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Unformatted text preview: 152 Politic: hy Other Meg decision was subsequently reversed by Congress in the 1991 Civil ,- Rights Act.)18 In 1993, the Library of Congress made public the, ‘3‘ papers of the late Justice Thurgood Marshall, long a champion of; . the civil rights cause. Marshall’s papers reveal not only his disap- - pointment at the Court's change of direction but also the key role -_ played by President Reagan’s appointees in bringing about this change.19 The Rehnquist Court’s key abortion decision came in the case J of Webster 12. wadm'tive Health S miter. Justice Marshall’s papers re- veal that the Court actually came very close to overturning Rae _‘ Rehnquist’s early drafts of the decision would have effectively over- i turned Rae. He was able to win the support of only three other jus- ‘5 tices, Scalia, Kennedy, and White, for this course of action. A fourth justice, Sandra Day O’Connor, wavered for several weeks. -’ Had O‘Connor joined Rehnquist, of course the chief justice would have had the five votes needed for a majority. Ultimately O’Con- not decided not to support overturning Rae, and Rehnquist was forced to write a narrower ruling, which nevertheless opened the :- way for new state regulation of abortion. Subsequently, the Court upheld state laws requiring parental notification before an abortion could be performed on a woman under the age of eighteen.20 In addition to these areas, the Rehnquist Court eased restriction " on the use of capital punishment, allowing states to execute men- tally retarded murderers and murderers who were as young as six- teen at the time of their crimes.21 After 1990 the Court made a number of decisions in the areas of civil rights, abortion, property rights, and criminal procedure that indicated a shift to the political right under the influence of * the Reagan and Bush appointees. For example, in the case of Board of Education 0f Oklahoma City 1/. Dowel] the Court restricted the use of judicially mandated busing plans to achieve school integration.22 In the case of Run v. Sullivan the Court held that employees of fed- erally financed family planning programs could be forbidden to discuss abortion with their clients.23 In Arizona 1/. Fulrninante the Court found that the use of a coerced confession in a trial did not lmtimtional thdt 153 automatically invalidate a conviction.24 In Luca: 1/. S 014th Carolina C 045ml Council the Court gave a sympathetic hearing to a property owner’s claim that state restrictions on land development consti— tuted a seizure of property without compensation in violation of the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment.23 In the 1993 case of Shaw 1/. Reno the Court placed limits upon the “benign gerrymandering" of legislative district boundaries that is used to increase the repre- sentatlon of racial minorities.26 Efforts by Reagan and Bush to reshape the federal judiciary, however, were not fully successful. Often in American history, judges have surprised and disappointed the presidents who named them to the bench, and the Reagan and Bush appointees were no exception. Justice Souter has been far less conservative than Re— publicans hoped. Justices O'Connor and Kennedy have disap- pointed conservatives by opposing limitations on abortion. In the important 1992 case of Planned Parenthood afSoutheaJtern Pennsylvania 1/. Casey the Court upheld state regulations requiring that women seeking abortions wait twenty-four hours after being provided with the information about the process and also requir— ing parental consent for minors.27 Yet it reaffirmed the constitu- tional right to an abortion established by Roe 1/. Wade. Indeed, in their unusual joint opinion, Justices O’Connor, Kennedy, and Souter expressed irritation at the White House for its ceaseless pressure on the Court to strike down Roe v. Wade.28 These three jus- tices believed that this pressure represented a threat to the insti- tutional integrity of the Supreme Court. With a combined total of twelve years in office, Republican Presidents Reagan and Bush were also able to exercise a good deal of influence on the composition of the federal district and appellate courts. By the end of Bush’s term he and Reagan together had ap- pointed nearly half of all federal judges. Thus, whatever impact Reagan and Bush ultimately have on the Supreme Court, their ap— pointments will continue to influence the temperament and be- havior of the district and circuit courts for years to come. After his election in 1992, President Bill Clinton sought to appoint more ...
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