Earl Warren

For the swing saxophonist and occasional singer, see Earle Warren

Earl Warren

Nominated byDwight D. Eisenhower
Preceded by
Succeeded by

SpouseNina Palmquist Meyers
Alma materUniversity of California, Berkeley
ReligionProtestant



Earl Warren (March 19, 1891July 9, 1974) was a California district attorney of Alameda County, the 20th Attorney General of California, the 30th Governor of California, and the 14th Chief Justice of the United States (from 1953 to 1969). As Chief Justice, his term of office was marked by numerous rulings affecting, among other things, the legal status of racial segregation, civil rights, separation of church and state, and police arrest procedure in the United States. In the years that followed, the Warren Court became recognized as a high point in the use of the judicial power in the effort to effect social progress in the U.S. and Warren himself became widely regarded as one of the most influential Supreme Court justices in the history of the United States and perhaps the single most important in the 20th century.

He also chaired the Warren Commission, which was formed to investigate the John F. Kennedy assassination.

Education and early career

Earl Warren was born in Los Angeles, California, to Methias H. Warren, a Norwegian immigrant, and Crystal Hernlund, a Swedish immigrant. Methias Warren was a longtime employee of the Southern Pacific Railroad. Earl grew up in Bakersfield, California where he attended Washington Junior High and Kern County High School (now called Bakersfield High School). It was in Bakersfield that Warren's father was murdered during a robbery by an unknown killer. Warren went on to attend the University of California, Berkeley, both as an undergraduate (B.A. 1912) in Legal Studies and as a law student at Boalt Hall earning his Juris Doctor in 1914. While at Berkeley, Warren joined the Sigma Phi Society, a fraternal organization with which he maintained lifelong ties. He was also a member of the secretive Gun Club. Warren was admitted to the California bar in 1914. Many buildings and schools have been named in Warren's honor, including Warren Hall on the Bakersfield High School campus, Warren Hall on the UC Berkeley campus, Earl Warren Senior High School in Downey, California, Earl Warren Junior High in Bakersfield, and Earl Warren Middle School in Solana Beach, California. Earl Warren Elementary School in Lake Elsinore, California opened its doors Aug. 20, 2007.

Warren worked a year for the Associated Oil Co. in San Francisco and then joined a private law firm in Oakland named Robinson & Robinson. The younger partner Bestor Robinson, whose father became a California Superior Court Justice, was very active in the Sierra Club and conservationism and was avid rock climber. In August 1917, he enlisted in the U.S. Army for World War I service. Assigned to the 91st Division at Camp Lewis, Washington. 1st Lieutenant Earl Warren was discharged in 1918. He served as a clerk of the Judicial Committee for the 1919 Session of the California State Assembly (1919–1920), deputy city attorney of Oakland (1920–1925), he served as deputy district attorney of Alameda County. At this time Warren came to the attention of powerful Republican, Joseph R. Knowland publisher of the Oakland Tribune. In 1925, Warren was appointed as district attorney of Alameda County, the incumbent, Ezra Decoto resigned to become Railroad Commissioner. Earl Warren was re-elected to three four-year terms. Serving Alameda County as D.A. (1925–1939) as a tough-on-crime district attorney and reformer who professionalized the DA's office, Warren had a reputation for high-handedness; however, none of his convictions was ever overturned on appeal.

Governor of California

Enlarge picture
Photo as Governor of California


Warren became a prominent figure in California and was appointed to the Regents of the University of California while district attorney. In 1939, he became Attorney General of the State of California. He was elected Governor of California in 1942, as a Republican, defeating Democratic incumbent Culbert Olson. California law at the time allowed individuals to run in any primary election they chose. In 1946, attesting to his wide popularity, Warren managed the singular feat of winning the Republican, Democratic, and Progressive primary elections and thus ran virtually unopposed in the 1946 general election. He was elected to a third term (as a Republican) in 1950. He is the only governor of California to have been elected to three terms of office.

As with his predecessor Olson, Warren's governorship was initially marked by his support for the internment of Japanese and Americans of Japanese descent during World War II. However, it was also marked by laying the infrastructure to support a two-decade boom that lasted from the end of World War II until the mid-1960s. In particular, Warren and University of California President Robert G. Sproul presided over construction of a large public university system that provided education to two generations of Californians.

In 1946 Warren appointed William F. Knowland to the U.S. Senate. Democrats claimed it was political payback, as Knowland’s father Joseph R. Knowland and his paper the Oakland Tribune supported the political career of Warren.

Warren ran for Vice President of the United States in 1948 on a ticket with Thomas Dewey. They lost narrowly to Harry Truman and Alben Barkley.

Supreme Court

Enlarge picture
Earl Warren
In 1953, Warren was appointed Chief Justice of the United States by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who wanted a very conservative justice and commented that "he represents the kind of political, economic, and social thinking that I believe we need on the Supreme Court ... He has a national name for integrity, uprightness, and courage that, again, I believe we need on the Court."[1] Warren resigned from the governorship shortly afterwards, replaced by Lieutenant Governor Goodwin Knight.

Warren's nomination was caused in part by his support for Eisenhower in the 1952 campaign, although whether an explicit deal was ever in place is not known. Warren stood as a "favorite son" candidate of California for the Republican nomination in 1952 but withdrew in support of Eisenhower. Warren also provided crucial campaigning service to Eisenhower in California after Vice Presidential Candidate Richard Nixon was weakened by controversy over an alleged "slush fund."

To the surprise of many, Warren was a much more liberal justice than had been anticipated. As a result, President Eisenhower is perhaps apocryphally said to have remarked that nominating Warren for the Chief Justice seat was "the biggest damned-fool mistake I ever made."[2] Warren was able to craft a long series of landmark decisions including Brown v. Board of Education 347 U.S. 483 (1954), which overthrew the segregation of public schools; the "one man, one vote" cases of 1962–1964, which dramatically altered the relative power of rural regions in many states; Hernandez v. Texas, which gave Mexican-Americans the right to serve on juries; and Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), which required that certain rights of a person being interrogated while in police custody be clearly explained, including the right to an attorney (often called the "Miranda warning").

At the direct request of President Lyndon Johnson, Warren headed what became known as the Warren Commission to investigate the circumstances of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The Commission eventually concluded that the assassination was the result of a single individual, Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone. The Commission's findings have long been controversial.[3]

After the assassination of Robert Kennedy in 1968, Warren announced that due to his advanced age, he would be retiring from the court, effective upon his successor's confirmation. Although Warren denied it, this was seen by observers as a preemptive move by Warren to keep Richard Nixon from naming his successor; he believed Nixon would win the presidency after Kennedy's death. Warren and Nixon had a tense relationship after Warren declined to endorse Nixon during his first campaign for Congress in 1946. This tension gave way to animosity starting in 1952 at the Republican Convention where Warren was a candidate; Warren believed Nixon undermined his nomination.

Johnson nominated Abe Fortas, but after his confirmation hearing went badly Fortas was forced to withdraw his nomination. As a result, Warren was forced to stay on as Chief Justice. Both he and Fortas returned to the court for the 1969 session as a result. Warren swore in Nixon as President. Nixon then nominated Warren Earl Burger — a man Warren did not hold in high regard — to replace Earl Warren as Chief Justice.[4]

Warren retired from the Supreme Court in 1969. He was affectionately known by many as the "Superchief," although he became a lightning rod for controversy among conservatives: signs declaring "Impeach Earl Warren" could be seen around the country throughout the 1960s. The unsuccessful impeachment drive was a major focus of the John Birch Society.[5] In 1977, Fourth College, one of the six undergraduate colleges at the University of California, San Diego, was renamed Earl Warren College in his honor. A middle school in Solana Beach, California, high schools in San Antonio, Texas (Earl Warren High School) and Downey, California, and a building at the high school he attended (Bakersfield High School) are named for him, as are the showgrounds in Santa Barbara, California. The freeway portion of California State Route 13 in Alameda County is the Warren Freeway.

As Chief Justice, he swore in Presidents Eisenhower (second term), Kennedy, Johnson (full term) and Nixon (first term).

Family

Warren was married to a young widow born in Sweden named Nina Palmquist Meyers. They married on October 4, 1925 and had 6 children. Mrs. Warren died in Washington D.C. at age 100 on April 24, 1993. Warren is the father of Virginia Warren, who married veteran radio and television newsman and host of What's My Line?, John Charles Daly, on December 22, 1960. They had three children, two boys and a girl.

Death

Five and a half years after his retirement, Warren died in Washington, D.C., on July 9, 1974. The Earl Warren Bill of Rights Project is named in his honor. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously in 1981.

An extensive collection of Warren's papers, including case files from his Supreme Court service, is located at the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Most of the collection is open for research.

Honors

On August 20, 2007, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver announced that Earl Warren will be inducted into the California Hall of Fame this December 5, 2007 located at The California Museum for History, Women and the Arts in Sacramento.

Quotations

  • "Legislators represent people, not trees or acres. Legislators are elected by voters, not farms or cities or economic interests." From Reynolds v. Sims, on the subject of State Senate apportionment.
  • "Implicit in the term 'national defense' is the notion of defending those values and ideals which set this Nation apart. For almost two centuries, our country has taken singular pride in the democratic ideals enshrined in its Constitution, and the most cherished of those ideals have found expression in the First Amendment. It would indeed be ironic if, in the name of national defense, we would sanction the subversion of one of those liberties — the freedom of association — which makes the defense of the Nation worthwhile." United States v. Robel (1967)
  • "I always turn to the sports section first. The sports section records people's accomplishments; the front page nothing but man's failures." From Sports Illustrated, July 22, 1968
  • "The only reason that there has been no sabotage or espionage on the part of Japanese-Americans is that they are waiting for the right moment to strike." Testimony before Congress on the Internment of people of Japanese Ancestry (1941)
  • "I have since deeply regretted the removal order and my own testimony advocating it, because it was not in keeping with our American concept of freedom and the rights of citizens. Whenever I thought of the innocent little children who were torn from home, school friends and congenial surroundings, I was conscience-stricken." Remarking on his past advocacy on Japanese internment in his autobiography
  • "Everything I did in my life that was worthwhile I caught hell for"

See also

References

  • Newton, Jim (2006). Justice for All: Earl Warren and the Nation He Made. Riverhead Hardcover. ISBN 1594489289.
  • Warren, Earl (2001). The Memoirs of Chief Justice Earl Warren. Madison Books. ISBN 1568332343.
  • Cray, Ed (1997). Chief Justice: A Biography of Earl Warren. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0684808528.
  • Melendy, H. Brett and Gilbert, Benjamin F. (1965) The Governors of California.
  • Conmy, Peter T. (1961) The Beginnings of Oakland California.

Notes

1. ^ Personal and confidential To Milton Stover Eisenhower, 9 October 1953. In The Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower, ed. L. Galambos and D. van Ee, doc. 460. World Wide Web facsimile by The Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission of the print edition; Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996. Accessed 12 October, 2005
2. ^ Whitman (July 10, 1974). "For 16 Years, Warren Saw the Constitution as Protector of Rights and Equality", p. 24. New York Times.
3. ^ Earl Warren was portrayed by real life New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison in JFK, the Oliver Stone film about the assassination and Garrison's investigation of it.
4. ^ Jim Newton, Justice for All: Earl Warren and the Nation He Made
5. ^ Political Research Associates, "John Birch Society"

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Ulysses S. Webb
California Attorney General
1939–1943
Succeeded by
Robert W. Kenny
Preceded by
Culbert Olson
Governor of California
1943–1953
Succeeded by
Goodwin Knight
Preceded by
John W. Bricker
Republican Party Vice Presidential nominees
1948 (lost)
Succeeded by
Richard Nixon
Preceded by
Fred M. Vinson
Chief Justice of the United States
October 5, 1953June 23, 1969
Succeeded by
Warren E. Burger
The Warren Court
1953–1954:H. Black | S.F. Reed | F. Frankfurter | Wm. O. Douglas | R.H. Jackson | H.H. Burton | T.C. Clark | S. Minton|
1955–1956:H. Black | S.F. Reed | F. Frankfurter | Wm. O. Douglas | H.H. Burton | T.C. Clark | S. Minton | J.M. Harlan II|
1956–1957:H. Black | S.F. Reed | F. Frankfurter | Wm. O. Douglas | H.H. Burton | T.C. Clark | J.M. Harlan II | Wm. J. Brennan|
1957–1958:H. Black | F. Frankfurter | Wm. O. Douglas | H.H. Burton | T.C. Clark | J.M. Harlan II | Wm. J. Brennan | C.E. Whittaker|
1958–1962:H. Black | F. Frankfurter | Wm. O. Douglas | T.C. Clark | J.M. Harlan II | Wm. J. Brennan | C.E. Whittaker | P. Stewart|
1962–1965:H. Black | Wm. O. Douglas | T.C. Clark | J.M. Harlan II | Wm. J. Brennan | P. Stewart | B. White | A.J. Goldberg|
1965–1967:H. Black | Wm. O. Douglas | T.C. Clark | J.M. Harlan II | Wm. J. Brennan | P. Stewart | B. White | A. Fortas|
1967–1969:H. Black | Wm. O. Douglas | J.M. Harlan II | Wm. J. Brennan | P. Stewart | B. White | A. Fortas | T. Marshall|
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Earle Warren (1914-1995) was an alto saxophonist and occasional singer with Count Basie.

He was born in Springfield, Ohio.

He was the primary alto saxophonist in the Basie orchestra in its formative years and its heyday, from 1937 to the end of the 1940s.
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