Cover image for The ascent of pragmatism : the Burger Court in action
The ascent of pragmatism : the Burger Court in action
Schwartz, Bernard, 1923-1997.
Publication Information:
Reading, Mass. : Addison-Wesley Pub. Co., [1990]

Physical Description:
x, 482 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library KF8742 .S29 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

An analysis of recent U.S. Supreme Court history and the major decisions handed down during the leadership of Chief Justice Warren Burger. It was, according to the author, Burger's lack of effective guidance that created a splintered and fragmented judiciary, with a moderate center that negotiated between more radical elements on the left and right. The author re-creates the debates that led to momentous decisions on abortion rights, school busing, affirmative action, and government spending, as well as detailing the Court's role in the Pentagon papers case and the Watergate scandal. Schwartz also examines less-heralded issues that nevertheless have had great effect on civil rights and liberties. Describing how the law is interpreted at the highest level and illustrating just how these judicial decisions are arrived at, this book is just what the confirmed court watcher needs. Schwartz is the author of Inside the Warren Court [BKL S 1 83] and coauthor with Stephan Lesher of Super Chief: Earl Warren and His Supreme Court [BKL Jl 83]. Chronology, notes; index. --John Brosnahan

Publisher's Weekly Review

Although the Supreme Court under Chief Justice Warren Burger preached judicial restraint, it actually pursued a policy of ``rootless activism,'' contends New York University law professor Schwartz. He offers a critical portrait of Burger as a frequently inept opinion-writer and a weak leader. In this detailed casebook, the author of Super Chief: Earl Warren and His Supreme Court argues that Burger, a tough law-and-order judge, sought to dismantle the liberal edifice erected by Warren but was out-voted by a centrist majority of justices. The Burger Court (1969-1986) upheld women's right to abortion ( Roe v . Wade ), endorsed affirmative action programs, extended rights to criminal or indigent defendants and, in U.S. v . Nixon , contributed to the first resignation of a president. Schwartz argues lamely that the Burger Court was generally swept along by what it perceived as a consensus in the social arena. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This is a thoroughly researched book on the Supreme Court under Chief Justice Warren Burger. Schwartz (law, NYU Law School), author of Super Chief: Earl Warren and His Supreme Court ( LJ 4/15/83) , looks at the important Burger Court decisions. Rather than confining the book to landmark cases, Schwartz examines those cases which exemplify his theses--that Burger himself was not as effective as the entire Court he supervised; that the Court was a logical successor to the Warren Court in that it consolidated most of the latter's decisions; and that it was both an activist Court, due to decisions such as Roe v. Wade , and a pragmatic one in that it followed the trends of the time rather than breaking new ground. Schwartz's insights into the individual Justices are excellent. Recommended.-- Robert W. Langran, Villanova Univ., Pa. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Noted Supreme Court authority Schwartz (Super Chief, CH, Nov'83; The Unpublished Opinions of the Warren Court, CH, Mar'86; and Behind Bakke, CH, Sep'88) has written an excellent book on the operation of the Supreme Court during the 17 years that Warren Burger served as the chief justice. The author interviewed members of the Court, former law clerks, and others. He also consulted conference notes, docket books, memoranda, personal correspondence, and other documents. The result is a most informative description of the voting tendencies of the chief justice and the associate justices who made up the Burger Court. In addition, 11 chapters are devoted to an in-depth discussion of the major issue areas dealt with by the decisions of the Burger Court. Extensively documented, it contains a chronology of the Burger Court, a subject index, and a case index. Must reading for anyone who wishes to understand the decisions of the Supreme Court. Undergraduate and graduate students. -R. Stidham, Lamar University

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