Warren Burger's Career Shift (02:46)
Robert MacNeil introduces Professor Dick Howard, who discusses why Burger would choose to chair the Commission on the Constitution Bicentennial Celebration. He spent 30% of his time on administrative matters, and was approaching 80.
William Rehnquist (02:52)
Howard believes Chief Justice Rehnquist will be well-liked among his colleagues and bring a fresh intellectual perspective to the Supreme Court; ideological divisions will remain.
Antonin Scalia (03:31)
Jim Lehrer introduces Bruce Fein, who discusses Scalia's ideas about interpreting the Constitution and decisions argued based on privacy laws. Scalia supports presidential authority and religious practice in public life, and seeks to clarify lower court guidelines.
Scalia's Qualifications (02:23)
Fein outlines Scalia's legal credentials and discusses his commitment to teamwork and coalition building. He argues that Scalia is not an ideological conservative, but supports elected branches of government in policy making.
Political Considerations (05:41)
MacNeil introduces Laurence Tribe, who argues that Congress must consider Rehnquist and Scalia's intellectual scope and constitutional interpretation before confirming them. Separation of church and state, and libel laws are relevant issues.
Confirmation Process (03:18)
Fein believes Scalia and Rehnquist are committed to preserving the role of elected officials in policy making. Tribe argues that senators must consider their positions on certain issues. Fein brings up Justice Blackmun's imposition of his views on abortion legislation.
Warren and Burger Courts (04:13)
Howard discusses how the Burger Court upheld Warren Court's activist uses of the Constitution, and addressed abortion and capital punishment. Tribe references progressive decisions written during the Burger Court treating the Constitution as an evolving document.
Senate Judiciary Committee Predictions (08:03)
Republican Orrin Hatch and Democrat Paul Simon predict that Rehnquist will be confirmed quickly; Simon believes Scalia will face broader philosophical questioning from liberals. Hatch discusses the Reagan Administration's belief that judges should be interpretivists, rather than lawmakers.
Interpretivist versus Activist Judges (02:31)
Tribe and Hatch disagree whether the debate over Supreme Court nominees addresses judicial overstepping of Constitutional boundaries.
Warren Burger's Legacy (04:39)
Howard believes the Burger Court was more concerned with administrative reform than ideological debate; Fein discusses his support of executive authority. Tribe argues that he preserved some of the Warren Court's traditions; Simon highlights penal reform contributions.
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