arrived on the Court in 1956 after Warren had established himself as the Court's leader in the 1954 Brown case, so Brennan functioned primarily as a close advisor to Warren, who was the acknowledged leader of the Court during this important era. The concept of critical judicial nominations rests on the notion that these pivotal moments cause significant changes, so differing interpretations of the essentialness (or lack thereof) of Warren's nomination for the Warren Court era might lead others to exclude Warren from this classification.
The consequences of the Fortas nomination fiasco were clearly unintended and unanticipated by President Johnson. The question concerning the Fortas nomination is whether the Burger Court that resulted from that nomination really had a significant impact on politics and government. Of the three illustrative nominations, the classification of the Fortas nomination may be susceptible to the strongest disagreement because of continuing questions about the role and impact of the Nixon appointees. The argument advanced here is that the Burger Court was sufficiently different from the Warren Court to constitute a significant change in the Court's role. Given the contemporary recognition that it is the Rehnquist-era Court, much more so than the Burger-era Court, that aggressively attacked the Warren-era legacy, alternative interpretations of the Burger Court's importance are plausible.