1952 Republican National Convention

The 1952 Republican National Convention was held at the International Amphitheatre in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois from July 7 to 11, 1952, and nominated the popular general and war hero Dwight D. Eisenhower of Kansas, nicknamed "Ike," for president and the anti-communist crusading Senator from California, Richard M. Nixon, for vice president.

The Republican platform pledged to end the unpopular war in Korea, supported the development of nuclear weapons as a deterrence strategy, to fire all "the loafers, incompetents and unnecessary employees" at the State Department, condemned the Roosevelt and Truman administrations' economic policies, supported retention of the Taft-Hartley Act, opposed "discrimination against race, religion or national origin", supported "Federal action toward the elimination of lynching", and pledged to bring an end to communist subversion in the United States.[1]

1952 Republican National Convention
1952 presidential election
Eisenhower and Nixon
Date(s)July 7–11, 1952
CityChicago, Illinois
VenueInternational Amphitheatre
Presidential nomineeDwight D. Eisenhower of Kansas
Vice Presidential nomineeRichard M. Nixon of California
1952 Republican National Convention
Attendees at the 1952 convention

Candidates before the convention

The balloting

Ike Dick
A piece of literature for the Eisenhower–Nixon campaign, 1952
Presidential balloting, RNC 1952
Contender: ballot 1st before shifts 1st after shifts
General Dwight D. Eisenhower 595 845
Ohio Senator Robert A. Taft 500 280
Governor Earl Warren of California 81 77
former Minnesota Governor Harold Stassen 20 0
General Douglas MacArthur 10 4

Vice presidential

Eisenhower was so unfamiliar with party politics that even after his nomination he believed that the delegates would choose the vice-presidential nominee, surprising his advisors Lucius D. Clay and Herbert Brownell. When they explained that the delegates would support whomever he chose, Eisenhower suggested businessmen he knew such as Charles E. Wilson and C. R. Smith. Clay and Brownell explained that a running mate should be a politician who balanced the ticket in geography, age, and other areas, and suggested Richard Nixon, who had helped Eisenhower win California's delegates. Eisenhower had met Nixon, and accepted the suggestion. Nixon was nominated unanimously.[2]

Television coverage

Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower watching a television during the Republican National Convention, Chicago, Illinois (cropped1)
Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower watching television during the convention
John Daly News 1956
Quincy Howe and John Daley conducting ABC's convention coverage in 1952

The 1952 Republican convention was the first political convention to be televised live, coast-to-coast.[3] Experiments in regionally broadcasting conventions took place during the Republican and Democratic conventions in 1948; however, 1952 was the first year in which networks carried nationwide coverage of political conventions.[3] Fixed cameras were placed at the back and the sides of the International Amphitheatre for the press to use collectively. None of these offered a straight shot of the podium on stage, so many networks supplemented their coverage with shots from their own portable cameras.

The impact of the Republican Convention broadcast was an immediate one. After carefully watching the Republican Convention, the Democratic Party made last-minute alterations to their convention held in the same venue to make their broadcast more appealing to television audiences.[3] They constructed a tower in the center of the convention hall to allow for a better shot of the podium, and Democrats exercised more control over camera shots and the conduct of delegates in front of the cameras.

By 1956, the effect of television further affected both the Republican and Democratic conventions. Conventions were compacted in length, with daytime sessions being largely eliminated and the amount of welcoming speeches and parliamentary organization speeches being decreased (such as seconding speeches for vice-presidential candidates, which were eliminated). Additionally, conventions were given overlying campaign themes, and their sessions were scheduled in order to maximize exposure to prime-time audience. To provide a more telegenic broadcast, convention halls were decked out in banners and other decorations, and television cameras were positioned at more flattering angles.[3]

See also


  1. ^ "Republican Party Platform of 1952". Political Party Platforms: Parties Receiving Electoral Votes: 1840–2012. The American Presidency Project. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
  2. ^ Smith, Jean Edward (2012). Eisenhower in War and Peace. Random House. pp. 520–522. ISBN 978-0-679-64429-3.
  3. ^ a b c d Jarvis, Sharon. "PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATING CONVENTIONS AND TELEVISION". www.museum.tv. Museum of Broadcast Communications. Retrieved April 1, 2017.

Further reading

External links

Preceded by
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Republican National Conventions Succeeded by
San Francisco, California
1952 Democratic National Convention

The 1952 Democratic National Convention was held at the International Amphitheatre in Chicago, Illinois from July 21 to July 26, 1952, which was the same arena the Republicans had gathered in a few weeks earlier for their national convention from July 7 to July 11, 1952. Four major candidates sought the nomination: U.S. Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee, Governor Adlai E. Stevenson, II, of Illinois, Senator Richard Russell of Georgia and Averell Harriman of New York.

1952 Republican Party presidential primaries

The 1952 Republican presidential primaries were the selection process by which voters of the Republican Party chose its nominee for President of the United States in the 1952 U.S. presidential election. Former U.S. Army General Dwight D. Eisenhower was selected as the nominee through a series of primary elections and caucuses culminating in the 1952 Republican National Convention held from July 7 to July 11, 1952, in Chicago, Illinois.

The fight for the 1952 Republican nomination was largely between Eisenhower, who became the candidate of the party's liberal eastern establishment, and Senator Robert A. Taft of Ohio, the longtime leader of the GOP's conservative wing. The moderate Eastern Republicans were led by New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey, the party's nominee in 1944 and 1948. The moderates tended to be interventionists who felt that America needed to fight the Cold War overseas and resist Soviet aggression in Europe and Asia; they were also willing to accept most aspects of the social welfare state created by the New Deal in the 1930s. The moderates were also concerned with ending the GOP's losing streak in presidential elections; they felt that the personally popular Eisenhower had the best chance of beating the Democrats. The conservative Republicans led by Senator Taft were based in the Midwest and parts of the South. The conservatives wanted to abolish many of the New Deal welfare programs; in foreign policy they were often non-interventionists, who believed that America should avoid alliances with foreign powers. Senator Taft had been a candidate for the GOP nomination in 1940 and 1948, but had been defeated both times by moderate Republicans from New York. Taft, who was 62 when the campaign began, freely admitted that 1952 was his last chance to win the nomination, and this led his supporters to work hard for him. Taft's weakness, which he was never able to overcome, was the fear of many party bosses that he was too conservative and controversial to win a presidential election.

Notable was the absence of Dewey. He strongly supported Eisenhower and played an important role in persuading him to run and helping him win the nomination. Dewey used his powerful political machine to win "Ike" the support of delegates in New York and elsewhere.

Two other major candidates, but not so strong as Eisenhower or Taft, for nomination were Governor of California and Dewey's 1948 running-mate Earl Warren and former Governor of Minnesota Harold Stassen.

1952 Republican Party vice presidential candidate selection

This article lists those who were potential candidates for the Republican nomination for Vice President of the United States in the 1952 election. After defeating Ohio Senator Robert A. Taft for the Republican presidential nomination at the 1952 Republican National Convention, General Dwight D. Eisenhower needed to choose a running mate. Taft recommended Illinois Senator Everett Dirksen, but Eisenhower rejected the suggestion. Eisenhower and his advisers put together a list of prominent Republicans who were acceptable to both the conservative Taft and liberal Dewey wings of the party, anti-Communist, talented at campaigning, relatively young (to balance Eisenhower's age), and who contributed to Eisenhower's nomination victory. After conferring with Republican Party leaders, Eisenhower decided to ask California Senator Richard Nixon to be his running mate; Nixon accepted the offer. Nixon had carefully campaigned for the post of vice president since meeting Eisenhower in 1951, and Nixon helped deliver the California delegation to Eisenhower in the presidential ballot. The Republican convention ratified Eisenhower's choice of Nixon. Months after the convention, Eisenhower considered asking Nixon to step down as running mate due to controversy surrounding campaign expenses, but Nixon rallied public opinion with his Checkers speech and remained on the ticket. The Eisenhower-Nixon ticket won the 1952 election, as well as the 1956 election, defeating the Stevenson-Sparkman and Stevenson-Kefauver tickets, respectively.

1952 United States presidential election

The 1952 United States presidential election was the 42nd quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 4, 1952. Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower won a landslide victory over Democrat Adlai Stevenson, ending a string of Democratic Party wins that stretched back to 1932.

Incumbent Democratic President Harry S. Truman had remained silent about whether he would seek another full term, but the unpopular incumbent announced his withdrawal from the race following his defeat in the New Hampshire primary by Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver. After Truman's withdrawal, the president and other party leaders threw their support behind Stevenson, the moderate Governor of Illinois. Stevenson emerged victorious on the third presidential ballot of the 1952 Democratic National Convention, defeating Kefauver, Senator Richard Russell Jr. of Georgia, and other candidates. The Republican nomination was primarily contested by conservative Senator Robert A. Taft of Ohio and Eisenhower, a general who was widely popular for his leadership in World War II. With the support of Thomas E. Dewey and other party leaders, Eisenhower narrowly prevailed over Taft at the 1952 Republican National Convention. The Republicans chose Richard Nixon, a young anti-Communist Senator from California, as Eisenhower's running mate.

Republicans attacked Truman's handling of the Korean War and the broader Cold War, and alleged that Soviet spies had infiltrated the U.S. government. Democrats faulted Eisenhower for failing to condemn Republican Senator Joe McCarthy and other anti-Communist Republicans who they alleged had engaged in reckless and unwarranted attacks. Stevenson tried to separate himself from the unpopular Truman administration, instead campaigning on the popularity of the New Deal and lingering fears of another Great Depression under a Republican administration.

Eisenhower retained his enormous popularity from the war, as seen in his campaign slogan, "I Like Ike." Eisenhower's popularity and Truman's unpopularity led to a Republican victory, and Eisenhower won 55% of the popular vote. He carried every state outside of the South and won several Southern states that had almost always voted for Democrats since the end of Reconstruction. Republicans also won control of both houses of Congress.

1952 Washington gubernatorial election

The Washington gubernatorial election of 1952 took place on November 4, 1952, between incumbent governor Arthur B. Langlie of the Republican Party and U.S. Representative Hugh Mitchell of the Democratic Party. Langlie won the general election, becoming the first Washington state governor to be elected to a third term.

Archibald Carey Jr.

Archibald James Carey Jr. (February 29, 1908 – April 20, 1981) was an American lawyer, judge, politician, diplomat, and clergyman from the South Side of Chicago. He was elected as a city alderman and served for eight years under the patronage of the politician William L. Dawson. He served for several years as a pastor in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, when he became known as a civil rights activist. In 1957, he was appointed by President Dwight Eisenhower as chair of his committee on government employment policy, which worked to reduce racial discrimination.

Appointed to the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois in 1966, Judge Carey became a major figure in Chicago's political life, serving until 1979. He won numerous awards for his oratorical skills and contributions to civic improvement.

Cyrus L. Philipp

Cyrus L. Philipp was Chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin from 1934 to 1938. Additionally, he was a member of the Republican National Committee from 1944 to 1952 and was active in the Milwaukee County, Wisconsin Republican Party. Philipp was also a delegate to the 1952 Republican National Convention. His father, Emanuel, was Governor of Wisconsin.

Daniel Tyler Jr.

Daniel Tyler Jr. (born February 5, 1899, died May 22, 1967 in Boston, Massachusetts) was a Massachusetts political figure who served as Chairman of the Republican State Committee from 1950 to 1953, the Massachusetts State Housing Board from 1953 to 1957, and the Massachusetts Transit Authority from 1961 to 1963. He was also a Delegate to the 1952 Republican National Convention from Massachusetts and a member of the Brookline, Massachusetts Board of Selectmen.

David A. Nichols

David A. Nichols (August 6, 1917–June 21, 1997), of Lincolnville, Maine, was a Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court from May 24, 1977 to May 31, 1988.

Born in Lincolnville, Waldo County, Maine, Nichols "grew up over his family's gas station along U.S. Route 1". He attended Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, and received a JD from the University of Michigan. Nichols served in the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II, and thereafter entered private practice in Camden, Maine.He held a number of political positions, serving as a Maine delegate to the 1952 Republican National Convention; a member of Maine Governor's Council from 1955 to 1957; and as the chair of the Maine Republican Party from 1960 to 1964.Nichols recalled that he had no interest in serving in the state judiciary, but he was appointed to the Maine Superior Court "after then-Gov. James B. Longley arrived in a helicopter in front of Mr. Nichols' Lincolnville Beach home in 1975 and asked him to serve". He thereafter served as an Associate Justice of Maine Supreme Judicial Court from 1977 to 1988. In 1985, Nichols wrote the unanimous decision of the court upholding the conviction of serial killer James Hicks.Nichols was never married. He died in a Lincolnville area hospital.

Glenn Cunningham (Nebraska politician)

Glenn Clarence Cunningham (September 10, 1912 – December 18, 2003) was a Nebraska Republican politician.

He was born in Omaha, Nebraska on September 10, 1912 and graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1935. He sold insurance for a while. From 1946 to 1948 he was a member of the Omaha board of education and a member of Omaha city council from 1947 to 1948. He was elected Mayor of Omaha from 1949 to 1954.

He was a delegate to the 1948 Republican National Convention and to the 1952 Republican National Convention. He was elected as a Republican to the Eighty-fifth United States Congress and to the six succeeding Congresses serving from January 3, 1957 to January 3, 1971. He lost his bid for renomination to the Ninety-second United States Congress in 1970 to then Douglas County Commissioner John Y. McCollister. He died on December 18, 2003, in Omaha. He was a member of the Episcopalian church and of Pi Kappa Alpha.

Glenn Cunningham Lake was named for Cunningham.

Guy Gabrielson

Guy George Gabrielson (May 22, 1891 – May 1, 1976) was a Republican politician from New Jersey. He served as chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1949 to 1952, and was a member of the New Jersey General Assembly from 1925 to 1929, and was its Speaker in 1929.

An attorney who later became a corporate executive, after leaving elective politics, Gabrielson turned to Republican politics. He rose through the ranks of Republican activists. He became a member of the Republican National Committee in 1944 and its chairman in 1948, leaving both posts in 1952.

Gabrielson was controversial at the 1952 Republican National Convention because of his support for presidential hopeful Ohio Senator Robert A. Taft, but was greeted with cheers when he opened the Convention.

After dissolving his law firm in 1959, Gabrielson served as a corporate executive, retaining several posts in the years before his 1976 death.

Harold Stassen

Harold Edward Stassen (April 13, 1907 – March 4, 2001) was the 25th Governor of Minnesota. He was a leading candidate for the Republican nomination for President of the United States in 1948, considered for a time to be the front-runner. He thereafter regularly continued to run for that and other offices, such that his name became most identified with his status as a perennial candidate.

Born in West St. Paul, Minnesota, Stassen was elected as the district attorney of Dakota County, Minnesota after graduating from the University of Minnesota. He won election as Governor of Minnesota in 1938. Stassen was then and remains the youngest person elected to that office. He gave the keynote address at the 1940 Republican National Convention. He resigned as governor to serve in the United States Navy during World War II, becoming an aide to Admiral William Halsey Jr. After the war, he became president of the University of Pennsylvania, holding that office from 1948 to 1953. Stassen sought the presidential nomination at the 1948 Republican National Convention, winning a significant share of the delegates on the first two ballots of the convention. During the Republican primaries preceding the convention, he engaged in the Dewey–Stassen debate, the first recorded debate between presidential candidates.

Stassen sought the presidential nomination again at the 1952 Republican National Convention, and helped Dwight D. Eisenhower win the nomination by shifting his support to Eisenhower. After serving in the Eisenhower administration, Stassen sought various offices. Between 1958 and 1990, he campaigned unsuccessfully for the positions of Governor of Pennsylvania, Mayor of Philadelphia, United States Senator, Governor of Minnesota, and United States Representative. He further sought the Republican nomination for president in 1964, 1968, 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988, and 1992.

International Amphitheatre

The International Amphitheatre was an indoor arena located in Chicago, Illinois, between 1934 and 1999. It was located on the west side of Halsted Street, at 42nd Street, on the city's south side, adjacent to the Union Stock Yards.

The arena was built for $1.5 million, by the Stock Yard company, principally to host the International Livestock Exhibition. The arena replaced Dexter Park, a horse-racing track that had stood on the site for over 50 years prior to its destruction by fire in May 1934. The completion of the Amphitheatre ushered in an era where Chicago reigned as a convention capital. In an era before air conditioning and space for the press and broadcast media were commonplace, the International Amphitheatre was among the first arenas to be equipped with these innovations.

The arena, which seated 9,000, was the first home of the Chicago Packers of the NBA during 1961–62, before changing their name to the Chicago Zephyrs and moving to the Chicago Coliseum for their second season. It was also the home of the Chicago Bulls during their inaugural season of 1966–67; they also played only one game in the Chicago Coliseum, a playoff game in their first season, as no other arena was available for a game versus the St. Louis Hawks. Afterwards, the Bulls then moved permanently to Chicago Stadium.

The Amphitheatre was also the primary home of the Chicago Cougars of the WHA from 1972–1975. It was originally intended to be only a temporary home for the Cougars, but the permanent solution, the Rosemont Horizon, was not completed until 1980, five years after the team folded and a year after the WHA ceased operation. The International Amphitheatre was the home for Chicago's wrestling scene for years as well as the Chicago Auto Show for approximately 20 years beginning in the 1940s.The Amphitheatre hosted several national American political conventions:

1952 Republican National Convention (nominated Dwight D. Eisenhower for President and Richard M. Nixon for Vice President; ticket won)

1952 Democratic National Convention (nominated Adlai E. Stevenson for President and John J. Sparkman for Vice President; ticket lost)

1956 Democratic National Convention (nominated Adlai E. Stevenson for President and Estes Kefauver for Vice President; ticket lost)

1960 Republican National Convention (nominated Richard M. Nixon for President and Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. for Vice President; ticket lost)

1968 Democratic National Convention (nominated Hubert H. Humphrey for President and Edmund S. Muskie for Vice President; ticket lost)The 1952 Republican National Convention had the distinction of being the first political convention broadcast live by television coast to coast, with special studio facilities provided for all the major networks.The 1968 Democratic National Convention was one of the most tumultuous political conventions in American history, noted by anti-war protests.

Prior to that, the Amphitheatre was noted for being the site of one of Elvis Presley's most notable concerts, in 1957, with the singer wearing his now legendary gold lame suit for the first time.On September 5, 1964 and August 12, 1966, The Beatles performed at the Amphitheatre. The 1966 show was the first show of what proved to be their last tour.Indoor wintertime Drag Racing was held at The Amphitheatre twice. On December 30, 1962, and January 5, 1964. It was great fun, but dangerous, because of the slick cement floors. Drag Racers need asphalt to get tire grip, launch, and control. The Amphitheatre cement "floor" had very little of these.

On March 13–14, 1976, the Midwest Regional of the North American Soccer League's 1976 Indoor tournament was hosted by the Chicago Sting at the Amphitheater. The Rochester Lancers won the Region to advance to the Final Four played in Florida.In October 1978, English rock group UFO recorded Strangers in the Night at the International Amphitheatre.

The Stock Yards closed in 1971, but the Amphitheatre remained open, hosting rock concerts, college basketball and IHSA playoff games, circuses, religious gatherings, and other events. The shift of many conventions and trade shows to the more modern and more conveniently-located lakefront McCormick Place convention center during the 1960s and 1970s began the International Amphitheatre's decline; as other convention and concert venues opened in the suburbs, its bookings dropped more.

In December 1981, Joe Frazier had his final boxing match at the Amphitheatre against Floyd Cummings, which resulted in a draw.

Sold in 1983 for a mere $250,000, the sprawling Amphitheatre became difficult to maintain, and proved unable to attract enough large events to pay for its own upkeep. It was eventually sold to promoters Cardenas & Fernandez and then the City of Chicago, which had no more success at attracting events than its previous owner. In August 1999, demolition of the International Amphitheatre began. An Aramark Uniform Services plant is located on the site once occupied by the Amphitheatre.

Joseph W. Martin Jr.

Joseph William Martin Jr. (November 3, 1884 – March 6, 1968) was an American politician who served as the 44th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1947 to 1949 and 1953 to 1955; he represented the district covering North Attleborough, Massachusetts. He was the only Republican to serve as Speaker in a sixty-four year period from 1931 to 1995. He was a "compassionate conservative" who opposed the New Deal and supported the conservative coalition of Republicans and southern Democrats, especially on opposing labor unions.Early in his career, Martin worked as a newspaper editor and served in both houses of the Massachusetts General Court. He won election to the United States House of Representatives in 1924. He was elected House Minority Leader after the 1938 elections and continued to hold the lead House Republican position (either Speaker or House Minority Leader) until 1959. He also served as Chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1940 to 1942 at the behest of Wendell Willkie, the 1940 Republican presidential nominee. Martin presided over five Republican National Conventions and frequently became involved in presidential politics. He urged General Douglas MacArthur to seek the 1952 Republican presidential nomination, and supporters of Robert A. Taft accused Martin of favoring Dwight D. Eisenhower in Martin's role as chairman of the contentious 1952 Republican National Convention. After Eisenhower won the 1952 election, Martin supported Eisenhower's internationalist foreign policy outlook.

Martin lost his position as Republican leader after the party lost seats in the 1958 elections. He was succeeded by his more conservative deputy, Charles A. Halleck. Martin continued to serve in Congress until his defeat in the 1966 Republican primary by Margaret Heckler. Martin died in Hollywood, Florida in 1968.

Lloyd Emerson Roulet

Lloyd Emerson Roulet (September 15, 1891 - February 6, 1985), born in Toledo, Ohio was the Republican mayor of Toledo from 1943–47 and 1952-53. He was an alternate delegate to the 1952 Republican National Convention from Ohio. He was also a jeweler and member of the Freemasons.He died at the age of 93 and is interred at Woodlawn Cemetery in Toledo.

Robert S. Babcock

Robert Shillingford Babcock (July 22, 1915 – September 1, 1985) was an American politician, Republican from Vermont.

He was born in Evanston, Illinois to Oliver and Martha (née Shillingford). A Rhodes Scholar, he served during World War II in the US Navy. Babcock later moved to Burlington, Vermont, and became a university professor.

He served in the Vermont Senate (1951–1955 and 1957–1958) and was an alternate delegate to the 1952 Republican National Convention.

Elected the 67th Lieutenant Governor of Vermont in 1958, he served a single term (1959–1961). In 1960, he unsuccessfully ran for Republican gubernatorial nomination, losing to eventual winner F. Ray Keyser, Jr.

Babcock later served in the Vermont House of Representatives (1977–1981). He died in Yuma, Arizona.

Thomas J. Curran

Thomas Jerome Curran (November 28, 1898 – July 29, 1958) was a lawyer and politician in New York City.

Walter S. Hallanan

Walter S. Hallanan (died 1962) was a West Virginia political figure who served as temporary chairman of the 1952 Republican National Convention and vice-chairman of the Republican National Committee.

He was named West Virginian of the Year for 1952. An oilman, he was installed as temporary convention chairman by his fellow supporters of Sen. Robert A. Taft, who went on to lose the nomination to Dwight D. Eisenhower.Earlier in his career, Hallanan edited the Huntington Herald-Dispatch newspaper and served as West Virginia's state Tax Commissioner. He was elected to one term in the West Virginia Senate in 1926. After being defeated for re-election to the Senate, Hallanan was elected to serve as West Virginia's Republican National Committeeman in 1928. He remained an RNC member until his death in 1962.

Warren E. Burger

Warren Earl Burger (September 17, 1907 – June 25, 1995) was the 15th Chief Justice of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1986. Born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Burger graduated from the St. Paul College of Law in 1931. He helped secure the Minnesota delegation's support for Dwight D. Eisenhower at the 1952 Republican National Convention. After Eisenhower won the 1952 presidential election, he appointed Burger to the position of Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Civil Division. In 1956, Eisenhower appointed Burger to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Burger served on this court until 1969 and became known as a critic of the Warren Court.

In 1969, President Richard Nixon nominated Burger to succeed Chief Justice Earl Warren, and Burger won Senate confirmation. He did not emerge as a strong intellectual force on the court, but sought to improve the administration of the federal judiciary. He also helped establish the National Center for State Courts and the Supreme Court Historical Society. Burger remained on the court until his retirement in 1986, when he became Chairman of the Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution. He was succeeded as Chief Justice by William H. Rehnquist, who had served as an Associate Justice since 1971.

In 1974, Burger wrote for a unanimous court in United States v. Nixon, which rejected Nixon's invocation of executive privilege in the wake of the Watergate scandal. The ruling played a major role in Nixon's resignation. Burger joined the majority in Roe v. Wade in holding that the right to privacy prohibited states from banning abortions. He later abandoned Roe v. Wade in Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. His majority opinion in INS v. Chadha struck down the one-house legislative veto.

Although Burger was perceived as a conservative, and the Burger Court delivered numerous conservative decisions, the Burger Court also delivered some liberal decisions regarding abortion, capital punishment, religious establishment, and school desegregation during his tenure.

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