Here’s Archibald Cox’s take on the Saturday Night Massacre, according to a Talking Points Memo reader who heard these remarks during an undergraduate course to which Cox was speaking:
I got a call from Attorney General Richardson saying, “Professor, the President wants me to fire you.” So I said, “Well, Elliott, you do what you think is right.” And so Richardson resigned rather than fire me. Then I got a call from Deputy Attorney General Ruckelshaus, who became Attorney General when Richardson resigned. And he said, “Professor, the President wants me to fire you.” So I said, “Well, Bill, you do what you think is right” — and he resigned, too. Then I got a call from the next man in line at the Justice Department, Solicitor General Bork. He hadn’t been my student.