June 25, 1986 |
President Reagan's long-expected chance to reshape the United States Supreme Court has presented itself at last, and the President has seized it in a way that signals a watershed in the history of the Court. With Chief Justice Warren E. Burger's announcement that he will step down at the end of the Court's current term, the president's nominations of Associate Justice William H. Rehnquist to become chief justice of the United States and of Judge Antonin Scalia to become an associate justice are plainly designed to produce seismic change in the content of our constitutional law and in the role of the Supreme Court.
October 6, 1991 |
Having said farewell to the last traditional liberal on their bench and now awaiting the arrival of yet another conservative, the Supreme Court justices will open their new term tomorrow amid predictions of fundamental changes in constitutional rights. Many experts believe the court will veer away from - or renounce - past endorsements of racial preferences in affirmative action programs, a woman's right to have an abortion, and a generally strict separation of government and religion.
July 13, 1986 |
Warren E. Burger, who served longer than any other chief justice appointed in this century, may be remembered most for what he and the other members of the Burger court did not do. When Burger replaced Earl Warren as chief justice of the United States in 1969, he was expected to lead the court in a dramatic movement to the right, rolling back - or even repealing - the liberal doctrines of the Warren years that had infuriated so many Americans....
March 8, 1992 |
Earl Warren, the late chief justice of the United States, whose broad interpretations of law helped expand civil liberties, will be honored tomorrow on a 29-cent definitive of the Great Americans Series. Warren is the 52d person honored in the series that debuted in 1980. He also is the fifth member of the Supreme Court to appear on a stamp, following John Marshall, Hugo L. Black, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. and Harlan Fiske Stone. First-day ceremonies will be held in the Lower Great Hall of the Supreme Court Building in Washington.
May 27, 2009 |
Is empathy a desirable quality in a U.S. Supreme Court justice? President Obama said he was searching for it. But as a qualification for a jurist, it gives conservatives the willies and can produce mixed results. We expect judges to resist empathy and impose the law evenhandedly. We are appropriately outraged when a judge goes easy on a defendant with whom he identifies - the suburban white kid, say, who gets community service, whereas his urban black counterpart goes off to jail.
June 21, 1986 |
Zeke Bonura was a large and remarkably immobile first baseman whose slowness did not grieve him because he understood a vital principle of baseball: You are rarely charged with an error when you do not touch the ball. Conservatives have hoped the Supreme Court would adhere to the Bonura insight, sometimes known as judicial restraint. The Burger Court has not. Indeed, its judicial activism has been as marked as, and arguably more destructive than, the Warren Court's. None of the Warren Court's most important rulings has been overturned or even significantly circumscribed in the 17 Burger years.
June 29, 1986
Following is the text of an interview by Bruce S. Rosen, editor-in-chief of the New Jersey Law Journal, with Justice William J. Brennan Jr., 80, of the U.S. Supreme Court shortly after President Reagan announced the retirement of Chief Justice Warren E. Burger. Justice Brennan has been among the liberal voices on the court for 30 years. Some responses have been abridged. Question - Was the retirement of Chief Justice Warren E. Burger and nomination of William H. Rehnquist to succeed him a complete surprise?
June 26, 1995 |
Retired Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, 87, the nation's 15th chief justice who served from 1969 to 1986, the longest tenure of this century, died yesterday. Justice Burger died of congestive heart failure at Sibley Memorial Hospital, said Toni House, spokeswoman for the court. "Justice Burger was a strong, powerful, visionary chief justice who opened the doors of opportunity," President Clinton said in a statement issued in Little Rock. "As chief justice, he was concerned with the administration of the court, serving with enthusiasm and always making sure it was above reproach.
July 5, 1991 |
Great Supreme Court dissents lie like buried ammunition for future generations to unearth when the time comes. In 1919 Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes refused to join in sending socialist leafleteers to prison. He wrote, joined by Justice Louis D. Brandeis, that "we should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe. " That dissent laid the ground for flag-burners' First Amendment victories decades later. And when Justice John Marshall Harlan dissented from an 1896 decision that upheld segregated railway cars, he armed the Warren Court with the basis for holding, in its 1954 decision in Brown vs. Board of Education, that "the doctrine of 'separate but equal' has no place.
May 16, 2004 |
An observation on the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling known as Brown v. Board of Education: Not every case in which someone asserts a "right" is comparable to Brown v. Board. Not every cause possesses the moral urgency of ending segregation. But too many cases and causes puff themselves up by claiming Brown's mantle. The results: a fateful increase in liberal sanctimony, a worrisome decrease in democratic patience, and a predictable backlash against the courts.