At the time of his resignation, Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr. was justly praised as a moderate, flexible jurist - open-minded, suspicious of ideology, most often found at the center of a divided Supreme Court. Yet Justice Powell was a man of deeply conservative instincts. Suspicious of invitations to expand the scope of individual constitutional rights, he was a participant and even a leader in the Court's reassertion of a federalism that emphasized deference to states and in its reinvigoration of restrictions on access to federal courts. His jurisprudence was all of a piece. Justice Powell's reluctance to expand federal court protection of constitutional rights coexisted with an unusually personal sensitivity to the situations of individual litigants. He sought, by counseling federal judicial restraint, to acknowledge with respect and encourage the vitality of state and local communities, where he thought people could most richly flourish.
Whitman, Christina B. "In Memoriam: Lewis F. Powell, Jr." Harv. L. Rev. 112, no. 3 (1999): 607-10.