The Watergate symposium held earlier this month at Hastings College of the Law invited attorneys to consider the constitutional crisis that brought down a president. Certainly, it’s time to tell the story again. Even as the number of Watergate survivors diminishes — as with the death of former Attorney General Richard Kleindienst on Feb. 5 — a growing percentage of the bar remembers nothing of Richard Nixon’s America.

Hastings solicited the input of Watergate’s principal players, its key prosecutors, and its most recent political beneficiary, Kenneth Starr. But a day’s discussion can never adequately address the crimes that cost Nixon the White House: Watergate was not a mistake, after all, but a mentality; not an ethical lapse, but an environment.

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