18 Nov The Supreme Court | The Warren Court | 5
When President Eisenhower appointed Earl Warren Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in 1953, he assumed the former California governor would be a force for reliably conservative force on the court. Warren was widely popular and seen as a safe, moderate and respectable
But under Warren’s leadership, the Court took on a new direction, making decisions that improved the lives of working people, the poor and the disadvantaged. Eisenhower would refer to Warren as one of only two mistakes he made while in office
Before the 1950s, the Supreme Court was best known as an institution that adhered to the status quo. It often sought to protect the rights of property owners and businessmen, shying away from cases that took direct aim at controversial social or political issues.
But when a popular former California governor became Chief Justice in 1953, all that changed. Earl Warren’s court would take on some of the hottest issues of the times, ruling on cases where individual rights would take precedent, such as Brown v. Board of Education and Baker v. Carr, and where First Amendment and Fifth Amendment rights would be strengthened, such as Engle v. Vitale and Miranda v. Arizona.
For sixteen years, the Warren Court would radically reshape the legal and social landscape of America.
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