1995 U. Ill. L. Rev. 683 (1995)
Justice Brennan and the Political Process: Assessing the Legacy of Baker v. Carr

handle is hein.journals/unilllr1995 and id is 697 raw text is: JUSTICE BRENNAN AND THE
POLITICAL PROCESS: ASSESSING
THE LEGACY OF BAKER V. CARRt
Abner J. Mikva*
In this essay, originally presented as a David C. Baum Me-
morial Lecture on Civil Liberties and Civil Rights, The Honora-
ble Abner J. Mikva addresses former Supreme Court Justice
William Brennan's influence upon civil liberties jurisprudence.
He focuses in particular upon the impact of the 1962 Baker v.
Carr decision, which made the issue of equal protection viola-
tions in voting laws a justiciable question. He notes that this
decision triggered a revolution in voting rights and considers the
opinions that have followed in its wake. He concludes that al-
though some of these decisions may have ventured too far into
the political thicket, the volume and significance of the post-
Baker voting rights decisions attest to the importance of Justice
Brennan's Baker opinion.
It is an honor to be invited to participate in the Baum Lecture
series. I believe in innocence by association, and the distinguished
group of previous lecturers I join represents great innocence indeed. I
knew David Baum in his lifetime, and this series fittingly honors one
of Illinois's great citizens and educators. For many years, the series
dealt with Supreme Court Justices and their impact on civil rights
and civil liberties in this country. Perhaps because the Supreme Court
sort of went out of that business for a while, the continuity of that
subject matter was interrupted. I would like to reestablish it, and I
can think of no greater contributor to the civil liberties jurisprudence
of this country in recent times than Justice William Brennan, Jr.
One of the problems one finds in talking about Justice Brennan's
contribution to the American justice system is that so much of his
legal landscaping was done in addition to his formal role as one-ninth
t An abbreviated version of this article was presented at the University of Illinois
College of Law, November 7, 1994, as the first 1994-95 lecture of the David C. Baum
Memorial Lectures on Civil Liberties and Civil Rights.
* Former Counsel to the President, Former Chief Judge, United States Court of Appeals,
D.C. Circuit, and Former Member U.S. House of Representatives. The notes accompanying this
article are citations to authority and contain nothing of substance. See Abner J. Mikva, Goodbye
to Footnotes, 56 U. COLO. L. REV. 647 (1985).

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