TU Law School Dean Examines Rehnquist Court Influence in New Book

Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Published on 4/17/02

Almost immediately after William H. Rehnquist was named chief justice in 1986, questions started flying from legal scholars, practitioners and pundits about what influence this leading conservative would have on the U.S. Supreme Court. “The Rehnquist Court, A Retrospective,” edited by Martin H. Belsky, dean and professor at The University of Tulsa College of Law, provides some answers.

“Forgetting politics, Rehnquist was the most outstanding recent leader of the court,” said Belsky. “He allowed smooth operations despite ideological differences.”

In the new book, published by Oxford University Press, scholars, judges, lawyers, journalists and political figures reflect on the 15-year impact of the Rehnquist court. The themes are timely as today’s headlines: affirmative action, church and state, First amendment rights, cyberspace and federalism. One reviewer calls the book “a road map for evaluating the Rehnquist court’s place in Supreme Court history.”

This is the third volume of the series started by Chapman Distinguished Professor Bernard Schwartz, who edited “The Warren Court” and “The Burger Court.” After his death in 1997, Belsky and the TU law school proceeded with the project in his memory.

Belsky is a cum laude graduate of Temple University and Columbia University Law School, and has served as a prosecutor, public interest and private practice lawyer, counsel and chief counsel to congressional committees and a top federal official. He has written numerous articles constitutional law topics, and has served on many committees for ethnic and religious tolerance, higher education, aging and disabilities.