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date: 16 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines constitutional development in the United States since the time of President Ronald Reagan. It considers the Reagan administration’s constitutional agenda, with particular emphasis on the Republican Party’s sustained effort to use the courts’ institutional authority to read key conservative priorities into the Constitution, and how Reagan used the legal apparatus to push constitutional law rightward. It also discusses the legal results of the Republican strategy for constitutional change, paying special attention to the role played by the federal judiciary in the partisan coalition. Finally, the chapter explores two conflicting desires of the conservatives: to rein in the landmark doctrines of liberal judicial activism dating to the Warren and early Burger Courts and to use their newfound control of the federal courts to advance conservative policy goals.

Keywords: Ronald Reagan, Republican Party, Constitution, constitutional law, constitutional change, constitutional development, federal judiciary, conservatives, judicial activism, federal courts

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