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Supreme Court Chief Justices

The Short Biography of Charles Evans Hughes

Who Is Earl Warren

Who Is Earl Warren

Earl Warren was the only political officer to be elected Governor of California three times. He also served as the 14th Chief Justice to the United States Supreme Court. Like many other politicians, his career started in the field of law as Attorney General of California. When the United States entered World War I, he stepped up to be drafted three times before being accepted , entering the Army as an officer. 
Upon his return to Chicago, Earl Warren joined the Alameda County District Attorney’s office as a Deputy District Attorney. He continued as District Attorney until he became Governor of California in 1942. Earl Warren served as Governor until 1953, when he was appointed as Chief Justice to the Supreme Court. 
As Chief Justice, Warren’s first major case would disclose his views on the many issues regarding equality and racial segregation. Earl Warren’s first case was Brown v. Board of Education. This case argued the presence of segregation between white and African American children in public schools. The argument was that the segregation denied African American children the right of equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment. Some individuals argued it was unlawful for the children to be segregated even though all main facilities were equal in separation.
It was not in Earl Warren’s plan to legalize desegregation. In his opinion legalization of desegregation was not allowed. When the Chief Justice was presented with this case he spent a great amount of time looking for a unanimous ruling of opposition. The Courts held off for a year with the ruling of the Brown case and delivered a ruling approving equality in the school systems in 1955. 
It was believed that his hesitation in ruling on the Brown v. Board of Education case was based on the views felt by the people in fellow comrades. He was a very popular Governor when he was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court by Eisenhower. It has been said that later Eisenhower regretted his choice since his belief was that Earl Warren would be a moderate conservative. The view of a modern conservative is that they hold true to the values of traditional beliefs. This would include excluding certain groups who did not conform or pertain to those guidelines. However, the rulings of Earl Warren proved him to be an unabashed liberal, meaning he showed no restraints regarding his liberal views.
Warren extended his liberal beliefs into the world of criminal justice. It was his belief that police officers play fair during investigation or certain cases would be dismissed, letting the accused walk freely. This was documented in the Gideon v. Wainwright trial, where prosecutors were prohibited from using any evidence gained from an illegal search. 
It was Warren’s determination to apply fair rights of trials even for those persons held under accusations.The liberalist beliefs of Chief Justice Earl Warren also extended into the First Amendment prohibiting mandatory school prayer, keeping consistent with the Constitution’s implication of free speech. 
Although Chief Justice Warren was appointed with the belief that he would ensure  and protect conservative views, many of the rulings he presided over encouraged liberal beliefs. His rulings paved the way of fair treatment for minorities. Earl Warren also enforced  laws that governed the operations of police officials and set practices to ensure the accused were treated fairly.

Fred M. Vinson

Fred M. Vinson

During the life of Fred M. Vinson, he served a role in all three branches of the United States Government and was the most prestigious among his political family. An additional six members to the Vinson family held prominent roles in legislation. As a participant to the legislative branch, Vinson was elected a member of the U.S. House of Representatives which he ran for a term of twelve years. He assumed the role as Secretary of Treasury from 1945-1946, before moving on to the judicial branch where he served as Chief Justice starting in 1946.
Sworn in under oath as the Chief of Justice, Vinson was said to come into office during a time where the personal and intelligent facets of the Supreme Court were compromised.  During Vinson’s time he wrote 13 dissenting opinions for the court and 77 opinions on the condition of the Supreme Court overall. His strongest disapproval was when the Court voided President Truman from seizing a steel industry during a strike in 1952. 
Fred Vinson was also known for his ruling of the Hollywood Ten. Under his leadership, the Court refused to hear the appeal of the Hollywood Ten in their 1947 Congress charge. The Hollywood Ten was a group of directors and writers charged with contempt for refusing to answer questions posed by Congress. The 10 members that made up the Hollywood Ten refused to answer questions regarding their involvement with Communism. Each member of the Hollywood Ten was sentenced  to 1 year of prison time and were among a  group who was later blacklisted, and thus, prohibited by the Court to reenter the movie industry.
The Fred Vinson Court also handled issues regarding racial segregation. Regarding the issue of segregation, Fred Vinson ruled that states in the South who participated in the “separate but equal practice” needed to set up facilities that were really separate but equal. Fred Vinson’s Court also handled rulings regarding labor unions, Communism, and loyalty oaths. 
Fred Vinson was the last Chief Justice to be appointed by the Democratic Party. During his time in office he wrote several opinions to better the business practices of the Supreme Court, which, at the time, was flawed. Fred Vinson was a very intellectual man who pushed for better American practices. He believed that war was created by man and how man built the structures of his environment. Fred Vinson’s belief was that anything created by man was changeable.
Vinson held strong political views from his earlier days spent as Governor of Kentucky. His additional positions serving as a U.S. Court of Appeals Judge and Secretary of Treasury geared him for his role as Chief Justice.
The most infamous ruling of Fred Vinson was the refusal of his Court to listen to the appeals of the Hollywood Ten party for exercising the first amendment. Fred Vinson is also associated with setting up laws to better govern the practices of labor unions and setting up actual separate but equal facilities in the South. 

The Short Biography of John Jay

The Short Biography of John Jay

John Jay assumed many roles during his life.
Born to a wealthy family of merchants in 1745, he always had a prominent role
in New York City. Documented as the first Chief Justice of the United States

Supreme Court
, his political life successfully geared him
for all the important roles he assumed. During his first public role he served
as
Secretary to the New York Committee
of
Correspondence. John Jays later role as Chief Justice to
the
Supreme Court intensified his political views and governance of
the United States. 

In 1789, John Jay was appointed as first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court by President Washington. Being the first
appointed Chief Justice, many of the duties and responsibilities delegated by
the Supreme Court were initiated by John Jay and his members. John Jay
s primary functions as Chief justice were to oversee the Supreme Court during public sessions,as well as preside
over private conferences while the chamber of members discussed the rulings of
different cases.
 


Being the first appointed Chief Justice, John Jay had to set the tone in the manner the Supreme Court would
operat
e. With no set practice of the Supreme Court in the Constitution, in the
first decade of the
judicial system the Supreme Court was
known as the weakest link of the three branch
es of government.The implementation of John Jay and his views
of how things should operate helped strengthen the
judicial system overall.


During his reign as Chief Justice
from 1789-1795, John Jay reviewed important cases which helped the Supreme
Court gain recognition as a
n honorable
institution. When John Jay first assumed power as
Chief Justice, most of his time was
spent establishing practices and protocol. John Jay demonstrated the act of
fair treatment within the
Supreme Court system. 


As Chief Justice three major cases were
presented under John Jay’s ruling. The first case
, Chishlom v. Georgia, involved the right of private citizenship of one State to sue another. John Jay agreed with the conditions
of this case and implement
ed the
ruling giving an individual the right to sue another
State. This is allowed under affiliation of a corporation
denouncing the practice of sovereign rights. This ruling
, however, was later
overruled by the
Eleventh Amendment to the Constitution. Other similar cases involved other State to State
appeals,as well as the role of foreign government policies and the United
States.
 


His concerns of politics and warfare lead
John Jay to implement the Jay Treaty during the term he served as
Chief Justice in
1
794. This Treaty was implemented to shift the odds of war between
the United States and Great Britain. It also helped solve a number of problems
that came about as a result of the American Revolution. Under the John Jay
Treaty, fair trade between countries increased and it also
helped the first colonies gain there separation from British practices. The
Treaty also helped the United States gain access to the North Western
Territories. 
 


John Jays strong
political force and practice of fair ruling lead Washington to renominate John
Jay as Chief Justice in 1795, which he declined. John Jay continued to be a
political influence to the United States and
internationally as well, retiring from the
political world under the presidential reign of John Adams. 

Who Is Warren Burger

Who Is Warren Burger

Warren Burger’s
background tells of a life of humble beginnings. He was one of seven children,
played sports in high school and joined the Union Army. Unlike some other Chief
Justices before him, Warren Burger did not come from a wealthy background. He
worked selling Mutual Life Insurance while he attended night school at the
University of Minnesota. After college he enrolled in law school and took a job
at a firm now known as Moore, Costello & Hart. 

Warren Burger was Chief
Justice of the United States Supreme Court from 1969-1986. Since this was a
time where conservatives were the majority of the population, many expected
that the Supreme Court under the ruling of Warren Burger would overturn the
liberal rulings of Chief Officers before him. However, a year into his term as
Chief justice it was obvious that the Burger Court had no intentions of doing
so. In fact, many of the liberalists’ beliefs were extended.

One of the major rulings
under the Burger Court was the Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of
Education ruling in 1971. This was one of the most important cases to target
methods of desegregation in public schools. In an earlier ruling by the Warren
Court, it was declared that school segregation was unconstitutional. School
buses were integrated in order to promote racial desegregation in
schools. 

Another major ruling by
the Burger Court was the unanimous ruling against the Nixon administration’s
desire to deprive the need of a search warrant and the requirements of the
Fourth Amendment regarding cases of domestic surveillance. The Nixon
administration wanted the free will to search and seize anything they felt was
warranted. This was a huge case involving the Watergate Scandal. In this case
of the United States v. U.S District Court, the Burger Court system ruled
against the Nixon administration.

Many other cases ruled
under the Burger administration were considered landmark cases. In the Furman v.
Georgia case regarding the death penalty, the Court ruled that the implication
of the death penalty under the conditions of the case served as cruel and
unusual punishment violating the Constitution. The Court’s decision forced
states to rethink the nature of the death penalty, not allowing it to be used
in a discriminatory manner. Warren Burger kept his conservative thoughts
towards the matter of gay rights, opposing approval.

Chief Justice
Warren Burger also regulated the business practices of the
Government,
emphasizing  the practices of checks and balances between the branches
of the Government.
Many people argue that Burger was a
Chief Justice who did not deliver verdicts under his own
accord
, usually
changing his opinion to fit the casted votes of the majority.  Some cases
were held
up in deliberation for twenty months because of Burgers
procrastination
. However, under his ruling many laws were passed to
further equality.

Who Is William Howard Taft

Who Is William Howard Taft

William Howard Taft was the only political
officer to hold rank as the 27th President of the United States. He also later went
on to serve as
Chief Justice to the Supreme Court in
1921. 

Born to a
powerful family
, Taft’s life always revolved around the
political world,
starting with the appointment as Supreme
Judge in 1887. In 1904
he then became President of the United States. Theodore
Roosevelt appointed Taft as Secretary of War with all
the intentions
of training him to succeed as
President, which he did in 1908. 

In 1921, President
Warren G. Harding appointed Taft as Chief Justice of
the United
States
Supreme Court, which Taft assumed until his death in 1930. During his
life
, William
Howard Taft has always been a
n avid traveller. After his presidential reign, he spent
time furthering his education and developing different techniques to resolve disagreements
outside of the
Court. Taft also spent time in the search of
world peace before he assumed role as
Chief Justice.

The goal of William Howard Taft was to gain the title as Chief of Justice and
when he gained power, he traveled to Britain to research the different
practices of their court system. He was fascinated by the way the British court
system seemed to resolve a large number of cases quickly and was influenced to
bring this practice back to America.

Upon
return to America
, Taft introduced the Judiciary Act of 1925.
This
Act reduced
the workload of the Supreme Court, enabling it to hold preference over the
cases they oversaw. The implementation of this
Act gave the Supreme Court a better handle on
cases of national importance, allowing the courts to work more efficiently.

Many of
the implementations of William Howard Taft gave the Supreme
Court more
control, while supporting new legislation and organizing the roles of the
Judicial Conference. Taft’s decisions also gave power to the Supreme
Court to
oversee the
Federal courts which, at the time, were very disorganized.  

Many additional rulings by Taft were over the continued battle of desegregating
the school systems. In the Lum v. Rice case of 1927, the Court
overruled the prevention of Asian children attending white schools during
racial segregation. Some rulings opposed business practices that used child
laborers such as the  Bailey v.
Drexel Furniture Company
case of 1922.
Other rulings targeted cases regarding the
use of the Fourth Amendment as well as
Federal income tax laws.  
                                      

Taft continued to bring structure to the development of the Supreme Court by
fighting for the construction of a separate building, just for the Supreme Court
system. In his argument
, Taft stated that it was important for the
Supreme
Court to
branch itself separately from the daily practices of the
Federal Government.However, Taft did
not live to see the completion of  this building since it was finished in
1935 after
his passing.

Taft
helped streamline many of the business practices of the Supreme Court under his
ruling. He implemented decisions th
at distinguished the responsibilities of the Supreme Court
giving them more organization and control.

Who Is William Rehnquist

Who Is William Rehnquist

William H. Rehnquist was a lawyer and political figure who severed
the Supreme Court as Associate Justice and later became Chief Justice of the
United States
Supreme Court. During
his early life he entered the United States Air Force and served in
World War II from
1943-1946.

William Rehnquist was also interested in
meteorology
. He took a couple of meteorology programs which lead him to a job overseas as a weather instructor
in North Africa.  

William
Rehnquist became
Chief Justice after Warren Burger retired in 1986.
William Rehnquist was nominated by Ronald Regan to fill the position. Many
other political officers were pleased and supported William H
. Rehnquist
as he took place in office. Members of the
Senate felt he would be a great judicial
leader and his nomination was met with acceptance and joy by the majority.

William H. Rehnquist
was known as a conservative. During his time served as
Chief Justice, he
was the only member of the
Court with conservative views, which did not
stop him from applying his decisions. One of his early rulings in 1973
was
regarding the Committee for Public Education and Religious Liberty v
. Nuquist.

Public
schools approached the
Court for State aid and the implementation of religion in the pubic
school system.William Rehnquist made a dissent to this request along with other
Court
members who were not fond of the idea of any religious beliefs being regulated
in the public school system.

However,
30 years after his disapproval
, he approved school vouchers after the Zelman
v
.
Simmons-Harris case which parents could use to send their children to to any
school of their choice. With the belief that the school would further a child’s
knowledge. Although other members of the
Court opposed this ruling, William Rehnquist finally
vote
d to approve
this
Bill in
2002.

Many rulings were given the final call by William Rehnquist. He is the
one that had the ultimate deciding factor of women’s involvement in the army in
1981. Although he signed previous laws in favor of some feminist beliefs, his
final call on women’s drafting remained an exemption.

Other
calls made by Rehnquist reversed previous judgments made by judges. He wrote a
decision recalling the approval of raising teachers salaries in the
State of
Missouri. This was one of a few cases that William Rehnquist realized was a
prolonged determination by the judicial court system.

It is his work as Chief Justice in later years for which William
H. Rehnquist will long be remembered. In the United States v
. Morrison
case, the Supreme
Court reviewed a Federal law
that held the courts responsible for the rulings of domestic affairs which was
always handled by
State laws.

The case
of the United States v
. Morrison in which a college girl was raped
by a football player caught the attention of the media and many people were
looking towards the Supreme
Court to provide a ruling. However, William
H. Rehnquist passed a judgment that kept domestic affairs out of the hands of
the
Federal
court system, which was also applied to the domestic case of the United States
v
. Lopez.

Who Is Melville Fuller

Who Is Melville Fuller

Melville Fuller assumed the role as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1888, after the death of Morrison Waite who was operating as Chief Justice at the time. He ideally was not the first candidate for Chief Justice, as the former Ambassador of Great Britain was rumored to be first runner-up.
The official announcement of Fuller as Chief of Justice was mentioned in the summer of 1888. Many important decisions were set in place while Melville Fuller served as Chief Justice. One being most notable as the Separate but Equal Clause.
The case of Cadwell vs. Texas in 1891 was one major instance where the famous phrase “Equal Justice Under Law” was put into effect. Although the phrase had been in existence since its development in 1832, Melville Fuller used this phrase to express his views of “equal and impartial justice”. Under his ruling the controversial phrase “separate but equal”, stemming from the equal and impartial justice clause, brought justification to segregation which originated in the South.
The controversial case of Plessy v. Ferguson was a defining moment for the Separate but Equal Clause. The Court ruled that segregation was not discrimination and  facilities that were separated by race did not violate the Constitution so long as the facilities were equal. 
Another case that complied to the “separate but equal” beliefs of Melville Fuller was the 1904 Gonzalez v. Williams case. Under this case, the Court ruled that Puerto Ricans were not considered aliens and could not be denied entrance into the United States. Although citizenship of Puerto Ricans were not automatically determined, Melville Fuller did recognize  Puerto Rico as an extended U.S. territory, allowing those who originated from Puerto Rico to stay in the United States without fear of being deported. 
 
Under the direction of Fuller, the Court also addressed the income tax law declaring some measures of applied taxes unconstitutional. This was the ruling in the Pollack v. Farmers Loan & Trust Co case. During this case, the Supreme Court ruled that the additional taxes applied to interest, dividends and rent stemming from the Income State Tax Act of 1984 unconstitutional. In other cases, he ruled against applied taxes to telegraph messages and applied rules regarding interstate commerce.
During the term of Melville Fuller as Chief Justice, the economy of the United States was under full growth. This growth lead Melville Fuller to make many decisions regarding  taxes and interstate commerce for business practices. The Separate but Equal Clause helped establish the functions of segregation. His rulings set the standards for each State to comply to separate but equal practices when setting up facilities. 
Many thought highly of the implementations set by Fuller. He was thought of as a skillful chief leader who was energetic and fair. Fuller was even involved in cases providing rulings in the disputes between other countries.  His ruling helped direct a nation that was once filled with racism and unfair practices into a realm of more acceptance. He also helped establish better business practices for the growing United States economy.  

Who Is Roger Taney

Who Is Roger Taney

Roger Taney was the fifth Chief Justice to the Supreme Court, reigning from 1836-1864. He is documented as being the first Roman Catholic to oversee the Supreme Court of the United States, and also served as a United States Attorney General. Today he would be considered as one of the more controversial political officers of his time, promoting African Americans as an inferior race unworthy of mixing with the white race, which ultimately lead to the ruling of African Americans not being worthy of citizenship. As far as governmental practices he is also remembered for his ruling in the Dred Scott v. Sandford case. 
Different from other Chief Justices that ruled before Roger B. Taney focusing on Federal laws, Taney showed favoritism towards the powers of State governments. It was documented from earlier cases that the rulings of Roger B. Taney were more concentrated on the developmental powers of the states regarding slavery, rather than implementing or enforcing Federal regulations. Most of his rulings left it up to the states to regulate commerce which was already passed as a Federal law.
Roger Taney’s unfair and impractical rulings went without much criticism until the case of Dred Scott v. Sanford came about in 1857. The ruling in the case of Dred Scott is documented as the indirect cause of the Civil War. Although the actual lawsuit against Dred Scott was set to be dismissed, Roger Taney wrote the actual ruling over the case of Dred Scott, representing his version of United States governance. 
In this ruling, Roger Taney declared that Congress had no right to prevent the spread of slavery  from reaching Federal territories, and any attempt to restrict the practice of slavery was unconstitutional. This bizarre ruling of Roger B. Taney lead to two refusals of the Federal Government: the first being the resignation of another Supreme Justice member, Benjamin Curtis. Another major occurrence due to the rulings of Roger Taney was the opposition of this ruling by many members, fighting for the abolishment of slavery. The language Roger Taney used to express his rulings only further angered those in opposition to slavery, which  started with his referral to African Americans as an ” unfortunate race”.
Many people found the ruling of the Dred Scott v. Sanford case and the original view of Roger B. Taney towards slaves contradictory. In earlier years, Roger Taney was known for emancipating his own slaves as well as providing pensions to his slaves that were too old to work. It is a question as to why Roger B. Taney’s views on slavery changed over time.
Earlier observations would show his disapproval for the practice and spread of slavery. However, his ruling in the Dred Scott case proved otherwise, only strengthening the beliefs Northerners had of slavery being abolished. It was thought that Taney was determined to make the emancipation of slavery unconstitutional. However, the occurrence of the American Civil War prevented that from happening. Ironically Roger Taney passed away in 1864, during the time that slavery was abolished in his home State of Maryland.

States Rights

Right to Privacy

John Witherspoon

James Wilson

Elbridge Gerry

John Dickinson