This discussion examined how the Constitutional process laid out by the founders successfully tackled a crisis at the heart of American democracy, and offered lessons for today’s dysfunctional Washington; with former Congresswoman Liz Holtzman, who served on the House Judiciary Committee during Watergate; former Nixon Presidential Library Director and Head of the Tamiment Library Tim Naftali; and historian Marilyn Young of NYU. Introduction and welcome by Dean Gabrielle Starr, College of Arts and Science of NYU.
Elizabeth Holtzman serves as the co-chair of Herrick's Government Relations Practice, concentrating her practice in government relations at the federal, state and local levels, and in litigation. She joined Herrick after 20 years in government.
She served for eight years as a US Congresswoman and won national attention for her role on the House Judiciary committee during Watergate. She chaired the Immigration and Refugees Subcommittee and dealt directly with many foreign governments, including Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam, over refugee issues.
Head of the Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives and co-director of NYU’s Center for the United States and the Cold War and of the Frederic Ewen Academic Freedom Center (Assuming role at NYU in January).
Tim joined the National Archives in 2006 to become the first director of the federal Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. The Nixon Library’s Watergate exhibit, for which Naftali was historian and curator, opened in March 2011. In November 2011, Naftali left the library to write a study of the Kennedy presidency for publication in 2013. He is also currently working on a multi-national study on why and how terrorist groups stop using terror as a tactic. Naftali served as a consultant to the 9/11 Commission and as an historical consultant to the Nazi War Crimes and Imperial Japanese Government Records Interagency Working Group. Naftali, who has appeared on NPR, MSNBC, FOX News, CNN, the History Channel and C-SPAN, has written for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Slate, and Huffington Post.
Marilyn B. Young received her doctorate from Harvard University in 1963. She taught at the University of Michigan before joining New York University in 1980, where she is a full professor in the Department of History. Young teaches courses on the history of U.S. foreign policy; the politics and culture of post-war United States; the history of modern China; and the history and culture of Vietnam. Young's most recent book is "Bombing Civilians: A Twentieth-Century History" (2009). She also wrote "The Vietnam Wars, 1945-1990" (1991) and is the author and editor of many other publications.
The news headlines are stark. Over a decade of American combat in Asia. Divided government grid-locking Washington. Members of Congress lashing out at an imperial presidency. Talk of impeachment!
This wasn’t 2014… but 1974, when Richard Nixon left the White House in disgrace, threatened with impeachment by the House of Representatives and a trial by the Senate he would inevitably lose. The months leading up to that resignation were a stark constitutional crisis for the republic, testing the balance of powers between the President, Congress and Supreme Court. The cover up of the Watergate break in and Nixon’s other abuses of office came to light through dogged Congressional investigation and subsequent release over years of the secret Oval Office recordings. Yet those tapes would have been destroyed and history denied the evidence of Nixon’s crimes were it not for the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act, of which John Brademas was chief author in the House; the Act declared these materials property of the people of the United States. As former Congressman and NYU President Emeritus Brademas said at the time, “Nazis burn books; Americans don’t burn books.”
Dean Starr is a scholar of eighteenth-century British literature and of aesthetics, as well as a researcher in experimental aesthetics, using the tools of cognitive neuroscience, behavioral psychology, and the humanities together, to explore the contours of aesthetic experience. Her first book, Lyric Generations (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004), is a history of the interrelation of lyric poetry and the early British novel, in which she argues for the need to understand the history of changes in literary form as emerging from cross-generic interactions. More recently she has engaged in empirical and theoretical work in aesthetics. Her most recent book is Feeling Beauty (MIT Press, 2013), and it explores the ways our responses to the Sister Arts of painting, poetry and music are mediated by brain-based reward processes and by the default mode network. This work has been supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in the form of a New Directions Fellowship to facilitate training in neuroscience, as well as by an NSF-ADVANCE grant (jointly with Nava Rubin) at NYU. She is currently director of a three-year, collaborative international project on brain responses to music, painting, and literary imagery.