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US vs Nixon

Doctrine: Although a President deserves great deference regarding his Article II constitutional privilege
(Executive Privilege), that privilege is not absolute and must be balanced against other constitutional

Facts. The special prosecutor in the Watergate scandal subpoenaed the tape recordings of conversations
involving the President and his advisers regarding the scandal. The Presidents counsel moved to quash
the subpoena citing Article II of the United States Constitution (the Constitution) and its grant of
privilege to the President. The Presidents counsel also argued it was a non-justiciable question because
it was a disagreement between parts of the executive branch.

Issue. Is the Presidents Article II constitutional privilege absolute (Executive Privilege)?

Held. The Presidents executive privilege is not absolute and must bend to Amendment 4 and
Amendment 5 requirements of speedy and fair trials and of the ability of defendants to face their
accusers. Courts are not required to proceed against the President as if the President was any other
individual. Courts should review communications claimed to be privileged in camera (by the judge only
in chambers). The Supreme Court of the United States (Supreme Court) had to balance the executive
privilege against the rights of citizens to face their accusers and to have a speedy and fair trial. The Court
made the point that the President is not a normal citizen, and therefore should receive great deference
regarding executive claims of privilege. However, executive privilege is not absolute and must be
balanced against the right of the accused in criminal proceedings. The Court took great care to limit its
opinion because it was delving into a political dispute between the President and Congress, something
the Supreme Court is loath to do.

Ocampo vs Secretary of Justice

Doctrine: The legislative power to create a court carries with it the power to abolish it. When the court is
abolished, any unexpired term is abolished also. The judge of such a court takes office with that
encumbrance and knowledge.

Facts: Under the Judiciary Act of 1948, Republic Act No. 296. the judicial function in Courts of First
Instance was vested in District Judges, Judges-at-Large and Cadastral Judges. Sixteen Judicial Districts
were constituted, and seventy-four District Judges were provided and distributed thereover in the
proportion fixed in the Act. Aside from the seventy-four District Judges, section 53 of the Act provided
for the appointment of "eighteen Judges-at-Large and fifteen Cadastral Judges who shall not be assigned
permanently to any judicial district and who shall render duty in such district or province as may, from
time to time, be designated by the Department Head." The petitioners were duly appointed and had
qualified under said section 53, four as Judges-at-Large and six as Cadastral Judges. Under Republic Act
No. 1186, which took effect on June 19, 1954, several provisions of the Judiciary Act of 1948 were
amended. Now, the judicial function in the Court of First Instance is vested in District Judges; and
although the number of Judicial Districts is maintained, the number of District Judges has been increased
to 114. Section 3of Republic Act No. 1186, provides that "all the existing positions of Judges-at-Large and
Cadastral Judges are abolished, and section fifty-three of Republic Act Numbered Two Hundred and
Ninety-six is hereby re-pealed." Shortly after the effectivity of Republic Act No. 1186, the Secretary of
Justice informed the petitioners that they had ceased as Judges-at-Large and Cadastral Judges. The
petitioners have filed the present petition for declaratory relief and/or mandamus, for a judicial
declaration that section 3 of Republic Act No. 1186 is unconstitutional and void, that the respective
positions and offices of the petitioners under the Judiciary Act of 1948 still exists, and that they are
entitled to exercise the powers and functions of said offices; and for a directive against the Secretary of
Justice to permit the petitoners to continue in the exercise of said powers and functions, and against the
Chief Accounting Officer and Judicial Officer of the Department of Justice to pay the petitioners their
corresponding compensation beginning June 20, 1954.

Issue: Whether or not the RA 1186 is unconstitutional

Held: No. The main objective of RA 1186 is to vest the judicial function of Courts of First Instance in
District Judges, eliminating Judges-at-Large and Cadastral Judges. In Zandueta vs De la Costa, the court
highlighted that the legislature may abolish courts inferior to the Supreme Court and reorganize them
territorially or otherwise, thereby necessitating new appointments and commissions.Section 1 of Article
VIII of the Constitution provides that the judicial power shall be vested in the Supreme Court and in
such inferior courts as may be established by law," and section 9 of the same Article provides that "the
Members of the Supreme Court and all judges of inferior courts shall hold office during good behavior,
until they reach the age of 70 years, or become incapacitated to discharge the duties of their office." The
power of Congress under section 1 to organize, reorganize and even abolish courts inferior to the
Supreme Court, is conceded; and the contention advanced on behalf of the petitioners is merely that
such power is restricted by and may be reconciled with section 9 in the sense that they should be
allowed to continue holding their offices during good behavior, until they reach the age of seventy years
or become incapacitated, notwithstanding the reorganization effected under Republic Act No. 1186 and
the express abolition of their positions by section 3 thereof. Furthermore, a constitutional provision that
judges of a certain court shall hold their offices for five years must yield to another provision that the
legislature may alter or abolish the court, and therefore the legislature may reduce the number of judges
by fixing an end to the terms of certain of them although within five years after they took office.