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Representation Rights and the Burger YearsNancy Maveety 1991
The Court of Chief Justice Warren Burger has been described as one that made no distinctive jurisprudential contributions. It has been dismissed as a court overshadowed by both its predecessor and its successor. By contrast, Maveety argues that the Burger Court in fact revolutionized constitutional understandings of political representation, expanding, in particular, the judicial scrutiny of political institutions. Moving beyond the "one person, one vote" reapportionment initiated by the Warren Court, it opened the way for the articulation of group-based constitutional representation rights.
This group-based approach to representation questions broadened groups' constitutional claims to equal political influence. Yet, as Maveety perceptively shows, this broader interpretation of "representable interests" was grounded in mainstream American conceptions of political representation. The great value of Maveety's study is the presentation of a "typology of group representation," which explains and validates the Burger Court's work on representation rights. This typology, drawn from American history, political theory, and political practice, offers a new approach for evaluating the precedental record of the Burger years and a sophisticated framework for understanding the interaction between constitutional law and politics.