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Chief Justice Earl Warren Essay

1378 words - 6 pages

Chief Justice Earl Warren

Earl Warren was born March 19, 1891 in Los Angeles, California. Earl’s father was a Norwegian immigrant, which left him dealing with prejudice and equal rights at a very young age (Grace, 1). This lead to early indications that law would be Earl’s profession. Even before entering High School, he listened to criminal cases at the Kern County courthouse. Attending the University of California at Berkeley, Warren worked his way through college. He majored in political science for three years before entering the law school at UC. “He received his B.L. degree in 1912 and his J.D. degree in 1914. On May 14, 1915, he was admitted to the California bar. After graduation Warren worked in law offices in San Francisco and Oakland, the only time in his career when he was engaged in private practice” (White, 61). The young lawyer became a deputy district attorney in Alameda County, and eventually became district attorney in 1925 when is opponent decided to resign from the race (Weaver, 40). He would go on to win the next four elections. “During his fourteen years as district attorney, Warren developed a reputation as a crime fighter. As a prosecutor Warren was sometimes accused of high-handedness in his methods, but in thirteen years and in thousands of cases ranging from murder to window-breaking, he never had a conviction reversed by a higher court” (Ely, 964). Warren served as attorney general from 1939-1943, enjoying the image of an effective foe of racketeers. In 1948, Warren was the Republican Party's nominee for vice-president of the United States. He and fellow republican Thomas Dewey would end up losing the race, the only election Warren ever lost, to Democratic candidate Harry S. Truman. In 1953 President Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed Earl Warren the fourteenth Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court (Compston, 101). This new job would prove to be the most important and difficult job Warren had ever taken. “He inherited a court that was deeply divided between those justices who advocated a more active role for the court and those who supported judicial restraint” (Compston, 133).

Among the Warren Court's most important decisions was the ruling that made racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional. The Brown vs. The Board of Education case dealt with the segregation of public schools. Although all the schools in a given district were supposed to be equal, most black schools were far inferior to their white counterparts (Erler, 60). The Browns, an African American Family living in Topeka, Kansas, along with the NAACP requested an injunction that would forbid the segregation of Topeka's public schools. This along with similar cases were grouped together and presented in front of the Supreme Court (Cray 1-2). On May 17, 1954, Chief Justice Warren read the decision of the unanimous Court: "We come then to the question presented: Does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of...

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