“The Long Reach of the Sixties: LBJ, Nixon, and the Making of the Contemporary Supreme Court”
Laura Kalman focuses on the period between 1965 and 1971, when Presidents Johnson and Nixon launched the most ambitious effort to control the Court since Franklin Roosevelt tried to pack it with additional justices. She roots their efforts to mold the Court in their desire to protect their Presidencies, and she sets them within the broader context of a struggle between the executive, judicial and legislative branches of government. The battles that ensued transformed the meaning of the Warren Court in American memory by calcifying its image as “activist” and “liberal”; changed the Court itself as an institution; and have haunted—indeed scarred—the contemporary Supreme Court appointments process.
Laura Kalman is Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The 2017 Maurice and Muriel Fulton Lectureship in Legal History was recorded on April 20, 2017.