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Path To The Supreme Court Essay

1145 words - 5 pages

Article III of the Constitution of the United States vests judicial power in “one supreme Court”. With incredible adaptability, the Constitution has stood the test of time. Largely due to the limited specificity as to the application of its words, the Constitution has allowed the character of the Court to be historically defined by the individuals who have held the position of “Chief Justice of the United States”. The ideology and individual Constitutional interpretation of each Chief Justice has changed both the influential power and message of the Court. Earl Warren, Warren Burger, and John G. Roberts, Jr. have all successfully been appointed to the Court as Chief Justices. And although ...view middle of the document...

Soon after, Earl Warren received a call from Eisenhower, “I am back here selecting my Cabinet, and I wanted to tell you… that I intend to offer you the first vacancy on the Supreme Court” (Schwartz 2). It had been a long time since Warren had practiced law and he had only practiced for a short amount of time after law school (Newton 42). During a private meeting at the McClellan Air Force Base in California, Eisenhower’s Attorney General Herbert Brownell, Jr. told Governor Warren that President Eisenhower was going to appoint him as Solicitor General until a spot on the Supreme Court became vacant. “The President believed that service as Solicitor General would be valuable prior to membership” on the Court (Schwartz 2). Typical of standard informal appointing procedure, Attorney General Brownell, Jr. played a large role in Warren’s transition from Governor to Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. According to David O’Brien in Storm Center, “Most presidents delegate responsibility to their attorneys general and close White House adverse for selecting candidates and getting them throughout the Senate (O’Brien 40). Only a few days after the meeting with Attorney General Brownell, Jr., Earl Warren’s future changed when Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson died unexpectedly of a heart attack (Schwartz 3). President Eisenhower had promised Warren the first vacant seat without expecting Chief Justice Vinson’s seat to become vacant; Eisenhower had an Associate Justice’s seat in mind for Earl Warren (Schwartz 3). While talking with President Eisenhower at a White House breakfast, Representative Willam S. Mailliard, who had been Earl Warren’s travel secretary, answered a question Eisenhower had posed. President Eisenhower asked, “Do you think that Warren would really want to be on the Court, after his years as Attorney General, Governor, all of this? Wouldn’t it be pretty rarefied for him?” (Schwartz 4). Mailliard answered, “Frankly I think he’d be board to death as an Associate Justice… but my answer would be emphatically different if we were talking about the Chief Justiceship. He could run the place… the Court would have decorum and dignity” (Schwartz 4)
Sending his Attorney General as a messenger, Eisenhower communicated to Warren that he felt his promise applied “only to an ordinary vacancy” on the Court. After more discussion, and largely because Eisenhower couldn’t raise one of the associate justices to be Chief Justice because of ideological discrepancies, Warren and Eisenhower finally came to an agreement. With...

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