Justice Antonin Scalia and the Supreme Court's Conservative Moment

Justice Antonin Scalia and the Supreme Court's Conservative Moment

Justice Antonin Scalia and the Supreme Court's Conservative Moment

Justice Antonin Scalia and the Supreme Court's Conservative Moment

Synopsis

This book analyzes why the Rehnquist Court never fulfilled expectations for the reversal of liberal judicial decisions from the Warren and Burger Courts. At its conservative high point in 1991-1992 the Supreme Court was dominated by seven justices who had dependably conservative voting records over the course of their early careers. Five of these justices were appointed in the 1980s and early 1990s by Reagan and Bush, presidents who made concerted efforts to appoint judicial officers who would undo liberal precedents. This is the first book to focus on scholars' growing recognition that the Rehnquist Court has not been as conservative as most presumed it would be. In focusing on Justice Antonin Scalia, whose role inadvertently contributed to the Court's failure to achieve conservative goals, the study examines how individual justices can affect Supreme Court decisions through their judicial behavior.

Excerpt

Scholars who study the United States Supreme Court face special challenges in seeking to gain the information necessary for a comprehensive understanding of the high court's decision making. the justices who serve on the Supreme Court issue written opinions that formally present the Court's decisions and reasoning. However, these written opinions do not provide a complete picture of judicial decision-making processes. in order to protect the image and legitimacy of the judicial branch, the justices remain cloistered behind their marble columns and velvet curtains as they seek to perpetuate the myth that they merely interpret law rather than create public policy. Scholars are well aware that the justices do much more than interpret law. the papers and autobiographies of deceased justices, comments to the press by anonymous law clerks, and occasional anecdotes revealed by the justices themselves all provide clues about the interactions, strategic and otherwise, that shape Supreme Court decisions as the justices seek to persuade each other about desirable outcomes. the black robes of judicial office cannot eliminate the human attributes and motivations of the people appointed to sit on the nation's most authoritative court. However, because these human beings strive to remain . . .

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