From Prerogative to Accountability: The Amenability of the President to Suit
Widener University - School of Law
Kentucky Law Journal, Vol. 80, 1991
With the issuance of its unanimous decision in United States v. Nixon, the Supreme Court clearly demonstrated for the first time that a President could be amenable to legal process. The Court has never, however, provided a rationale for its doctrinal shift toward presidential accountability, leaving the lower courts to evaluate the propriety of actions against Presidents on a case by case basis, under a variety of legal theories. This article analyzes the leading cases concerning the President's role in the judicial process, reviews the diverse responses of the lower federal courts, and finds that the Court's failure to meet its institutional obligation leaves a crucial issue unresolved: the contours of the relationship of presidential power to the legal process.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 75
Keywords: president, lawsuits, judicial process, presidential accountability
JEL Classification: K1Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: December 4, 2011
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