Interview with Constance Baker Motley
QUESTION 36
INTERVIEWER:

OKAY, DID YOU SEE A CHANGE IN THE COURT WHEN EARL WARREN CAME ON?

Judge Constance Baker Motley:

Well, certainly his opinion in the Brown case was a surprise to everyone because of its simplicity and its clarity and its forthrightness and I think that from the, we could see a chief justice who was going to go down in history, so to speak because of his courage in protecting the rights of black Americans, which was not the most popular subject in the country. Little was known about what he might do when he got on the court of course, because he had been Governor of California and had been in positions other than that of a judge, where he had made his mark. And it's always difficult to tell what's going to happen to someone who's been appointed to the Supreme Court. We've been wrong about many people. I know the NAACP opposed Justice Black and he turned out the be one of the foremost protectors of black rights on the court. So no one can really tell when a man is appointed to the Supreme Court what his judicial tendencies or leanings might be. But in the case of Earl Warren as I've said, we in the black community certainly were pleasantly surprised to find a man who seemed to understand our plight as American citizens.