Executive Privilege Legal Meaning and Definition

Here is a simplified definition of the legal term Executive Privilege.

Executive Privilege (noun)

Executive Privilege refers to the right claimed by the President or other high-ranking officials of the executive branch to refuse requests for confidential governmental or private communications. This right is claimed on the basis that divulging such information could disrupt effective government operations and decision-making and infringe on the principle of power separation among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. However, if charges of criminal conduct arise, executive privilege can be denied, as evidenced in instances like the Watergate scandal (1973-1974).