chapter  XXIX
XXIX Criminal Due Process after Warren
Pages 17

The nationalization of criminal due process by the Warren Court had drawn fi re from conservatives who accused the Court of undermining effective law enforcement by stretching the rights of criminal suspects beyond reasonable bounds. Because the Court’s rulings on criminal due process coincided with rising crime rates, many believed that the Court was somehow to blame. President Nixon exploited the issue during the 1968 election, criticizing the Court for its alleged “liberal excesses,” and promising to appoint justices who would balance the scales of justice in favor of the forces of law and order. After Warren retired the following year, Nixon appointed Warren Burger to replace him at least partly because of his reputation as a law-and-order judge on the federal circuit court of appeals. Nixon’s other appointees-Harry A. Blackmun, Lewis F. Powell, and William H. Rehnquist-were also more conservative than the justices they replaced. Rehnquist, the most conservative and intellectually gifted of the lot, went on to become chief justice himself when Burger retired in 1986. The ideological shift to the right made some form of reaction almost inevitable in the administration of criminal justice. The only question was how far it would go in rolling back the decisions of the Warren Court.