Justice Scalia and the Failure of the Conservative Agenda
Justice Scalia's independent viewpoints and outspokenness adversely affected the efforts by political conservatives to use the Supreme Court to advance key policy interests and thereby reverse liberal judicial policies from the Warren and Burger Court eras. Despite the success of Presidents Reagan and Bush in appointing enough conservative justices to the Supreme Court to form a dominant majority, the new majority did not act during its moment of opportunity to eliminate key precedents that were objectionable to conservatives. After his appointment to the Supreme Court, Scalia was viewed by "adoring conservatives . . . [as] the savior who will lead them into the judicial promised land of 'strict construction.'"1 Scalia was willing to use his intellect and skills to advance his conservative judicial philosophy, but aspects of his philosophy and judicial behavior made him ill-suited to the task of leading the Supreme Court's emerging conservative majority.
As described in Chapter 2, Scalia's interpretive themes, including textualism, originalism, and efforts to reduce judi-