Interview with Herbert Brownell, Jr.
QUESTION 8
INTERVIEWER:

STOP FOR A MOMENTI'D LIKE YOU TO TALK A BIT ABOUT THE CHANGE IN THE SUPREME COURT BETWEEN THE FIRST AND SECOND ARGUMENT OF THE BROWN CASE, EXCUSE ME I SAID THAT WRONG BEFORE. WHY PRESIDENT EISENHOWER SELECTED EARL WARREN AND WHAT EFFECT HE HAD ON THE DECISION.

Herbert Brownell, Jr.:

The uh, the change in the Supreme Court which occurred between the uh, first argument of the Brown case and the final decisions was, was significant. The uh, after the argument, of the Brown case which occurred after Eisenhower was elected but before he was inaugurated, uh, there came the dramatic death of Chief Justice Vincent, and so the president, Eisenhower was unexpectedly faced with the choice of a new chief Justice. There were a number of faces that were presented but the uh, important one right from the beginning was Governor Earl Warren of California. Uh, President Eisenhower admired the way Warren had uh, sort of carried on a non partisan administration of California. He was uh, well aware of his attitude on civil rights among other things. Warren as along with Governor Dewey in New York and Governor Stassen in Minnesota had been the leaders in the Republican party in favor of uh, what were then called the Fair Employment Commissions, uh, with compulsory enforcement powers and they were considered liberals in the Republican party in taking the leadership in Civil Rights movement generally. Uh, He also thought that Warren as governor had commanded public attention throughout the nation, he had been a candidate for vice-president. He had considerable experience with the law, he'd been attorney general of California and before that special prosecutor. And he admired his uh, his stand on law enforcement. So he felt that all of those qualifications uh, made him the prime candidate and uh, really he was the leading candidate from the beginning. And he took his position as Chief Justice uh, before the uh, next argument on the of the Brown case. It was really quite a significant change in the leadership of the court.