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Kevin Joseph McMahon
Trinity College (Hartford, CT 06106-3100)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$5,000 (approved)
$5,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2007 – 7/31/2007

Nixon’s Court: The Silent Majority and the Conservative Counterrevolution That Was

With an eye toward ROE v. WADE (1973), most scholars and commentators have generally concluded that Richard Nixon’s campaign to turn back Warren Court-style liberal activism came up short. I suggest, however, that Nixon’s approach to the Supreme Court has been misunderstood and misjudged. First, when Nixon was constructing his judicial policy (defined to include appointments, legislation, and Justice Department action), politics rather than ideological purity dominated his thinking. Second, Nixon’s definition of conservatism with regard to altering judicial doctrine was quite limited, with his policy designed mainly to address the issues of “law-and-order” and school desegregation, not to unleash a complete counterrevolution in the law.