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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 Nixon Court and the Conservative Turn 1969–1980

The Nixon Court and the Conservative Turn 1969–1980

(p.107) Chapter Four The Nixon Court and the Conservative Turn 1969–1980
The Most Activist Supreme Court in History
University of Chicago Press

This chapter describes the doctrinal influence of these political developments throughout the 1970s. The rights-protecting constitutional doctrines of the Warren Court were buffeted by the conservative critiques of both judicial power and modern liberalism itself, but they were also increasingly entrenched as a core feature of contemporary American democracy. Nixon's most important campaign pledge in 1968 regarding the Court was to appoint conservative southerners and “strict constructionists,” and he quickly had four opportunities to do so, as Justices Earl Warren, Abe Fortas, Hugo Black, and John Harlan all retired during his first term in office. Conservatives continued to denounce liberal activism as undemocratic and hence illegitimate, but in a variety of constitutional contexts, they had now articulated clear demands for the active exercise of judicial power on behalf of conservative principles.

Keywords:   Warren Court, judicial power, modern liberalism, contemporary American democracy, conservative principles

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