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Deciding to Leave
The Politics of Retirement from the United States Supreme Court
Deciding to Leave
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Artemus Ward - Author
SUNY series in American Constitutionalism
Price: $95.00 
Hardcover - 358 pages
Release Date: February 2003
ISBN10: 0-7914-5651-X
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-5651-4

Price: $33.95 
Paperback - 358 pages
Release Date: January 2003
ISBN10: 0-7914-5652-8
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-5652-1

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Summary Read First Chapter image missing

The first sustained examination of the process by which justices elect to leave the United States Supreme Court.

While much has been written on Supreme Court appointments, Deciding to Leave provides the first systematic look at the process by which justices decide to retire from the bench, and why this has become increasingly partisan in recent years. Since 1954, generous retirement provisions and decreasing workloads have allowed justices to depart strategically when a president of their own party occupies the White House. Otherwise, the justices remain in their seats, often past their ability to effectively participate in the work of the Court. While there are benefits and drawbacks to various reform proposals, Ward argues that mandatory retirement goes farthest in combating partisanship and protecting the institution of the Court.

"Ward provides the first thorough analysis of the departure processes and motives of each justice in the Court's two hundred-plus year history. This book is well written, thoroughly researched, and convincing in its analysis and recommendations for reform. I have no doubt that it will become a major, if not the seminal, work in this important area." — Cornell W. Clayton, coeditor of Supreme Court Decision-Making: New Institutionalist Approaches

Ward's overall explanation of the major factors driving departures is quite persuasive. The changes and reforms he proposes are intriguing and plausible. Deciding to Leave will be the primary book on the subject." — Stephen L. Wasby, Professor Emeritus, University at Albany, State University of New York

Artemus Ward is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Northern Illinois University.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations and Tables


1. The Politics of Departure in the U.S. Supreme Court

Departure in Comparative Perspective
Departure Politics in Historical Context

2. 1789–1800: Traveling Postboys

Indisposition and the Early Supreme Court
Disagreeable Tours

3. 1801–1868: Crippled Courts

Army of Judges
Imminent Danger of Sudden Death
Needy and Half-Paid Men
Abridgement of Tenure, Facility of Removal, or Some Other Modification
If Mr. Clay Had Been Elected

4. 1869–1896: Old Imbeciles on the Bench

Dangerous in its Operation
1869 Retirement Act
The Disputed Election of 1876
The Evarts Act

5. 1897–1936: Old Fools and Young Spirits

The Field Effect
Evarts Act Redux
Increased Caseloads

6. 1937–1954: Senior Status

A War with a Fool at the Top
1937 Retirement Act
Untimely Deaths

7. 1954–1970: The Limits of Power

1954 Retirement Act
Cantankerous Fellows
An Extraconstitutional Arrangement

8. 1971–1999: Appointed for Life

He Ought to Get Off the Court Too
Old and Coming Apart

9. 2000–Present: A Self-Inflicted Wound

The Disputed Election of 2000
That’s For Me to Know and You to Find Out

10. Conclusion: Imaginary Danger?

Ability and Inability
The Rule of 100
Lightening the Burden
Mandatory Retirement

Appendix A

Letter from Byron White to Warren Burger, Oct. 20, 1975

Appendix B

Letter from Warren E. Burger, William J. Brennan, Jr., Potter Stewart, Byron R. White, Thurgood Marshall, Harry A. Blackmun, Lewis F. Powell, and William H. Rehnquist to William O. Douglas, December 22, 1975

Appendix C

Letter from John Paul Stevens to William H. Rehnquist, October 28, 1988




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