The Supreme Court upheld the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act of 1974, which authorized the General Services Administration (GSA) to take control of former president Richard M. Nixon’s nonprivate presidential papers and to make them available to the public.
Following President Richard M. Nixon’s resignation, Congress enacted the relevant statute in order to protect historically important tapes and papers. Nixon argued that the statute was an unconstitutional bill of attainder because it singled him out for punishment by depriving him of the traditional right of presidents to control their presidential papers. He also asserted that the law violated the separation of powers doctrine as well as his personal rights to privacy. Writing for a 7-2 majority, Justice William J. Brennan, Jr.,
Bank of Augusta v. Earle
Bill of attainder
Privacy, right to
Separation of powers