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American constitutional history

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Constitutional Law And The Myth Of The Great Judge, Michael S. Ariens Jan 1993

Constitutional Law And The Myth Of The Great Judge, Michael S. Ariens

Faculty Articles

One of the enduring myths of American history, including constitutional history, is that of the “Great Man” or “Great Woman.” The idea is that, to understand the history of America, one needs to understand the impact made by Great Men and Women whose actions affected the course of history. In political history, one assays the development of the United States through the lives of great Americans, from the “Founders” to Abraham Lincoln to John F. Kennedy. Similarly, in constitutional history, the story is told through key figures, the “Great Judges,” from John Marshall to Oliver Wendell Holmes to Earl Warren. …


On The Road Of Good Intentions: Justice Brennan And The Religion Clauses, Michael S. Ariens Jan 1991

On The Road Of Good Intentions: Justice Brennan And The Religion Clauses, Michael S. Ariens

Faculty Articles

Associate Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan took the oath of office on October 16, 1956. At the time of Justice Brennan’s appointment to the Supreme Court, the Court had decided only a few cases involving the religion clauses of the first amendment, and judicial interpretation of the religion clauses had been sparing.

In the thirty-four years of Justice Brennan’s tenure, the Court worked several revolutions in religion clause jurisprudence—revolutions guided by a sense of the needs of a changing society. Justice Brennan was one of several architects of a new order in establishment clause interpretation, and was the architect …