Encyclopedia of American Parties, Campaigns, and Elections

By William C. Binning; Larry E. Esterly et al. | Go to book overview

B

BABY BOOMERS is the name used to describe the generation born after the end of World War II. Millions were born in the United States between 1946 and 1964. It is estimated that there are 75 million baby boomers. The population group has had a tremendous impact on American culture, the economy, and the political system. A large number of schools were built to accommodate them in the 1950s, and they flooded colleges and universities in the 1960. They protested the Vietnam War and created a free-spirited youth culture in the 1960s. It is expected that they will have a tremendous impact on the entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare when they begin to retire.

Many experts predict that future politics will be driven by a generational struggle as younger voters, who will have to pay the cost of the entitlements demanded by the retired baby boomers, resist the added tax burden. President Bill Clinton was the first "boomer" to serve as president of the United States.

Reference: Paul C. Light, Baby Boomers ( New York: W. W. Norton, 1988).

BAKER v. CARR , 369 U.S. 186 ( 1962) is a threshold case in which it was announced that courts were competent to review legislative apportionments. Sixteen years earlier, in the case of Colegrove v. Green ( 1946), the Supreme Court had refused to entertain a challenge to an Illinois apportionment statute, arguing that to do so would violate the "political questions" doctrine.

This case involved a challenge to the apportionment of the Tennessee General Assembly. The legislature in that state had not been reapportioned since 1901, even though the population had both grown and shifted in the prior 60 years. In a stunning reversal of Colegrove, the Court directed the Federal District Court in Tennessee to hear the challenge and, if appropriate, fashion a remedy.

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