Sample Criminal Justice Essay Summary on The Warren and The Rehnquist Courts

The Warren and The Rehnquist Courts

The Warren and Rehnquist courts impacted the legal system immensely. The courts stood for aspects such as criminal law, civil rights and religion among others. The Rehnquist court for instance ruled against child abuse while focusing on the aspects of gender and sex. While serving as the Chief Justice between 1953 and 1969, Earl Warren used the opportunity to propagate his liberal beliefs. He held a strict stance against the conservatives and often ruled against them. His stand was described as selective incorporation as he referred to the fourth, fifth and sixth amendments in most of his judgments. The application of the Bill of Rights in the judgment as outlined in the law led to a Revolution of judgment. The fourth amendment does not provide for the exclusion of illegally obtained evidence from trials. The decisions made by the Warren courts were very unpopular with the public.

The decisions made by Warren’s court were recognized as unfair in most cases since they led to the release of many people unfairly. However, the decisions could not be refuted as they were constitutionally protected. The Brown v. Board of Education case of 1954 was one of the most important cases of Warren’s time (Belknap, 2005). During the case, it was decided that the placement of marginalized communities and led to the integration of the school system. Rehnquist was elevated by President Reagan in 1986. The Rehnquist court was identified through its patchiness. It was reported that the amount of injustices experienced since the pre-civil times. The Rehnquist court was recognized as the conservative type. As opposed to the Warren tenure where bold actions were the norm, the Rehnquist regime could only be associated with the recognition that the guillotine was not the only effective strategy for the punishment of criminals (Hensley, 2005). The tenure further advocated for the habeas retroactive doctrine.

The anti retroactive doctrine was based on the federal law and the common law. The habeas corpus included the application of the ‘old law.’ The new law was different from the old law in that legal gaps existed in the old system which the new law purposed to fill. Additionally, the Warren court emphasized on the power of the courts, especially the Supreme Court. The laws were given by the circuits and the district courts. The Rehnquist court on the other hand was inclined on ideologies.  Despite the differences in operations, both courts managed to provide ethical guidelines for the accomplishment of the court proceedings.

On its own, the Warren court managed to realize various key changes in the judiciary. For instance, Warren’s court led to the unblocking of the political pathways. The reinstitution of marginalized communities also resulted in better minority representation. The Warren court was described as radical in decision making due to various key achievements such as the broad embracement of individual ideologies (Segal et al., 2005). The Rehnquist court on the other hand did not have much of the fame associated with the Warren Court. The court was associated with controversial decisions. Most of the amendments outlined in the 14th amendment arose from this court and were not applied publicly. As a matter of fact, the court was termed as controversial based on the argument that the 14th amendment could only be applicable in helping reduce slavery. Despite the failures associated with the two courts, it is clear that their impacts are widely felt in the US legal environment.




Belknap, M. R. (2005). The Supreme Court under Earl Warren, 1953-1969. Columbia, S.C: University of South Carolina Press.

Hensley, T. R. (2006). The Rehnquist Court: Justices, rulings, and legacy. Santa Barbara, Calif. [u.a.: ABC-Clio.

Segal, J. A., Benesh, S. C., &Spaeth, H. J. (2005). The Supreme Court in the American legal system. Cambridge [u.a.: Cambridge University Press.


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