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The Burger Court and the Rise of the Judicial Right

by Linda Greenhouse Michael J. Graetz

A fresh and revelatory look at the Warren Burger Supreme Court finds that it was not a "moderate" or transitional court, as often portrayed, but a conservative one that still defines the constitutional landscape we live in today.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 liberal Warren Court and the Rehnquist and Roberts Courts, a court where little of importance happened. But as Michael J. Graetz and Linda Greenhouse show, the Burger Court veered well to the right in such areas as criminal law, race, and corporate power. Even while declaring a right to abortion in Roe v. Wade, it drew the line at government funding for poor women. The authors excavate the roots of the most significant Burger Court decisions and show how their legacy affects us today. The most comprehensive evaluation of the Burger Supreme Court ever written for a general audience, The Burger Court and the Rise of the Judicial Right draws on the personal papers of the justices as well as other archives to reveal how the Court shaped its major decisions. It will surprise even legal scholars and historians with its insights into a period that has received too little attention from either.

Death by a Thousand Cuts: The Fight Over Taxing Inherited Wealth

by Ian Shapiro Michael J. Graetz

This fast-paced book by Yale professors Michael Graetz and Ian Shapiro unravels the following mystery: How is it that the estate tax, which has been on the books continuously since 1916 and is paid by only the wealthiest two percent of Americans, was repealed in 2001 with broad bipartisan support? The mystery is all the more striking because the repeal was not done in the dead of night, like a congressional pay raise. It came at the end of a multi-year populist campaign launched by a few individuals, and was heralded by its supporters as a signal achievement for Americans who are committed to the work ethic and the American Dream. Graetz and Shapiro conducted wide-ranging interviews with the relevant players: members of congress, senators, staffers from the key committees and the Bush White House, civil servants, think tank and interest group representatives, and many others. The result is a unique portrait of American politics as viewed through the lens of the death tax repeal saga. Graetz and Shapiro brilliantly illuminate the repeal campaign's many fascinating and unexpected turns--particularly the odd end result whereby the repeal is slated to self-destruct a decade after its passage. They show that the stakes in this fight are exceedingly high; the very survival of the long standing American consensus on progressive taxation is being threatened. Graetz and Shapiro's rich narrative reads more like a political drama than a conventional work of scholarship. Yet every page is suffused by their intimate knowledge of the history of the tax code, the transformation of American conservatism over the past three decades, and the wider political implications of battles over tax policy.

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