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Executive Privilege

Executive privilege is the right of the president of the United States to keep confidential certain information from subpoenas and other oversight measures by the legislative and judicial branches of government. Contrary to popular belief, executive privilege is not specifically mentioned in the U.S. Constitution. Instead, it is an implied power based on the separation of powers that the Constitution outlines. Presidents have argued that in order to effectively govern, some degree of confidentiality must exist in order to have frank and candid discussions with their aides and staff members. Executive privilege is frequently invoked in the name of national security, but there is no set standard or issues in which executive privilege can be invoked; it’s the prerogative of the president regarding when to utilize this power. 

To help understand this mighty but ill-defined power, HeinOnline’s Executive Privilege database provides primary and secondary source material such as government documents from the executive, legislative, and judicial branches as well as related books and scholarly articles. Peruse congressional hearings, reports, memoranda, and more, as well as law review articles and books that invoke, debate, and explore instances of executive privilege from our country’s founding to the present day. Compiled by Maxwell Anderson, a graduate of University of Nebraska College of Law, this database provides comprehensive treatment of this issue, offering unique browse options, a custom search index, and more.

For more information on this database, including tips and tricks to help maximize your research, check out the dedicated LibGuide.

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