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The Burger Court and the Rise of the Judicial Right Kindle Edition
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“A powerful corrective to the standard narrative of the Burger court . . . should change the way that period is perceived. . . . As this important book makes clear, courts, given time, can accomplish—or demolish—a great deal by degrees, leaving their successors to finish the job.” (Jeff Shesol The New York Times Book Review)
"Ambitious and engaging. . . . Graetz and Greenhouse's work serves as an important corrective, demonstrating that the Burger court demands far more sustained scrutiny and analysis than legal scholarship has generally afforded it. Readers interested in the Supreme Court’s role in American society during the second half of the 20th century will gather significant insight from this book’s elegant, illuminating arguments." (Justin Driver The Washington Post)
“When the Supreme Court unanimously ruled against President Nixon in the famous 1974 Watergate Tapes Case that doomed his presidency, Nixon cursed the justices he had appointed. The myth grew that Nixon had failed to significantly move the Court to right. In their compelling, elegantly written analysis, two brilliant legal scholars (and clear-eyed explainers) convincingly demolish that myth.” (Evan Thomas, author of Being Nixon )
"[A] landmark new book. . . . Thrillingly intelligent analysis of the ways the Burger Court handled the massive legacy it was handed by the Warren Court. . . .Graetz and Greenhouse are tough but even-handed, dealing equally in personalities and precedents and creating some energetic reading along the way." (Steve Donoghue Christian Science Monitor)
“In this fresh and often surprising return to the Burger Court years, Graetz and Greenhouse show how that court, generally dismissed for failing to reverse the liberal arc of the Warren Court era, embedded significant conservative markers in areas of the law critical to consumers, women, prisoners, business, voters and others. Using the justices’ papers and their own deep understanding of the Supreme Court, the authors bring to life the complex personalities and internal struggles of the Burger Court in a changing nation. And, they offer the reader an accessible bridge from the outcomes of those struggles to landmark rulings in the Rehnquist and Roberts Courts. This illuminating trip through history is well worth taking.” (Marcia Coyle, Chief Washington Correspondent, The National Law Journal, and author of The Roberts Court: The Struggle for the Constitution )
“This revelatory book resets how we think about the Constitution and the Supreme Court that interprets it. The Court led by Chief Justice Warren Burger is often seen as an afterthought, wedged between the Warren Court and the hard right Justices today. In fact the 1970s and 1980s set the pattern for decades of American life, on topics from campaign finance to presidential power to criminal law. With clarity and insight, Michael Graetz and Linda Greenhouse show how the often jumbled doctrines of that time helped produce the America of today.” (Michael Waldman, President, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law and author of The Fight to Vote )
About the Author
Linda Greenhouse, recipient of the Pulitzer Prize and other major journalism awards, covered the Supreme Court for The New York Times for nearly thirty years. Since 2009, she has taught at Yale Law School and written a biweekly op-ed column on the Court as a contributing writer for the Times. She is a graduate of Radcliffe College, Harvard, and earned a master of studies in law degree from Yale Law School. This is her fourth book about the Supreme Court.
- ASIN : B0176M3ZKQ
- Publisher : Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (June 7, 2016)
- Publication date : June 7, 2016
- Language : English
- File size : 45161 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 481 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 1476732515
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,022,839 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Following an introduction that discusses the court's disputed legacy, the book focuses upon five key issue areas to discuss: Crime, Race, Social Transformation, Business and the Presidency. One interesting feature of the book is that in several areas, such as the death penalty, the authors develop a detailed history of the context of the cases which is very helpful. Yes, the authors discuss a lot of cases, but generally speaking the reader should have no problem in sorting them out and following the discussion. But at 350 or so pages, there is no question the book contains a lot of information.
The first section on Crime devotes sustained attention to the death penalty issue and how the court first halted executions (saving some 600 lives) but later handed down decisions facilitating its use and how it was administered. In discussing Miranda and other Warren Court decisions, the authors develop one of their key theories: while in some areas Burger did not directly overrule Warren Court pro-defendant decisions, they did attach conditions and limitations which minimized their impact. The authors also demonstrate how the use of federal habeas corpus to reach state court decisions was limited. The court chose to impose few limits on plea bargaining, which has had a major impact on criminal prosecutions today where some federal judges complain about the absence of criminal trials from their docket.
In the section on Race, the authors develop another key analytical approach: while the Burger Court did not necessarily directly confront and limit the legacy of Brown v. Board, it passed up several significant opportunities to push the desegregation process forward in areas like busing--i.e., "missed opportunities." In the area of public school financing, it simply let the issue die. And of course in regards to affirmative action, the Burger Court was hardly a force for change. The fact that these issues are still so important today indicates that inaction was a key aspect of the court's impact.
When the authors get to Social Transformation, up pops an area that suggests that while the Burger Court did implement change, it certainly was not discordant with the liberalism of the Warren Court. This was the abortion decision which later several times faced being cut back or even overruled. Justice O'Connor's preference for employing the "unduly burdensome" standard in evaluating state abortion limitations seriously complicated the issue. The inability to agree upon an effective standard also played a role in another area, sexual equality, where again opportunities to move forward died on the vine. The inability to define standards with clarity was also noticeable in the area of religion. Here the Burger Court laid the foundation for subsequent vital decisions by switching from separation of church and state to accommodation in decisions which seemed to fluctuate in their reasoning. Even today, some of these decisions continue to impact upon the current Court.
One of the most valuable sections of the book relative to today's Court deals with Business. Here the authors lay out important foundation decisions made by the Burger Court: speech rights of corporations (i.e., corporations are people too), and the decline in unions. Such recent landmark holdings such as those involving campaign finance (Citizens United) and corporate political speech, where money becomes speech, evolved out of Burger Court precedents. I found the authors' discussion of how the Burger Court impacted upon unions very interesting. The final section on the presidency again reflects a dual legacy: the Nixon tapes decision while a loss for the office did recognize some manner of executive privilege. A good discussion addresses wireless domestic wiretaps. And the analysis of the internal dynamics of the Nixon tapes decision is most enlightening.
The book is notable for an appendix with brief bios of Burger Court justices and its outstanding research reflected in 78 pages of notes. The authors' contention that the Burger Court's greatest impact in some areas may have come from doing little by not capitalizing on missed opportunities certainly bears consideration. Evaluating the long term impact of the Burger Court, this book suggests, may be a lot more complicated and challenging than we had assumed. Thanks to the authors, we are all in a better position to deal with this issue.
The authors set out to show how the Burger Court reached its most lasting decisions, laying a legal foundation for the conservative Rehnquist and Roberts’ Courts. In the 1968 presidential campaign Nixon promised to appoint “properly conservative” justices to the Supreme Court.
The Burger Court was tough on crime and reauthorized the death penalty in 1976. The Burger Court abandoned the Warren Court’s quest for equal criminal justice, instead it believes in protecting the public and punishing the guilty. The Burger Court slowed the enforcement or interfered with school desegregation. In 1978 they ruled racial quotes were unconstitutional in school admissions. They gave commercial and corporations the right to 1st amendment protection of free speech. They also allowed corporations the right to spend money in politics which was the foundation of the Citizens United decision of the Roberts’ Court. The authors provide many more examples to verify their hypothesis. I found this book most interesting. Needless to say the book was well written and meticulously research.
Graetz is a Professor of Law at Columbia Law School and author of seven books. Greenhouse is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and attorney who covers the Supreme Court for the New York Times. She has written four books about the Supreme Court. I read this as an e-book on the Kindle app for my iPad. It has 480 pages.