The Saturday Night Massacre was a series of events which took place in the United States on the evening of Saturday, October 20, 1973, during the Watergate scandal. U.S. President Richard Nixon ordered Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire independent special prosecutor Archibald Cox; Richardson refused and resigned effective immediately. Nixon then ordered Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus to fire Cox; Ruckelshaus refused, and also resigned. Nixon then ordered the third-most-senior official at the Justice Department, Solicitor General Robert Bork, to fire Cox. Bork considered resigning, but did as Nixon asked. The political and public reaction to Nixon's actions were negative and highly damaging to the president. A new special counsel was appointed eleven days later on November 1, 1973, and on November 14, 1973, a court ruled that the dismissal had been illegal.