Decision: How the Supreme Court Decides Cases

By Bernard Schwartz | Go to book overview

Super Chief in Action

To those who served with him, Earl Warren will always be the Super Chief," Justice William J. Brennan used to say. Brennan had been Chief Justice Warren's closest associate on the Court and, more than any of the Justices, Brennan missed Warren after the latter retired.

Earl Warren was proud of his reputation as a great Chief Justice. Once, after he had delivered a talk to hundreds of students in the basement lounge of Notre Dame Law School, he was responding to questions. A student in the back of the packed lounge began a question, "Some people have suggested that you'll go down in history with Marshall as one of the two greatest Chief Justices." Warren smiled broadly and interrupted, "Could you say that again -- a little louder please? I'm having a little trouble hearing."


ARRIVAL OF THE SUPER CHIEF

In most respects Earl Warren could have been a character out of Sinclair Lewis or Sherwood Anderson. Justice Potter Stewart once said, " Warren's great strength was his simple belief in the things we now laugh at: motherhood, marriage, family, flag, and the like." These, according to Stewart, were the "eternal, rather bromidic, platitudes in which he sincerely believed." These were the foundation of Warren's jurisprudence, as they were of his way of life.

When we add to this Warren's bluff masculine bonhomie, his love of sports and the outdoors, and his lack of intellectual interests or pretensions, we end up with a typical representative of the Middle America of his day. Except for one thing -- Warren's leadership abilities. When he arrived at the Court, those abilities soon became apparent.

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Decision: How the Supreme Court Decides Cases
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xiii
  • Introduction 3
  • Cases Covered 9
  • 1 - Rehnquist and Roe 12
  • 2 - Webster and the Decision Process 36
  • 3 - The Chief Leads the Court 65
  • Super Chief in Action 88
  • 5 - Burger Rebuffed 120
  • 6 - The Court Leads the Chief 135
  • 7 - Individual Justices Lead the Court 155
  • 8 - Vote Switches 178
  • 9 - More Switches, Near Misses, and Abortion 207
  • 10 - Civil Rights and Other Rehnquist Court Switches 237
  • 11 - Apotheosis of Mediocrity? 256
  • Table of Cases 263
  • Index 265
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