SAT Subject US History Practice Question 738: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 738

89. Which chief justice of the Supreme Court was said to be the leader of a very activist court?

A. William Rehnquist
B. Earl Warren
C. Felix Frankfurter
D. Roger Taney
E. Warren Burger

Correct Answer: B

Explanation:

Earl Warren headed the Supreme Court from 1953 to 1969. Decisions during his tenure reflected a broad interpretation of the Constitution. Decisions that helped the Warren Court earn its reputation for "activism" include Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954), ruling school segregation unconstitutional; Gideon v. Wainwright (1963), mandating counsel for indigent defendants; and Miranda v. Arizona (1966), requiring that the police read arrested people their rights. Rehnquist (A) and Burger (E) were conservatives who claimed to be "strict constructionists." Frankfurter (C) and Taney (D) issued very few decisions that could be used to describe them as "activists."

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