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The Supreme Court The Supreme Court - Image of hands holding a gavel.
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Glossary

On William Rehnquist's leadership

Transcript
Well Chief Justice Rehnquist was a very modest man. And he often said that his legacy, if you will, was that you know he presided over the Court in a fairly efficient manner. But I do think that's a little too modest. You can point to particular areas of the al where views that he originally expressed in dissent eventually became majority opinions of the Court. But I think his influence is much more general than that. I think over the period that he was on the Court he brought a new rigor to legal analysis. A greater focus, for example, in the area of statutory interpretation on what the law actually says. If you were arguing a case before him and you said well what Congress meant was this he's likely to interrupt and say well, what did Congress say? And that was a big shift from the time he came onto the Court, a new focus on the Court's precedence. A move away from kind of a free-wheeling jurisprudence where the courts are trying to implement their own view of what informed and enlightened social policy is with the legal basis as kind of a footnote along the way and more of a focus on, on law. I think he really did bring not by himself, but under his leadership, bring the Supreme Court and the other courts back to their moorings as courts of law rather than as agents of social policy.


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