The Burger Court

 June 23, 1969 – Warren E. Burger is sworn in as Chief Justice of the United States.  His predecessor, Earl Warren, held this post for 15 years and is considered by many to be the most liberal Chief Justice ever and the Warren Court helped color the American landscape with its liberal rulings.   Burger was appointed by Richard Nixon who had promised to appoint conservatives to judicial positions.  Many had hoped that the conservative Burger would lead to a reversal of the Warren Court rulings.  Surprisingly, the Burger Court continued some of the liberal programs including supporting busing to enforce racial integration in the schools, the repeal of the death penalty as unconstitutional in many states, the still controversial and hotly debated Roe V. Wade that lead to the legalization of abortion.  Surprisingly, in United States v. Nixon, where the President sought to keep memos and tapes related to Watergate private under Executive Privilege, Burger ruled with the other justices in a unanimous decision that only the courts could determine what was protected under Executive Privilege.  After Nixon’s resignation, it was Burger who swore in Gerald Ford as President.


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