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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 ROE ET AL. V. WADE, DISTRICT ATTORNEY OF DALLAS COUNTY APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS, NO. 70-18. ARGUED DECEMBER 13, 1971-- REARGUED OCTOBER 11, 1972-- DECIDED JANUARY 22, 1973 … 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 problem. 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 (1905): "[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 State. 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. . . . CONTAINMENT--JULY 1, 1972, TO ELECTION PRESIDENTIAL PLAN FOR CONTAINMENT 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 investigations. 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 (1974) Conclusion 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 activities. 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 investigation. 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 people. 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) WATERGATE SPECIAL PROSECUTION FORCE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE MEMORANDUM 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 country. 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 offenses. 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 immunity. 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.
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