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Earl Warren

Warren, Earl, 1891–1974, American public official and 14th chief justice of the United States (1953–69), b. Los Angeles. He graduated from the Univ. of California Law School in 1912. Admitted (1914) to the bar, he practiced in Oakland, Calif., and held several local offices. He served (1939–43) as state attorney general and was governor of California from 1943 to 1953. In 1948 he was the unsuccessful candidate for Vice President on the Republican ticket headed by Thomas E. Dewey. In Oct., 1953, President Eisenhower appointed him chief justice to succeed Fred M. Vinson. One of the most dynamic of chief justices, Warren led the court toward a number of landmark decisions in the fields of civil rights and individual liberties. Among these were the unanimous 1954 decision, written by Warren, ending segregation in the nation's schools (see Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kans.); the one man, one vote rulings, which opened the way for legislative and Congressional reapportionment; and decisions in criminal cases guaranteeing the right to counsel and protecting the accused from police abuses. In 1963–64, Warren headed the commission that investigated the assassination of President Kennedy (see Warren Commission). He retired from the bench in 1969. His public papers were edited by H. M. Christman (1959).

See biographies by J. D. Weaver (1967), G. E. White (1982), and E. Cray (1997); studies by A. Cox (1968), R. H. Sayler et al. (1969), and B. Schwartz (1983).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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