The Burger Court and the Rise of the Judicial Right
W 2019


That the Supreme Court has become more conservative over the last 50 years has been recognized by constitutional scholars. A recently published book (2016) by Michael Graetz and Linda Greenhouse (professor at Columbia Law School and former Supreme Court reporter for the New York Times and currently lecturer in law at Yale, respectively) contends that the seeds of this rightward movement were planted and nourished during the Chief Justiceship of Warren E. Burger. Using that book as our core reading, this SDG will assess the legitimacy of the authors' conclusion by examining the myriad issues the Supreme Court dealt with during Burger's tenure. These issues range from the protection of money in politics to the protection of a woman's right to choose an abortion; from the decision that brought about the termination of Nixon's presidency to the termination of the death penalty and its subsequent resuscitation; and from the role of affirmative action in education and in the workplace to the role of the state as the sexual revolution was taking place.

Weekly Topics

1. The Justices of the Burger Court; basic Supreme court procedures

2.The Fall and the Rise of the Death Penalty

3.Taming the trilogy of Miranda, Mapp, and Gideon

4.Closing the Federal Courthouse Door and 'The Great Writ.'

5. Still Separate, but Unequal

6. Affirmative Action in Higher education

7. Privacy at a Price

8. Expression and Repression

9. A Religious People's Court

10. Corporation's are Persons

11. Battling workplace Inequality

12. Power and its Abuse

13. President Nixon and the Supreme Court

14. The Legacy of the Burger Court