The Burger Court and the Rise of the Judicial Right
Warren Burger had a herculean task, filling the shoes of Earl Warren as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Warren had ruled on some of the major civil rights decisions in the United States. Warren Burger was selected by President Richard Nixon in the hopes of overturning the more liberal rulings. Warren Burger would rule over the Supreme Court from 1969-1986, a plethora of substantial cases weaving their way through the highest court. President Nixon had appointed Burger, Harry Blackmun, Lewis Powell, William Rehnquist in the hopes of pushing the law and order agenda. Nixon’s hopes would be partially met, as some previous rulings would be hacked away at, but a divided court would result in upholding of many of the Warren Court’s decisions. The court would see a gradual move to the right with subsequent retirement of the more liberal minds, but stalwarts such as Justices Marshall, White, Brennan, Stevens, with the occasional Conservative dissent would keep the laws from tilting towards the right.
Michael Graetz and Linda Greenhouse’s study of this tumultuous Supreme Court covers important cases, running the gamut from Abortion-Civil Rights-Obscenity laws-Executive Privilege. Every decision would be fought, partisan tendency never completely hidden. Some justices displayed a keen magnifying eye for the constitution, others looked to their party and constituents. Graetz and Greenhouse’s book is important for its look at the judicial branch as a valued and treasured check on power.
Michael J. Graetz • Linda Greenhouse
Simon & Schuster