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According to Stanley I. Kutler, in his book The Wars of Watergate: The last crisis of Richard Nixon:

"Rehnquist recused himself in the case, citing his past association with the Nixon Administration."

Rehnquist served as Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Legal Counsel under Nixon from 1969-1971. While Rehnquist was chief counsel to Attorney General John Mitchell, who was later implicated in the Watergate cover up, he was apparently less well known to the President, who referred to the future Chief Justice as "Renchburg" on several of his secret tapes.

Rehnquist chose not to listen to oral arguments in United States v. Nixon, (1974) to avoid accusations of influencing the other justices Behind the Scenes.

Kutler, Stanley I. The Wars of Watergate: The last crisis of Richard Nixon. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992. Print.

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Q: Why didn't Justice Rehnquist participate in the US v. Nixon case?
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