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The Supreme Court

Ebbs and Flows of Court Leadership

A dozen chief justices served between John Marshall and Earl Warren. All had some impact on the building of our judicial system, some more than others, but none as great as those two giants of the court.

The activist times starting with the Warren Court and continuing today are not the first time there have been activist periods on the Court. The Court has ebbed and flowed between periods of judicial restraint and judicial activism throughout its history. The activist periods occurred primarily when the country faced economic, political, or social crisis, such as the buildup to the Civil War, the aftermath of two World Wars, and the Great Depression.

I'll take you on a quick trip back in history to briefly discuss the other courts led by the other chief justices and review key decisions of these courts.

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to The Supreme Court © 2004 by Lita Epstein, J.D.. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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