The Burger Court and the Rise of the Judicial Right

The Burger Court and the Rise of the Judicial Right


Publication Date



When Richard Nixon campaigned for the presidency in 1968 he promised to change the Supreme Court. With four appointments to the court, including Warren E. Burger as the chief justice, he did just that. In 1969, the Burger Court succeeded the famously liberal Warren Court, which had significantly expanded civil liberties and was despised by conservatives across the country.

The Burger Court is often described as a “transitional” court between the Warren Court and the Rehnquist and Roberts Courts, a court where little of importance happened. But as this book shows, the Burger Court veered well to the right in such areas as criminal law, race, and corporate power. Authors Graetz and Greenhouse excavate the roots of the most significant Burger Court decisions and show how their legacy affects us today.


Courts | Law | Legal History | Supreme Court of the United States




Simon & Schuster


New York, NY


"A powerful corrective to the standard narrative of the Burger court . . . should change the way that period is perceived ... As this important book makes clear, courts, given time, can accomplish – or demolish – a great deal by degrees, leaving their successors to finish the job."
Jeff Shesol, The New York Times Book Review

"Ambitious and engaging ... Graetz and Greenhouse's work serves as an important corrective, demonstrating that the Burger court demands far more sustained scrutiny and analysis than legal scholarship has generally afforded it. Readers interested in the Supreme Court’s role in American society during the second half of the 20th century will gather significant insight from this book's elegant, illuminating arguments."
Justin Driver, The Washington Post

"When the Supreme Court unanimously ruled against President Nixon in the famous 1974 Watergate Tapes Case that doomed his presidency, Nixon cursed the justices he had appointed. The myth grew that Nixon had failed to significantly move the Court to right. In their compelling, elegantly written analysis, two brilliant legal scholars (and clear-eyed explainers) convincingly demolish that myth."
Evan Thomas, author of Being Nixon

"[A] landmark new book ... Thrillingly intelligent analysis of the ways the Burger Court handled the massive legacy it was handed by the Warren Court. ... Graetz and Greenhouse are tough but even-handed, dealing equally in personalities and precedents and creating some energetic reading along the way."
Steve Donoghue, Christian Science Monitor

The Burger Court and the Rise of the Judicial Right

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