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No, he didn't. United States v. Nixon, (1974) was argued on July 8, 1974, and decided sixteen days later, on July 24, 1974. Nixon resigned to avoid impeachment on August 9, 1974, several weeks after the Supreme Court issued its decision. Impeachment is carried out by the House of Representatives, not the Supreme Court.


In 1972, five men broke into the Watergate Complex in Washington, DC, and raided the office of the Democratic National Headquarters to steal strategic campaign files regarding Democrat George McGovern's bid for office in that year's Presidential election.

An FBI investigation reveals of number of other serious crimes committed by members of Nixon's Republican campaign staff, including tax and campaign fraud, money laundering, espionage, sabotage, and illegal wiretaps.

Nixon promised Congress he would appoint a Special Prosecutor, Archibald Cox, to investigate the scandal.

When Cox learned Nixon had had the White House wired to record both live and telephone conversations, he suspected the President was involved in a conspiracy to cover up the crimes and dissociate himself from them. Cox filed for a subpoena in federal District Court. Nixon refused to comply with the court's demand, and ultimately fired not only Cox, but the United States Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General for refusing to remove Cox from the case.

Under public pressure, Nixon was forced to appoint another Special Prosecutor, Leon Jaworski, who also attempted to subpoena the tapes. This ignited a court battle where the President and his counsel attempted to claim executive privilege over the content of the tapes.

The case was eventually appealed to the US Supreme Court, which ordered Nixon to turn over the tapes on July 24, 1974. Nixon complied, but resigned on August 9, 1974, to avoid inevitable impeachment charges. [President Gerald Ford later pardoned Nixon.]

Case Citation:

United States v. Nixon, 418 US 683 (1974)

For more information about the Supreme Court case United States v. Nixon, (1974), see Related Links, below.

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Q: Did President Nixon resign before the US Supreme Court case started?
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