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Lyle Denniston - A lesson from 1981

Lyle Denniston, the National Constitution Center’s Supreme Court correspondent, recalls a 1981 case that sped through the court in 21 days.  This post is based on his own files while covering that case, Dames v. Moore v. Regan, for the Washington Star newspaper and on internal court documents now found in various archives of the Justices’ papers.

Legendary journalist Lyle Denniston is Constitution Daily’s Supreme Court correspondent. Denniston has written for us as a contributor since June 2011 and has covered the Supreme Court since 1958. His work also appears on

"It might be that Burger decided that, at age 57, Rehnquist was young enough and fast enough to handle the onerous chore of turning out a big opinion quickly.   And it might have been that, knowing how Rehnquist had felt about the case, he might be trusted to write the narrowest opinion possible to dispose of the case quickly.

Whatever Burger had had in mind, the result was the court working at one of the fastest paces ever.  It apparently can be done."

Attribution: Lyly Denniston,
Full Story: SCOTUS

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