Earl Warren

Earl Warren

Chief Justice

Earl Warren was born on March 19, 1891 to Scandinavian parents, Methias Warren and Chrystal Hernlud in Los Angeles, California. He was a brought up as a Protestant. Warren married Nina P. Meyers in 1925. He had six children with Meyers. He died on July 9, 1974 in Washington D.C., at the age of eighty-three.

He completed his undergraduate education at the University of California -Berkeley in 1912. He graduated from the University of California -Berkeley law school in 1914.

Law Practice:
Warren was admitted to the California bar in 1914. He practiced in law offices in San Francisco and Oakland from 1914-1917.

Government Service:
Warren was an army Lieutenant from 1917-1918. In 1919, Warren became Deputy City Attorney of Oakland, beginning a life in public service. In 1920, he became Deputy Assistant District Attorney of Alameda County. In 1925, he was appointed District Attorney of Alameda County, to fill an unexpired term, and was elected and re-elected to the office in his own right in 1926, 1930, and 1934. In 1938, he was elected Attorney General of California. In 1942, Warren was elected Governor of California, and he was twice re-elected. In 1948, he was the Republican nominee for Vice President of the United States. In 1952, he sought the Republican party's nomination for President. Warren served as Chairman of the Judicial Conference of the United States from 1953 to 1969 and as Chairman of the Federal Judicial Center from 1968 to 1969. He also chaired the commission of inquiry into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963.

Judicial Offices:
Earl Warren was an immensely popular Republican governor when President Dwight Eisenhower appointed him to the Supreme Court. On September 30, 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower nominated Warren Chief Justice of the United States under a recess appointment. The Senate confirmed the appointment on March 1, 1954. He was commissioned on October 2, 1953 and he was sworn in on October 5, 1953. Eisenhower later regretted his choice. He had hoped to appoint a moderate conservative but Warren proved to be a liberal. Warren joined the Court in the midst of one of its most important issues: racial segregation in public schools. The new Chief proved an effective leader by bringing the Court from division to unanimity on the issue of racial equality. In November 1963, President Lyndon B. Johnson called on a reluctant Warren to serve as a member of the special committee to investigate the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He retired from the office on June 23, 1969, after fifteen years of service

Hughes and the Court (1962); The Bill of Rights and the Military (1962); All Men Are Created Equal (1970); A Republic, if You Can Keep it (1972); and Memoirs (1977)

Warren, though appointed by Republican President Eisenhower, took a decidedly liberal course in a socially stormy era. His legacy includes decisions forbidding school segregation, fairer mapping of voting districts and safeguarding rights of defendants in criminal trials

More Biographical Information:

  • Earl Warren From the Oyez Project (Northwestern University).
  • Earl Warren Oral History Project Collection From the University of California.
  • Governor Earl Warren of California From the California State Library. Includes a biography, official portrait, inaugural addresses and more.
  • Judges of the United States Courts From the Federal Judicial Center.
  • Warren, Earl From Encyclopaedia Britannica.
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