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The Most Activist Supreme Court in HistoryThe Road to Modern Judicial Conservatism$
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Thomas M. Keck

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780226428840

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226428864.001.0001

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The Reagan Court and the Conservative Ascendance 1980–1994

The Reagan Court and the Conservative Ascendance 1980–1994

(p.156) Chapter Five The Reagan Court and the Conservative Ascendance 1980–1994
The Most Activist Supreme Court in History
University of Chicago Press

Most scholars assumed that the conservative Court would abandon liberal activism and replace it with restraint, just as they had expected when Rehnquist first joined the bench in 1972, when Reagan elevated Rehnquist to chief justice in 1986. After O'Connor's appointment, Reagan and his advisers were determined to nominate conservative judges who were willing and able to transform the law, but they did not have another opportunity until Chief Justice Warren Burger's retirement in 1986. The Reagan administration supplemented its judicial appointment strategy with a variety of parallel efforts to enact the New Right constitutional vision into law. Though Rehnquist and the Reagan administration helped get things started, Justice Scalia emerged as the unquestioned conservative leader on separation of powers concerns.

Keywords:   conservative Court, Reagan, liberal activism, Reagan administration, conservative judges

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