Rehnquist Court

The term Rehnquist Court refers to the period from October 1986 to June 2005, when William H. Rehnquist served as chief justice. During this period, the U.S. Supreme Court was sharply divided along liberal and conservative lines. Between October 1986 and October 1991, the Court arguably had a liberal majority. From October 1991 until June 2005, the Court arguably had a conservative majority. However, during both of these eras, there were numerous circumstances in which one or more justices switched sides and rendered liberal or conservative opinions. Insofar as the Court was sharply divided and some justices had a tendency to “swing,” it was difficult for the Court to reach clear and logical decisions. Thus, the Rehnquist Court's jurisprudence, particularly during its last 5 ...

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