform himself what Patrick Gray, Acting Director of the
FBI, meant by his warning that some of the President's
aides were "trying to mortally wound" him.

6. The President's discussion with Ehrlichman on July 8,
1972, of clemency for the Watergate burglars, more than two
months before the return of any indictments.

7. The President's public statement on August 29, 1972, a
statement later shown to be untrue, that an investigation
by John Dean "indicates that no one in the White House
staff, no one in the Administration, presently employed,
was involved in this very bizarre incident."

8. The President's statement to Dean on September 15, 1972,
the day that the Watergate indictments were returned
without naming high CRP and White House officials, that
Dean had handled his work skillfully, "putting your fingers
in the dike every time that leaks have sprung here and
there," and that "you just try to button it up as well as
you can and hope for the best." . . .

In addition to this evidence, there was before the
Committee the following evidence:

1. Beginning immediately after June 17, 1972, the
involvement of each of the President's top aides and
political associates, Haldeman, Mitchell, Ehrlichman,
Colson, Dean, LaRue, Mardian, Magruder, in the Watergate
coverup. . . .

Finally, there was before the committee a record of public
statements by the President between June 22, 1972, and June
9, 1974, deliberately contrived to deceive the courts, the
Department of Justice, the Congress and the American

President Nixon's course of conduct following the Watergate
break-in, as described in Article I, caused action not only
by his subordinates but by the agencies of the United
States, including the Department of Justice, the FBI, and
the CIA. It required perjury, destruction of evidence,
obstruction of justice, all crimes. But, most important, it
required deliberate, contrived, and continuing deception of
the American people.

President Nixon's actions resulted in manifest injury to
the confidence of the nation and great prejudice to the
cause of law and justice, and was subversive of
constitutional government. His actions were contrary to his
trust as President and unmindful of the solemn duties of
his high office. It was this serious violation of Richard
M. Nixon's constitutional obligations as President, and not
the fact that violations of Federal criminal statutes
occurred, that lies at the heart of Article I.

The Committee finds, based upon clear and convincing
evidence, that this conduct, detailed in the foregoing
pages of this report, constitutes "high crimes and
misdemeanors" as that term is used in Article II, Section 4
of the Constitution. Therefore, the Committee recommends
that the House of Representatives exercise its
constitutional power to impeach Richard M. Nixon.
III. Watergate Special Prosecution Force Memorandum (August
9, 1974)



TO: Leon Jaworski, Special Prosecutor
DATE: August 9, 1974
FROM: Carl B Feldbaum, Peter M. Kreindler
SUBJECT: Factors to be Considered in Deciding Whether to
Prosecute Richard M. Nixon for Obstruction of Justice

In our view there is clear evidence that Richard M. Nixon
participated in a conspiracy to obstruct justice by
concealing the identity of those responsible for the
Watergate break-in and other criminal offenses. There is a
presumption (which in the past we have operated upon) that
Richard M. Nixon, like every citizen, is subject to the
rule of law. Accordingly, one begins with the premise that
if there is sufficient evidence, Mr. Nixon should be
indicted and prosecuted. The question then becomes whether
the presumption for proceeding is outweighed by the factors
mandating against indictment and prosecution.

The factors which mandate against indictment and
prosecution are:

1. His resignation has been sufficient punishment.

2. He has   been subject to an impeachment inquiry with
resulting   articles of impeachment which the House Judiciary
Committee   unanimously endorsed as to Article I (the
Watergate   cover-up).

3. Prosecution might aggravate political divisions in the

4. As a political matter, the times call for conciliation
rather than recrimination.
5. There would be considerable difficulty in achieving a
fair trial because of massive pre-trial publicity.

The factors which mandate in favor of indictment and
prosecution are:

1. The principle of equal justice under law requires that
every person, no matter what his past position or office,
answer to the criminal justice system for his past
offenses. This is a particularly weighty factor if Mr.
Nixon's aides and associates, who acted upon his orders and
what they conceived to be his interests, are to be
prosecuted for she same offenses.

2. The country will be further divided by Mr. Nixon unless
there is a final disposition of charges of criminality
outstanding against him so as to forestall the belief that
he was driven from his office by erosion of his political
base. This final disposition may be necessary to preserve
the integrity of the criminal justice system and the
legislative process, which together marshalled the
substantial evidence of Mr. Nixon's guilt.

3. Article I, Section 3, clause 7 of the Constitution
provides that a person removed from office by impeachment
and conviction "shall nevertheless be liable and subject to
Indictment, Trial, Judgment, and Punishment, according to
Law." The Framers contemplated that a person removed from
office because of abuse of his public trust still would
have to answer to the criminal justice system for criminal

4. It cannot be sufficient retribution for criminal
offenses merely to surrender the public office and trust
which has been demonstrably abused. A person should not be
permitted to trade in the abused office in return for

5. The modern nature of the Presidency necessitates massive
public exposure of the President's actions through the
media. A bar to prosecution on the grounds of such
publicity effectively would immunize all future Presidents
for their actions, however criminal. Moreover, the courts
may be the appropriate forum to resolve questions of pre-
trial publicity in the context of an adversary proceeding.

To top