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Warren, Earl (1891–1974)

Subject History

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631209379.1999.x


Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court (1953–69). The son of a railroad worker, he graduated as a lawyer and was a district attorney before becoming Attorney‐General in California (1939–43). In 1943 he was elected for the first of a record three terms as Governor of California (1943–53). He was the unsuccessful republican party candidate for Vice‐President in 1948 and sought the presidential nomination in 1952 before backing Dwight D. eisenhower . ‘Ike’ made Warren Chief Justice in 1953, but later thought that this was the worst mistake of his presidency, as the Chief Justice consistently supported individual rights against government infringements. President johnson appointed him to head the Warren Commission to investigate the assassination of President John F. kennedy , which established that Lee Harvey Oswald was solely responsible. The ‘Warren Court’ made rulings, many written by the Chief Justice himself, which produced significant changes in American life, particularly affecting civil rights, education, police procedures and legislative appointments. The decision brown v board of education (1954) declared segregation in public schools unconstitutional and was a landmark in civil rights legislation. It was followed up by a Court order in 1958 ordering immediate desegregation at little rock , Arkansas. Two further rulings in 1962–3 concerned education: prayers and ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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