Washington Law Review


Lee Marchisio


Since United States v. Nixon, the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized a qualified executive privilege grounded in federal separation of powers. The privilege allows the President to withhold executive branch communications when disclosure would undermine presidential decisionmaking while executing core constitutional duties. Several states have followed the Supreme Court’s lead and adopted an analogous gubernatorial privilege under state constitutional separation of powers. Focusing on Washington State’s well-developed separation of powers doctrine and strong populist history, this Comment argues that the Washington State Supreme Court should recognize a qualified gubernatorial privilege that also respects the state’s long history of citizen oversight.

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