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Bonus Interview Footage
Glossary

On William Rehnquist and the institutional stability and legitimacy of the Court

Transcript
Well I think Justice Rehnquist, and all of the justices, feel that it's part of their role to be protective of the institution. That's not a limited assignment for the Chief Justice. On the other hand, I do think there's a special responsibility that comes with being the Chief to look out for the institutional stability, security and prerogatives of the Court. And I'd be surprised if Justice Rehnquist's view on a number of areas didn't change when he moved from as associate justice to being the Chief Justice. It kind of comes with the territory. I suppose the perhaps the clearest example of that was his opinion in the, in the Dickerson case. Certainly Justice Rehnquist did not have much truck with the Court's decision in Miranda. His views on that, I think, were pretty well established. And yet when he was Chief Justice and the issue was presented to the Court again a second time in the Dickerson case, he wrote the opinion saying we weren't going to revisit Miranda. And its requirements were going to remain part of the requirements in, in federal law. I think at that time he appreciated how the Miranda decision had become part of the constitutional fabric of our society and that it would be too disruptive to uproot it. Now would he have taken the same approach if he was not the Chief Justice? That's a little hard to say. But I do think his concerns for the institutional legitimacy and stability and stature of the Court explained a lot of his ultimate decision in Dickerson.


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