Traffic case said to have helped bring down SCOTUS Chief Justice

Lack of transparency obscures real reasons for Burger resignation, motives of Justices and judges
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Referenced Book by James Starke
Referenced Book by James Starke
WASHINGTON - Oct. 15, 2020 - PRLog -- Less than a month after issuing a controversial opinion personally attacking a litigant appearing before the U.S. Supreme Court in a traffic case, Chief Justice Warren Burger unexpectedly resigned, notifying President Ronald Reagan, on May 27, 1986, that he was leaving the high court for the purported reason of helping manage the celebration of the bi-centennial of the signing of the constitution set for September 17, 1987.

But in A Matter of Principle, a new book of historical fiction based on the events leading up to Burger's extraordinary diatribe over a speeding ticket, author James Starke suggests that the real reason Burger resigned as the head of the highest court in the land had little to do with the need for him to serve as a "wedding planner" for the bicentennial.  "I cannot say that the backlash Burger experienced when he came out with that vitriol made him resign but neither can I say it didn't, given the hyper-secrecy of the Supreme Court – then and now," said Starke, noting that in his will Burger stipulated that his papers - that would shed more light into his tenure at the court - not be released until ten years after the last Justice who served on the Burger court had died (at this writing Sandra Day O'Conner is the lone surviving member of that Court).

With Senator Sheldon Whitehouse drawing attention to the political influence of the courts by so-called "dark money" during the confirmation hearings of Amy Coney Barrett, saying greater transparency would reveal the "rot" inside the Supreme Court, the need for a clearer view of the goings-on within the judiciary has become all the more acute, says Starke.  "We have no means of judging the motivations of the judges when it comes to the Supreme Court and are thus left to speculative fiction.  That opacity has to change," he says.

"We shouldn't have to wait 50 years to find out the real reasons for what a Chief Justice did."


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