Right Turn Ahead?

A liberal Justice's resignation brings an end to an age of judicial activism. Now Bush may try to accelerate the Supreme Court's conservative trend.

An era ended last week. With the abrupt resignation of Justice William Brennan, the court that Chief Justice Earl Warren led into an age of liberal judicial activism passed into history.

As the most influential survivor of that panel, Brennan waged a sometimes lonely fight over the past two decades to stem a growing conservative tide in the Supreme Court. Using both his intellect and his gregarious personality, he tried -- not always successfully -- to slow the steady erosion of the landmark decisions on civil liberties that he had written or helped shape. His departure, which may be followed soon...

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