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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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Conclusion Modern Conservatism and Judicial Power

Conclusion Modern Conservatism and Judicial Power

(p.284) Conclusion Modern Conservatism and Judicial Power
The Most Activist Supreme Court in History
University of Chicago Press

The liberal and Democratic support for the Court took a temporary hit from Bush v. Gore, but it quickly rebounded and is likely to remain strong over the long term, in large part because Justices O'Connor and Anthony Kennedy have preserved so much of the Warren Court legacy. The nation's ever-firmer commitment to rights-based activism has undermined the continued conservative calls for judicial restraint in contexts such as abortion and gay rights. Contemporary judicial conservatism is a rights-based conservatism. When the conservative justices have asserted their own power, they have generally justified such assertions on either originalist or rights-protecting grounds. If Bush v. Gore merits criticism, it is because it reflected an imperious vision of the judicial role that has characterized the current Court more generally, and not solely because it was a partisan decision in a particular case.

Keywords:   Bush v. Gore, Democratic support, O'Connor, Kennedy, rights-based conservatism

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