This is a new category that I started a few years ago. There have been only 17 Chief Justices to the Supreme Court of the United States. With the passing of Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, 16 are dead (which makes sense if you think about it). In August of 2005, I picked up two more dead Chief Justices in Toledo and Chicago to add to the three I already had. So, I have 8 to go (strangely enough, I first had the 5th, 10th and 15th). Later in the fall of 2005, I picked up number six, Charles Evens Hughes in the Bronx. In December of 2009, while in Charleston, South Carolina, I picked up number seven – John Rutledge. The following summer, I picked up number eight – William Rehnquist. In July of 2013, I added three more to the list: Edward White, Harlen F. Stone and Earl Warren.

            Finding Chief Justices is easier to do since there are no DCJ's west of the Mississippi River. Also, there are four in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia (this is where Rehnquist was laid to rest) and two more in Washington D.C. One, William Taft, was a former president who I already have. While there are no DCJ's in New Jersey, there is one in the Bronx (who I now have).

John Jay

Morrison Waite

Frederick Moore Vinson

John Rutledge

Melville Fuller

Earl Warren

Oliver Ellsworth

Edward White

Warren Burger

John Marshall

William H. Taft

    William Rehnquist

Roger Brooke Taney

Charles Evans Hughes

John Glover Roberts, Jr.

Salmon Portland Chase

Harlan Fiske Stone



John Rutledge

2nd  Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
Served: June 30, 1795 to December 28, 1795

Born: September 17, 1739 in Charleston, South Carolina
Died: July 23, 1800 in Charleston, South Carolina
Buried: Saint Michaels Church Cemetery, Charleston, South Carolina


Rutledge.jpg                On December 27, 2009,  my wife Debbie and I picked up John Rutledge while we were spending Christmas break in South Carolina. He is in Saint Michaels Church Cemetery. It’s a beautiful church cemetery next to St. Michael’s Church (photo below left.) It has a governor, two senators, Revolutionary War general Mordecai Gist and Declaration of Independence signer Charles C. Pinckney. Rutledge was easy to find, the sign being a major hint, making him my 7th Dead Chief Justice. After finding him, we headed out to have a good dinner – in Charleston that’s not hard to do.

                Rutledge was born into a large family, one of six children, in Charleston. His father was Scots-Irish immigrant physician John Rutledge, Sr. and his mother Sarah. John took an early interest in law and often "played lawyer" with his brothers and sisters. When he was 17 years old, Rutledge began to read law under a man named James Parsons. Two years later, Rutledge sailed to England to further his studies at London's Middle Temple. In the course of his studies, he won several cases in English courts. After finishing his studies, Rutledge returned to Charleston to begin a successful legal career becoming almost immediately one of the most prominent lawyers in Charleston. On May 1, 1763, Rutledge married Elizabeth Grimke and they had ten children, eight who lived to adulthood. He was very devoted to his wife, and her death in 1792 affected his health the rest of his life.


                 During his early life, tensions between the colonies and Great Britain became strained. In mid-1765, Rutledge joined the Stamp Act Congress. He chaired a committee that drew up a petition to the House of Lords attempting to persuade them to reject the Stamp Act which ultimately unsuccessful. After the Stamp Act conflict ended, Rutledge went back into private life, and to his law practice. Besides serving in the colonial legislature, he did not involve himself in politics. His law practice continued to expand and he became fairly wealthy as a result.


Rutledge_grave.jpg                 In 1774, Rutledge, along with his brother John, was sent as one of South Carolina’s representatives to the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia. He continued to serve in the First Continental Congress and the Second Continental Congress until 1776. That year, he was elected President of South Carolina under a constitution drawn up on March 26, 1776. Upon taking office, he worked quickly to arrange the new government and to prepare defenses in case of a British attack. He ordered the construction of Fort Sullivan (now Fort Moultrie) on Sullivan's Island in Charleston Harbor. On June 28, 1776, the British attacked the fort, expecting it to fall quickly. However, the fort’s walls were made out of soft palmetto palm trees, and the British cannonballs simply sank into the logs without doing any damage. The British attack failed and as a result of this battle, South Carolina developed its first flag (by William Moultrie) using the Palmetto Tree and the half moon that was the buckle of the defending soldiers belts, and adopted the nickname the Palmetto State.


                Rutledge continued as President of South Carolina until 1778 when he resigned over a conflict with the state legislature regarding a new state constitution. He felt that it moved the state dangerously close to a direct democracy, which Rutledge believed was only a step away from total anarchy. Shortly afterwards, the British shifted their focus in the war to taking control of the southern colonies. British forces quickly took control of Georgia to their south. In 1779, Rutledge was elected to head the government of South Carolina under a revision of the new constitution. He sent troops under General Benjamin Lincoln into Georgia to harass the British. The British responded by sending troops to take Charleston. They narrowly escaped capture and the British withdrew. In early 1780, Sir Henry Clinton attacked South Carolina, and Charleston was thrown into a panic. The legislature adjourned upon learning of the British. Their last action was to give John Rutledge power to do anything short of executing people without a trial. Rutledge did his best to raise the militia, but Charleston was in the midst of a smallpox epidemic and few dared to enter the city. On May 10, Charleston was forced to surrender.


                Rutledge was not captured with Charleston, as he had been urged to leave the city. He remained Governor of the unconquered part of South Carolina. On January 17, 1781, the Americans handily defeated the British at the Battle of Cowpens. This victory greatly raised the spirits of those in Charleston, later General Nathanael Greene retook central South Carolina and drove the British back to Charleston. He remained outside of the city until the British left on December 14, 1782. Earlier that year, John Rutledge’s term of office came to an end, and he was not able to run again, because of term limits. A few weeks after leaving the governorship, Rutledge was again elected to the Continental Congress, where he served until 1783. In 1784, he was appointed to the South Carolina Court of Chancery.


Rutledge_grave2.jpg                In 1787, Rutledge was selected to represent South Carolina in the Constitutional Convention. Rutledge maintained a moderate nationalist stance and chaired the Committee of Detail (other members included Edmund Randolph, Oliver Ellsworth, James Wilson and Nathaniel Gorham), where over the July 4 convention recess he and his committee wrote the first draft of the constitution, most of which would remain in the final version. He attended all the sessions and served on five committees.


                  When the proposal was made that only landowners should have the right to vote, Rutledge opposed it perhaps more strongly than any other motion in the entire convention. He stated that making a rule like this would divide the people into "haves" and "have nots". It would create an undying resentment against the landowners and could do nothing but cause discord. Benjamin Franklin agreed with Rutledge, saying that such a law would suppress the ambitions of the common people. Franklin also observed that if only people who actually owned land could vote, the sons of a substantial farmer, not having land in their own names, would be denied the right to vote. In the debate of whether or not to allow slavery in the new country, Rutledge took the side of the slave-owners; he was a Southerner and he owned several slaves. Rutledge said that if the Constitution forbade slavery, the Southern states would never agree to the Constitution.


               In the summer of 1789, Rutledge was nominated by President George Washington to be the first associate justice on the newly established United States Supreme Court. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on September 25, 1789. Five months later he resigned from the U.S. Supreme Court in order to become Chief Justice of the South Carolina Court of Common Pleas and Sessions.


               On June 28, 1795, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Jay, having been elected Governor of New York, resigned from the Court. President Washington selected Rutledge to succeed Jay as the Court's chief justice. As the Senate was not in session at the time, Rutledge's recess appointment took effect immediately. He was commissioned as the second Chief Justice of the United States on June 30, 1795. On July 16, 1795, Rutledge gave a highly controversial speech denouncing the Jay Treaty with Great Britain. He reportedly said in the speech "that he had rather the President should die than sign that puerile instrument"– and that he "preferred war to an adoption of it." Rutledge's speech against the Jay Treaty cost him the support of many in the Washington Administration, which supported the treaty, and in the Senate, which subsequently ratified it by a two-thirds majority and which would soon be debating and voting on his nomination to the Supreme Court.


               Two cases were decided while Rutledge held his recess appointment (before his formal nomination). In United States v. Peters, the Court ruled that federal district courts had no jurisdiction over crimes committed against Americans in international waters. In Talbot v. Janson, the Court held that a citizen of the United States did not waive all claims to U.S. citizenship by either renouncing citizenship of an individual state, or by becoming a citizen of another country. The Rutledge Court thus established an important precedent for multiple citizenship in the United States.


               By the time of his formal nomination to the Court in December of 1795, support for his nomination had faded. Rumors of mental illness and alcohol abuse swirled around him. His words and actions in response to the Jay Treaty were used by the Federalist as evidence of his continued mental decline. The Senate rejected his appointment on December 15, 1795 by a vote of 14–10. Of the 15 recess appointments to the Supreme Court, it remains the first and only time it has rejected a recess appointment of an individual to the Supreme Court. Rutledge resigned from the Court on December 28, 1795. Regarding Rutledge and the Senate's rejection of his Supreme Court nomination, then Vice President John Adams, in a letter to his wife Abigail, wrote that it "gave me pain for an old friend, though I could not but think he deserved it."


                The Senate's rejection of his nomination left Rutledge mentally ruined. He attempted suicide shortly afterward by jumping off a wharf into Charleston Bay. After this, he withdrew from public life and died on June 21, 1800, at the age of 60. One of his houses, said to have been built in 1763 and definitely sold in 1790, was renovated in 1989 and opened to the public as the John Rutledge House Inn.


Roger Brooke Taney
5th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
Served: March 15 1836 to October 12, 1864 

Born: March 17, 1777 in Calvert County, Maryland 
Died: October 12, 1864 in Washington D.C. 
Buried: St. John's Catholic Cemetery, Frederick, Maryland


Taney.jpg                In 2002, my wife, Debbie, along with our nephew Damian, and I took a trip to Frederick, Maryland. The purpose of the trip was to visit the Battlefield at Antietam. In that weekend, we visited four Civil War sites. Along with Antietam, we visited Harper's Ferry, Monacacy Battlefield and Gettysburg. After touring the Monacacy Battlefield (which took about a half-hour) outside of Frederick on Sunday morning, we then walked around the town. One of the places we visited was St. John's Cemetery. It is a small cemetery near the town center (Between E. 3rd & E. 4th Streets on East St.) with a few persons interred there. The most famous is Chief Justice Taney (pronounced Taw-ney) who becomes my 3rd  Dead Chief Justice. 

                Taney was born of a wealthy slave-owning family of tobacco farmers on the Taney Plantation along the Patuxent River, in Maryland's Calvert County. His parents, Michael Taney and Monica Brooke, were Catholics. He graduated first in his class from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in 1795. Taney was admitted to the bar in 1799 and as a Federalist served (1799–1800) one term in the Maryland house of delegates. On January 7, 1806, he married Anne Phoebe Charlton Key, sister of Francis Scott Key (writer of the Star Spangled Banner). He temporarily broke with the Federalist leadership over the party's opposition to the War of 1812, but he gained control of the Federalists in Maryland and in 1816 was elected to a five-year term in the state senate. Having built up a large practice, Taney moved in 1823 from Frederick to Baltimore.

                In 1824, he permanently abandoned the Federalists to support Andrew Jackson. In 1831, President Jackson appointed Taney to the post of Attorney General to assist in the struggle with the Bank of the United States (which Jackson loathed). The following year, Taney wrote much of Jackson's message vetoing the act that rechartered the bank, and, when Louis McLane and William J. Duane refused to withdraw federal funds from the bank, Taney was appointed, in 1833, Secretary of the Treasury and effected the withdrawal. However, his appointment to the office of Secretary of the Treasury having been made during a recess of Congress, his nomination was sent to the Senate by Jackson on June 23, 1834, and was rejected after a heated debate.

                In 1835, President Jackson nominated Taney as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, replacing Judge Gabriel Duvall of Maryland who resigned. The United States Senate, incensed by Taney's actions as Secretary of the Treasury and opposed to Jackson politically, did not ratify his nomination. The following year, Jackson again nominated Taney, this time as Chief Justice, after the death of the legendary Chief Justice John Marshall. The nomination, despite Whig opposition led by Senators Daniel Webster and Henry Clay, was finally confirmed by a majority of only 14 votes. Taney was the first of the thirteen Catholic justices – out of 112 total – who have served on the Supreme Court.

Taney_grave.jpg                Under the guidance of Judges John Jay, John Marshall and Joseph Story, the judiciary from 1790 to 1835 had followed the Federalist loose construction methods of interpreting the U.S. Constitution. The personnel of the supreme bench were almost entirely changed during President Jackson's administration (1829-37). Five of the seven judges in 1837, including Taney, were his appointees, and the majority of them were Southerners who had been educated under Democratic influences at a time when the slavery controversy was forcing the party to return to its original strict construction views of the Constitution.

                His first big test came in 1837 with the Charles River Bridge Case. Taney's ruling angered many conservatives who thought he shouldn't modify the Dartmouth College Case, decided by Marshal in 1819. In 1841, Taney joined the majority of the Court in the Amistad Case, ruling that the rebelling Africans from the slave ship Amistad should be freed. 

                His position on slavery is interesting. Born into a slave-owning family, he freed the slaves he inherited from his father early in his life. He spoke out against slavery, saying "Slavery is a blot on our national character, and every real lover of freedom confidently hopes that it will be effectually, though it must be gradually, wiped away." He would have liked to see slavery abolished, however gradually. Many people have called him a supporter of slavery because of his upholding of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 against the arguments of the Northern states. However, he was upholding the right of Congress to pass laws that states were obligated to follow.

                Undoubtedly,  his most controversial decision came in 1857, with the Dred Scott Case (Scott v. Sandford). In 1834, Dred Scott, a black slave, was taken by his owner, a U.S. Army surgeon, to Illinois, a free state,  and then Minnesota, a free territory, before returning to Missouri in 1838. After the doctor’s death, Scott sued for his freedom, saying that since he lived in states and territories that were "Free" he too should be free. After a lower court in St. Louis agreed, the decision was reversed by the Missouri Supreme Court. It was appealed all the way up to the Supreme Court. It was here that Taney made his highly controversial and inflammatory decision. The Courts decision, by a vote of 7 to 2, was that; one, they held that slaves (and even the free descendants of slaves) were not citizens and could not sue in the federal courts, two, blacks were only property and most damaging of all, that Congress had no authority to abolish slavery anywhere in the United States and that the Missouri Compromise of 1820 was unconstitutional because it violated slaveholders Fifth Amendment Right to protection of private property guaranteed in the Constitution.

                In one sweeping decision, Taney and the Supreme Court, erased years of compromise over the slavery issue. Slavery was made legal in every state despite Northern states ruling otherwise. Northerners were outraged while Southerners celebrated. One of the two dissenters, Justice Benjamin Curtis of Massachusetts (the other being Justice John McLean of New Jersey), was so angered by the opinion of the majority that he resigned from the Supreme Court. The court's verdict further inflamed the sectional controversy between North and South and pushed the country closer to Civil War. This single opinion cast a shadow over Taney's distinguished legal career and his personal reputation for integrity. He was attacked by Republicans in Congress because he was a Southerner, even though he personally opposed slavery. Taney was still Chief Justice when the Civil War began in 1861. When Lincoln became President he considered Taney an arch foe. In the Civil War, Taney in vain ruled against Lincoln's suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. 

                As Chief Justice he swore in seven Presidents; Martin Van Buren (1837), William Henry Harrison (1841), James K. Polk (1845), Zachary Taylor (1849), Franklin Pierce (1853), James Buchanan (1857) and Abraham Lincoln (1861) – the most among chief justices. He attended seven inaugurations which is second to James Marshall’s nine (Taney swore in more presidents because none had a second term.)

                Plagued all of his life with ill health, Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney died on October 12, 1864 at the age of 87 after serving as Chief Justice for 28 years. Since it was during the Civil War, he was unmourned by most Northerners who could not forget the Dred Scott Decision. The ironic thing is that Taney passed the most abhorrent Supreme Court decision in the history of our country, but was opposed to the institution itself. However, he was also a believer in individual rights. The contradiction was that there was no legal way to abolish the institution of slavery without trampling on the rights of slaveholders, something he refused to do.  Abraham Lincoln nominated his Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase to succeed Taney as Chief Justice.

                He is buried in St. John's Catholic Cemetery next to his mother. There is a statue to Taney on the grounds of the Statehouse in Annapolis, Maryland (which is a great place to tour - not to mention crab cakes in Annapolis). While in Frederick, you can visit the Roger Brooke Taney House at 121 S. Bentz Street. The grounds include the family’s living quarters, a summer kitchen and the slaves’ quarters. Their hours are on Saturday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM and Sunday from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. These hours run from April through mid-December. Tours are available at other times and months by appointment. The phone number is  (301) 663-1188. In 2005, they will be celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Roger Brooke Taney House.

Here are some webpages of interest:

Roger Brooke Taney and the Case of Dred Scott
Sculpture in the U.S. Capital Building
Frederick County Tourism





Morrison Waite

7th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
Served: March 4, 1874 to March 23, 1888

Born: November 29, 1816 in Lyme, Connecticut
Died: March 23, 1888 in Washington D.C.
Buried: Woodlawn Cemetery, Toledo, Ohio


waite.jpg                In August of 2005, my wife Debbie and I drove to Chicago for a vacation. On the way and during our stay, we visited the sites of two former Chief Justices of the United States. After spending the night in Sandusky, Ohio, we drove to Toledo on a bright Sunday morning.  Woodlawn Cemetery is one of those old landscaped Victorian cemeteries in the northern part of the city. We had little trouble finding Judge Waite, who was in section 42 overlooking a small lake, who became my 4th Dead Chief Justice.

                Morrison Remick Waite was born in Lyme, Connecticut, the son of Henry Matson Waite, who would become a judge of the superior court and associate judge of the supreme court of Connecticut from 1834 to 1854 and was elevated to chief justice in 1854 until 1857. He graduated from Yale University in 1837 in a class with Samuel J. Tilden, who later was the 1876 Democratic presidential nominee. As a student at Yale, Waite became a member of the Skull and Bones Society.

                After graduation, Waite moved to Maumee City, Ohio, where he studied law in the office of Samuel L. Young and was admitted to the bar in 1839. The following year, Waite married Amelia Warner. In 1850 he moved to Toledo, and he soon came to be recognized as a leader of the state bar. In politics, Waite was a Whig legislator in Ohio in the late 1840s, and helped found the Republican Party in Ohio in 1856. He was a successful lawyer, but not known outside of Ohio. Waite came to national attention in 1871 when he was appointed, with William M. Evarts and Caleb Cushing, to represent the United States before the Geneva Arbitration Panel. The lawyers were successful, gaining a $15 million award. In 1874, he presided over the Ohio constitutional convention.

                In the same year he was appointed by President Ulysses S. Grant to succeed Judge Salmon P. Chase, who had died the previous year, as Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Waite was not the first choice, in fact it was offered to a number of people before. Grant first waited six months before first offering the seat in November to the powerful Senator Roscoe Conkling of New York, who declined. Grant offered the Chief Justiceship to senators Oliver Morton of Indiana and Timothy Howe of Wisconsin, then to his Secretary of State, Hamilton Fish. He finally submitted his nomination of Attorney General George H. Williams to the Senate. A month later, however, Grant withdrew the nomination, at Williams' request, after charges of corruption made his confirmation all but certain to fail. One day after withdrawing Williams, Grant nominated Democrat and former Attorney General Caleb Cushing, but withdrew it after Republican Senators alleged Civil War-era connections between Cushing and the Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Finally, on January 19, 1874, Grant nominated the little-known Waite. He was notified of his nomination by a telegram. There were some who felt he was not prepared for the job, most in the country were relieved that a non-divisive and competent choice had been made and Waite was confirmed unanimously as Chief Justice on January 21, 1874.


Waites_grave.jpg                 In the cases which grew out of the Civil War and Reconstruction, and especially in those which involved the interpretation of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments, he sympathized with the general tendency of the court to restrict the further extension of the powers of the Federal government. He concurred with the majority in the Head Money Cases (1884), the Ku-Klux Case (United States v. Harris, 1882), the Civil Rights Cases (1883) and the Juillard v. Greenman (legal tender) Case (1883). Among his own most important decisions were those in the Enforcement Act Cases (1875), the Sinking Fund Case (1878), the Railroad Commission Cases (1886) and the Telephone Cases (1887).

                 He wrote the Court's opinion in  Munn v. Illinois, in which the Court sustained an Illinois law regulating maximum rates of grain elevators (where grain was stored before it was shipped from Chicago elsewhere), on the ground that the grain elevator business was "affected with a public interest." Waite was also the author of the Court's decision in Reynolds v. United States (1879), in which the Court upheld the criminalization of polygamy in the Territory of Utah. As Chief Justice he swore in four Presidents; Rutherford Hayes (1877), James Garfield (1881) and Grover Cleveland (1885) during their inaugurations and Chester Arthur (1881) after the assassination of Garfield (Arthur had been sworn in by a New York state judge in his home but wanted Waite to do it again when he got to Washington D.C. so to be sure it was official.)

                On March 23, 1888, Waite died after being stricken by a severe case of pneumonia. This created a stir in Washington, as there had been no hint that his illness was serious. His condition had been treated as confidential, in part to avoid alarming his wife who was in California at the time. Crowds of people gathered and formed a memorial procession when his body arrived in Toledo from Washington D.C. Published reports indicated the Chief Justice would be buried in a family plot he had purchased in Forest Hill Cemetery, but he was not in fact interred there. For unknown reasons, his remains were not interred in the family plot, but are interred at Woodlawn Cemetery. After his death in 1888, President Grover Cleveland nominated Democrat state legislator Melville Fuller of Illinois to be Chief Justice.


                Morrison R. Waite High School is a public high school located in east Toledo that opened in 1914.



Melville Fuller
8th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

Served: October 8, 1888 to July 4, 1910

Born: February 11, 1833 in Augusta, Maine

Died: July 4, 1910 in Washington D.C.
Buried: Graceland Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois


fuller.jpg                In August of 2005, my wife Debbie and I drove to Chicago for a vacation. On the way and during our stay, we visited the sites of two former Chief Justices of the United States. One morning during our week in Chicago, we drove to Chicago's Northside to Graceland Cemetery to visit Fuller. We found him easily enough and he became my 5th Dead Chief Justice.

                Fuller was born in Augusta, Maine. Both his maternal grandfather, Nathan Weston and paternal grandfather, Henry Weld Fuller were judges. His father was a well-known lawyer. His parents divorced shortly after his birth, and he was raised by Nathan Weston. He attended college at Harvard University for one year before attending Bowdoin College, graduating in 1853. He then spent six months at Harvard Law School, leaving without graduating in 1855. After finishing school, he studied law under the direction of an uncle. In 1855, he went into partnership with another uncle. He also became the editor of The Age, a leading Democratic newspaper in Maine. In 1858, he married Calista Reynolds (who died in 1864). He married Mary Coolbaugh in 1866. Soon he tired of Maine and moved to Chicago.

fuller_grave2.jpg                At the time, Chicago was becoming the gateway to the West. Railroads had just linked it to the east. Fuller built a law practice in Chicago. Within two years, he appeared before the Supreme Court of Illinois in the case of Beach vs. Derby. He became a leading attorney in the city. He first appeared before the United States Supreme Court in the case of Traders' Bank vs Campbell. He also argued the case of Tappan vs the Merchants' National Bank of Chicago, which was the first case heard by Chief Justice Morrison Waite, whom he would later replace.


               He was a minor figure in Illinois politics. He spent one term in the Illinois House of Representatives and was a delegate at the national Democratic Conventions of 1864, 1872, 1876, and 1880. In 1876, he made the nominating speech for Thomas Hendricks, for the Democratic electoral vote for President. President Grover Cleveland tried to make Fuller chairman of the United States Civil Service Commission, but he declined. Cleveland tried to persuade Fuller to be Solicitor General of the United States, but Fuller turned down the second offer for a government job.

                President Grover Cleveland nominated him for the Chief Justice position when Morrison Waite died in 1888. Fuller was not the first man to be mentioned as a possible Supreme Court nominee; the former ambassador to Great Britain, Edward J. Phelps, was perceived as the front-runner for the nomination. Fuller's nomination was tepidly received in the Senate. He had avoided military service during the Civil War, and while serving in the Illinois House of Representatives had attempted to block wartime legislation proposed by Governor Richard Yates. Republicans thus launched a smear campaign against Fuller, portraying him as a Copperhead (an anti-war Democrat.) However, he was eventually confirmed by a vote of 41 to 20, with nine Republicans voting with the Democrats.

Fuller2.jpg                On the bench, he oversaw a number of important opinions. The famous phrase "Equal Justice Under Law" paraphrases his opinion in Caldwell v. Texas, where Fuller discussed "equal and impartial justice under the law."


He declared the income tax law unconstitutional. In Western Union Telegraph Company vs. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania he ruled that states could not tax interstate telegraph messages. He also served on the Arbitration Commission in Paris in 1899 to resolve a boundary dispute between the United Kingdom and Venezuela.


                The most notable of cases his court handled was Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896. Fuller joined the majority in a 7-1 decision to allow segregation in the South. The majority of the Court rejected the view that the Louisiana law implied any inferiority of blacks, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. Instead, it contended that the law separated the two races as a matter of public policy.

                As Chief Justice he attended six presidential inaugurations (third most) and swore in five Presidents; Benjamin Harrison (1889), Grover Cleveland (1893), William McKinley (1897 and 1901), Theodore Roosevelt (1905) and William Taft (1909) – which is tied with John Marshall for second most. The picture at left is of Fuller administering the oath to William McKinley as president in 1897 (outgoing president Grover Cleveland stands to the right.)

                He was said to closely resemble Mark Twain. Once, when the humorist was stopped on the street a passerby demanded the Chief Justice's autograph. Twain supposedly wrote: "It is delicious to be full, but it is heavenly to be Fuller. I am cordially yours, Melville W. Fuller."

                After his death in 1910, President William Howard Taft nominated former Democratic Governor of Louisiana Edward Douglass White to be Chief Justice.




Edward Douglass White, Jr.
9th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

Served: December 12, 1910 to May 19, 1921

Born: November 3, 1845 in Thibodeauxville, Louisiana

Died: May 19, 1921 in Washington D.C.
Buried: Oak Hill Cemetery in Washington, D.C.


White.JPG                In July of 2013, my wife Debbie and I spent a week in Washington D.C. While there, we visited the sites of three former Chief Justices of the United States. On the morning of July 30, we drove to Oak Hill Cemetery to visit White. It took a little while but we found him and he became my 11th Dead Chief Justice. White was best known for formulating the Rule of Reason standard of antitrust law. He also sided with the Supreme Court majority in the 1896 decision of Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), which upheld the legality of segregation in the United States, though he did write for a unanimous court in Guinn v. United States (1915), which struck down many Southern states' grandfather clauses that disenfranchised blacks. 

                White was born on his parents' plantation near the town of Thibodeauxville (now Thibodaux) in Lafourche Parish in south Louisiana. He was the son of Edward Douglass White, Sr., a former governor of Louisiana, and grandson of Dr. James White, a U.S. representative, physician, and judge. On his mother's side, he was the grandson of U.S. Marshal Tench Ringgold, and related to the Lee family of Virginia. The White family's large plantation cultivated sugar cane.


               White's paternal ancestors were of Irish descent, and he was a devout Roman Catholic his entire life. He studied first at the Jesuit College in New Orleans, then at Mount St. Mary’s College, in Maryland, and then attended Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He later studied law at the University of Louisiana. White was one of 13 Catholic justices – out of 112 total in the history of the Supreme Court.

                At age 15, White's studies at Georgetown were interrupted by the Civil War. It has been suggested that he supposedly enlisted as an infantryman in the Confederate States Army. There is no documentation, however, that White served in any Confederate unit. The only "hard" evidence of White's Confederate service consists of the account of his capture on March 12, 1865 in an action in Morganza in Pointe Coupee Parish contained in the Official Records of the American Civil War, and his service records in the National Archives, documenting his subsequent imprisonment in New Orleans and parole in April 1865. These records confirm his service as a lieutenant in Captain W. B. Barrow's company of a Louisiana cavalry regiment, for all practical purposes a loosely-organized band of irregulars or "scouts" (guerrillas). White's Civil War service was a matter of common knowledge at the time of his initial nomination to the United States Supreme Court, and the Confederate Veteran periodical, published for the United Confederate Veterans, congratulated him upon his affirmation. White was one of three ex-Confederate soldiers to serve on the Supreme Court. The others were Associate Justices Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar (II) and Horace Harmon Lurton. The Court's other ex-Confederate, Associate Justice Howell Edmunds Jackson, held a civil position under the Confederate government.


White_grave.JPG               While living on his abandoned plantation, White began his legal studies. He then enrolled at the University of Louisiana to complete his study of the law at what is now known as the Tulane University Law School. He subsequently was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in New Orleans in 1868. He briefly served in the Louisiana State Senate in 1874 and as an Associate Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court from 1879 to 1880. He was politically affiliated with Governor Francis T. Nicholls, a former Confederate general.

White_statue.JPG                The state's legislature appointed White to the United States Senate in 1891 to succeed James B. Eustis. He served until his resignation on March 12, 1894, when he was nominated by President Grover Cleveland (D) to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. In 1896 he sided with the seven justices whose majority opinion in Plessy v. Ferguson approved segregation.

                In 1910, he was elevated by President William Howard Taft to the position of Chief Justice of the United States upon the death of Melville Fuller. At the time, it was a controversial appointment for two reasons. First, White was a Democrat while Taft was a Republican. The media of the day widely expected Taft to name Republican Justice Charles Evans Hughes to the post. Second, White was the first Associate Justice to be appointed Chief Justice since John Rutledge in 1795. Some historians believe that President Taft appointed White, who was 65 years old at the time and overweight, in the hope that White would not serve all that long and that Taft himself might someday be appointed—-which is just what happened eleven years later.


                White was generally seen as one of the more conservative members of the court. He was the originator of the “Rule of Reason." However, White also wrote the decision upholding the constitutionality of the Adamson Act, which mandated a maximum eight-hour work day for railroad employees, in 1916. White wrote for a unanimous Court in Guinn v. United States (1915), which invalidated the Oklahoma and Maryland grandfather clauses (and, by extension, those in other Southern states) as "repugnant to the Fifteenth Amendment and therefore null and void." However, in practice the Southern states found other methods to disfranchise blacks which withstood Court scrutiny. In 1918, the Selective Draft Law Cases upheld the Selective Service Act of 1917, and more generally, upheld conscription in the United States, which President (and later, Supreme Court Chief Justice) William Howard Taft said was "one of his great opinions."

                As Chief Justice, White swore in Presidents Woodrow Wilson (twice) and Warren G. Harding. After his death in 1921 at age 75, Harding nominated former president Howard Taft to be Chief Justice. This made White the only Chief Justice to be followed by the President who appointed him.

                White's statue is one of the two honoring Louisiana natives in the National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol (photo at left). Another statue is in front of the Louisiana Supreme Court building in New Orleans. The second statue is a local landmark on the New Orleans scene, created by Bryant Baker, who was selected for the commission by White's widow, and dedicated 8 April 1926. "Big Green Ed", as his likeness is often referred to, is a favorite of locals and tourists alike. Visitors are often seen sitting at the base of his likeness, discussing issues of the day. Moreover, local custom holds that those who run around the statue in a counterclockwise direction will not be arrested that night.




William Howard Taft
10th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
Served: July 11, 1921 to February 3, 1930

Born: September 15, 1857 in Cincinnati, Ohio
Died: March 8, 1930 in Washington D.C.
Buried: Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia


Taft.jpg                Since Taft was also President of the United States, I already had him. By the way, Taft is the only president to become a member of the Supreme Court. I picked him up on one of many visits to Arlington National Cemetery so he holds the distinction of being the 1st Dead Chief Justice on my list.

                Both Taft's father and his grandfather were famous judges. After graduating in 1878 from Yale University, Taft attended the law school at the University of Cincinnati. On June 19, 1886, Taft married Helen "Nellie" Herron. He began practicing law in Ohio in 1880. By 1887, Taft was a superior court judge. In 1889, at age 32, Taft had the temerity to urge others to convince President Benjamin Harrison, a lawyer, to appoint him to the Court. Harrison declined, nominating David Brewer instead. But Taft did win appointment to the position of Solicitor General of the United States. After three years as solicitor general, Taft was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. In 1900, Taft was appointed to the Philippine Commission, created after the War of 1898 led to the cession of the Philippines to the United States by Spain. Taft remained in the Philippines for four years, eventually serving as Governor General. 

Taft_grave.jpg                In 1904, Taft was appointed Secretary of War by President Teddy Roosevelt, and by 1907 had decided that Taft should be his successor. The Republican Convention nominated him the next year.

                Taft disliked the campaign, "one of the most uncomfortable four months of my life." But he pledged his loyalty to the Roosevelt program, popular in the West, while his brother Charles reassured eastern Republicans. William Jennings Bryan, running on the Democratic ticket for a third time, complained that he had to oppose two candidates, a western progressive Taft and an eastern conservative Taft. Taft won the presidential election.

                Progressives were pleased with Taft's election. "Roosevelt has cut enough hay," they said; "Taft is the man to put it into the barn." Conservatives were delighted to be rid of Roosevelt, who they called the "mad messiah." However, Taft was not a successful President. Unlike Roosevelt, Taft did not believe in the stretching of Presidential powers.  Taft alienated many liberal Republicans who later formed the Progressive Party, by defending the Payne-Aldrich Act which unexpectedly continued high tariff rates. He further antagonized Progressives by upholding his Secretary of the Interior, accused of failing to carry out Roosevelt's conservation policies. 

                In the angry Progressive onslaught against him, little attention was paid to the fact that his administration initiated 80 antitrust suits and that Congress submitted to the states amendments for a federal income tax and the direct election of Senators. A postal savings system was established and the Interstate Commerce Commission was directed to set railroad rates. 

                Teddy Roosevelt was so frustrated with Taft's leadership that he ran for President in 1912 on the Bull Moose ticket, which allowed the Democrat Woodrow Wilson to win with a plurality of the popular vote (but a majority of the electoral vote). 

Taft2.jpg                After his defeat in 1912, Taft returned to his alma mater, Yale, to teach law. In 1921, the Republicans once again occupied the White House. President Harding nominated Taft to the position of Chief Justice after the death of Edward White, whom Taft had appointed to that position. The Senate confirmed Taft's nomination the same day it was sent to it. Thus Taft became the only person to serve as both President and as  Justice of the Supreme Court. (John Quincy Adams declined a nomination to the Court before he became President in 1825.)

                Taft was a conservative judge who distrusted reform legislation that he believed too radical. In Truax v. Corrigan in, Taft wrote the Court's opinion declaring unconstitutional Arizona's efforts to limit the issuance of much despised injunctions (used against labor unions) by judges during a labor strike. Taft saw the legislation as too heavily favoring labor. Taft also wrote an opinion for the Court declaring unconstitutional a congressional effort to outlaw child labor through use of the taxing power. Taft did dissent in Adkins v. Children's Hospital in 1923, which held unconstitutional a minimum wage law for women in the District of Columbia. Taft was an able judicial administrator, whose lobbying led to the passage of the Judiciary Act of 1925. This Act granted to the Court an extraordinary discretion in its caseload.

                Taft resigned from the Court due to illness in February of 1930. He died a month later. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery (Section 30, Lot S-11). His widow, Helen Herron Taft, was buried beside him May 25, 1943. Taft never liked being the Chief Executive and always considered being a Supreme Court Justice as being the highpoint of his life. He once said,  "I don't remember that I ever was President."

                As Chief Justice, Taft swore in two presidents; Calvin Coolidge in 1925 and Herbert Hoover in 1928 (photo at left). After his resignation in 1930, President Herbert Hoover nominated former associate justice Charles Evans Hughes of New York to be Chief Justice.

Here are some webpages of interest:

William Howard Taft National Historic Site
White House Biography of William H. Taft
The Internet Public Library Biography
The American President Biography
White House Biography of Helen Herron Taft




Charles Evans Hughes
11th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
Served: February 24, 1930 to June 30, 1941

Born: April 11, 1862 in Glens Falls, New York
Died: August 27, 1948 in Osterville, Massachusetts
Buried: Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York


Hughes.jpg                Back in the fall of 2005, Debbie and I took a ride over to Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx to pick up my 6th Dead Chief Justice. Woodlawn is one of those well Hughes_grave.jpgmanicured Victorian style cemeteries. Opened in 1863, it is, at 400 acres, one of the largest cemeteries in New York City. Built on rolling hills, its tree-lined roads lead to a number of very unique memorials. In addition to Hughes, there are many other famous people buried here including (including a number of Jazz musicians): Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Lionel Hampton, W.C. Handy, Irving Berlin, Damon Runyon, Fiorello LaGuardia, Herman Melville, Otto Preminger, Joseph Pulitzer, Jay Gould, David Farragut and Titanic victim Isidor Straus.

                Charles Evens Hughes was a precocious youngster. At age six he found public school boring and confining, and submitted to his parents a plan of study for homeschooling, which his parents accepted. Shortly before his 12th birthday, his family moved from Glens Falls, New York to New York City, where his parents enrolled him in public school, and he graduated from high school at age 13, second in his class. His father was a Baptist minister from Wales, so he too followed the Baptist religion.

                He went to Madison College (now Colgate University) for two years (where he became a member of Delta Upsilon Fraternity), then transferred to Brown University, where he continued as a member of Delta Upsilon Fraternity, where he graduated in 1881 at age 19, youngest in his class, receiving third-highest honors. For the next year, he worked at Delaware Academy, in Delhi, New York where he taught Greek, Latin and algebra, in order to earn money to enter law school. He entered Columbia University law school in 1882, and graduated in 1884 with highest honors.

                In 1885 he met Antoinette Carter, daughter of a senior partner of the law firm where he worked, and married her in 1888. In 1891 he left the practice of law to become a professor at Cornell University Law School, but in 1893 he returned to his old law firm. 

                In 1905 he was appointed counsel to a New York state legislative committee investigating utility rates. He uncovered corruption to get gas rates lowered in New York City. As a result, he was appointed to investigate the insurance industry in New York.

Hughes' grave                 A Republican, Hughes was elected Governor of New York, defeating William Randolph Hearst (52%-48%) in the 1906 election (he was the only Republican statewide candidate to win office). In 1908 he was offered the vice-presidential nomination by William Howard Taft, but declined it to run again for Governor. He successfully won re-election over the Democratic challenger, Lewis Stuyvesant Chanler by an even bigger margin then in 1906.

                In 1909 he led the charge to incorporate Delta Upsilon Fraternity and created a headquarters for the organization in Indianapolis, Indiana. He served as the first International president of the Fraternity which was the first fraternity to incorporate. On October 6, 1909, He left the Governor’s Mansion in Albany during his second term for the Supreme Court and was succeeded by Lieutenant Governor Horace White of Syracuse.

Hughes2.jpg                On October 10, 1910, he was appointed an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court by William Taft to replace Justice David Josiah Brewer who had died earlier that year. During that time, he wrote for the Court in Bailey v. Alabama (1911), which held that involuntary servitude encompassed more than just slavery. On June 16, 1916, he resigned from the Supreme Court to be the Republican candidate for President of the United States, however he was defeated by Woodrow Wilson in a close election. Hughes carried the Northeast and the Midwest receiving 254 electoral votes and 8,538,221 or 46% of the popular votes (losing California decided the election against him). Hughes was replaced on the Supreme Court by John Hessin Clarke of Ohio. After his defeat, he returned to private practice.

                In 1921, Hughes became the Secretary of State in Warren G. Harding's administration (and later Coolidge's after Harding's death) and served until 1925. During his time as Secretary of State, he convened the Washington Conference in 1921, regulating naval armament among the Great Powers. After this, he returned to private practice and argued over 50 cases before the Supreme Court. Herbert Hoover, who had appointed Hughes' son as Solicitor General in 1929, appointed Hughes Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court on February 24, 1930 to replace William Taft who had resigned on February 3.

                As Chief Justice, he led the fight against Franklin D. Roosevelt's attempt to pack the Supreme Court. Hughes was considered a moderate conservative on the Court. He wrote the opinion for the Court in Near v. Minnesota (1931), which held prior restraints against the press are unconstitutional. He was often aligned with the "Three Musketeers", Justices Louis Brandeis, Harlan Fiske Stone and Benjamin Cardozo (they were considered to be the liberal faction of the Supreme Court), in finding President Roosevelt's New Deal measures to be Constitutional. Although he wrote the opinion invalidating the National Recovery Administration in Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States (1935), he wrote the opinions for the Court in NLRB v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp. (1937), NLRB v. Friedman-Harry Marks Clothing Co. (1937) and West Coast Hotel v. Parrish (1937) which looked favorably on New Deal Measures.

                Hughes retired from the Supreme Court on June 30, 1941. Roosevelt elevated Associate Justice Harlan Fiske Stone of New Hampshire to Chief Justice. Hughes is the only Chief Justice to have sworn in the same man as President three times - Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933, 1937 and 1941).

Here are some webpages of interest:

Woodlawn Cemetery




Harlan Fiske Stone
12th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
Served: July 3, 1941 to April 22, 1946

Born: October 11, 1872 in Chesterfield, New Hampshire
Died: April 22, 1946 in Washington, D.C.
Buried: Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, D.C.


Stone.jpg                In July of 2013, my wife Debbie and I spent a week in Washington D.C. While there, we visited the sites of three former Chief Justices of the United States. On the morning of July 28, we drove to Rock Creek Cemetery to visit Stone. It took a little while but we found him and he became my 10th Dead Chief Justice.  Stone served a Chief Justice during the years that the United States was in World War II. He died shortly afterwards giving him the second shortest term of any Chief Justice. Stone was the first Chief Justice not to have served in elected office.

                Stone was born in Chesterfield, New Hampshire, to Fred L. and Ann S. (Butler) Stone. He prepared at Amherst High School, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Amherst College in 1894. From 1894 to 1895, he was the submaster of Newburyport High School. From 1895 to 1896 he was a history teacher at Adelphi Academy in Brooklyn (today Adelphi University on Long Island). In 1899, he married Agnes E. Harvey and had two sons, Lauson and Marshall.

                Stone attended Columbia Law School from 1895 to 1898 and was admitted to the New York bar in 1898. Stone practiced law in New York City. From 1899 to 1902 he lectured on law at Columbia Law School. He was a professor there from 1902 to 1905 and eventually served as the school's dean from 1910 to 1923.

Stone_grave.JPG                During World War I, Stone served for several months on a War Department Board of Inquiry that reviewed the cases of men whose requests for conscientious objector status had been denied by their draft boards. At the end of the war, he criticized Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer for his attempts to deport aliens based on administrative action without allowing for any judicial review of their cases. During this time Stone also defended free speech claims for professors and socialists.

                In 1923, disgusted by his conflict with the president of Columbia Law School and bored with "all the petty details of law school administration, Stone resigned the deanship and joined the prestigious Wall Street firm of Sullivan & Cromwell.

                 On April 1, 1924, he was appointed United States Attorney General by his Amherst classmate President Calvin Coolidge, who felt Stone would be perceived by the public as beyond reproach to oversee investigations into various scandals arising under the Harding administration. These scandals had besmirched Harding's Attorney General, Harry M. Dougherty, and forced his resignation. In one of his first acts as Attorney General, Stone fired Dougherty's cronies in the Department of Justice and replaced them with men of integrity. As Attorney General, he was responsible for the appointment of J. Edgar Hoover as head of the Department of Justice's Bureau of Investigation, which later became the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and directed him to remodel the agency so it would resemble Britain's Scotland Yard and become far more efficient than any other police organization in the country. A proactive Attorney General, Stone argued many of his department's cases in the federal courts and launched an antitrust investigation of the Aluminum Company of America, controlled by the family of Andrew Mellon, who was Coolidge's Secretary of the Treasury.

                In the 1924 presidential election, Stone campaigned for Coolidge's reelection. He especially opposed the Progressive Party's candidate, Robert M. LaFollette, who had proposed that Congress be empowered to reenact any law that the Supreme Court had declared unconstitutional. Stone found this idea threatening to the integrity of the judiciary as well as the separation of powers.

                Shortly after the election, Justice Joseph McKenna resigned from the Supreme Court, and on January 5, 1925, Coolidge nominated Stone to replace him. His nomination was greeted with general approval, although there were rumors that Stone might have been kicked upstairs because of his antitrust activities. On March 2, Stone took the oath as Associate Justice administered by Chief Justice William Howard Taft and would become Coolidge's only Supreme Court appointment.

Stone and Truman.jpg                The Supreme Court of the mid1920s was primarily concerned with the relationships of business and government. A majority of the justices led by Taft were staunch defenders of business and capitalism from most government regulation. The Court utilized the doctrines of substantive due process and the new fundamental right of "liberty of contract" to oversee attempts at regulation by the national and state governments. Critics of the Court charged that the judiciary had usurped legislative authority and had embodied a particular economic theory, laissez faire, into its decisions. Despite the fears of progressives, Stone quickly joined the Court's "liberal faction," frequently dissenting with Justices Holmes and Brandeis and later, Cardozo when he took Holmes' seat, from the majority's narrow view of the police powers of the state. The "liberal" justices called for judicial restraint, deference to the legislative will. During the 1932–1937 Supreme Court terms, Stone and his colleagues Justices Brandeis and Cardozo were considered the “Three Musketeers” of the Supreme Court, its liberal faction (They were opposed by the Four Horsemen, consisting of Justices James Clark McReynolds, George Sutherland, Willis Van Devanter and Pierce Butler with Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes and Justice Owen J. Roberts controlling the balance). The three were highly supportive of President Roosevelt's New Deal programs, which many other Supreme Court Justices opposed.

                Stone's support of the New Deal brought him Roosevelt's favor, and on June 12, 1941, the President elevated him to Chief Justice, a position vacated by Charles Evans Hughes. As Chief Justice, Stone spoke for the Court in upholding the President's power to try Nazi saboteurs captured on American soil by military tribunals in Ex parte Quirin. He described the Nuremberg court as "a fraud" to Germans, even though his colleague and successor as Associate Justice, Robert H. Jackson, served as the chief U.S. prosecutor. He was the fourth Chief Justice to have previously served as an Associate Justice and the second to have served in both positions consecutively. To date, Justice Stone is the only justice to have occupied all nine seniority positions on the bench, having moved from most junior Associate Justice to most senior Associate Justice and then to Chief Justice. He swore in Roosevelt during his fourth term as president and Harry Truman after Roosevelt’s sudden death (photo at left). Stone also made the cover of Time Magazine.

                Stone was suddenly stricken while in an open session of the Supreme Court. He had just (or by some accounts not quite) finished reading aloud his dissent in Girouard v. United States. Justice Hugo Black called the Court into a brief recess, and physicians were called. Stone died of a cerebral hemorrhage on April 22, 1946, at his Washington D.C. home at age 73. His term as Chief Justice is the second shortest at only 1,754 days. Stone is buried at Rock Creek Cemetery with three other justices: Willis Van Devanter, John Marshall Harlan and Stephen Johnson Field. After his death, Truman nominated Fred M. Vinson to become Chief Justice.





Earl Warren
14th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
Served: October 5, 1953 – June 23, 1969 

Born: March 19, 1891 in Los Angeles, California 
Died: July 9, 1974 in Washington, D.C. 
Buried: Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia


Warren.jpg                I found a number of Chief Justices buried in Arlington National Cemetery, however Warren was with the others so I had to make a special trip to find him. Debbie and I took a trip to Washington D.C. in July of 2013. On the morning of July 27, we visited Arlington Cemetery. It was a long walk - Burger is in section 21 just beyond the amphitheater. He became my 9th dead Chief Justice.

                Earl Warren was born in Los Angeles to Norwegian and Swedish parents, Methias and Crystal Warren. His father was a railroad employee who was murdered during a robbery. He grew up in Bakersfield where he graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1912. He joined a law firm in Oakland. After the United States entered World War I, Warren joined the army where he rose to the rank of First Lieutenant. After the war, Warren made friends with powerful Republicans in California. In 1925, Warren was appointed as the District Attorney of Alameda County where he served for 14 years. He was a tough-on-crime District Attorney who cracked down on bootlegging. The same year he became a District Attorney, he married Swedish-born widow Nina Elisabeth Palmquist Meyers and they had six children. 

                 In 1938, Warren was elected the Attorney General of California. As Attorney General, Warren is most remembered for being the moving force behind Japanese internment during the war: the compulsory removal of people of Japanese descent to inland internment camps out of fear that they might sabotage military bases on the coast. He later regretted the action.

                 Running as a Republican, Warren was elected Governor of California on November 3, 1942, defeating incumbent Culbert Olson, a liberal Democrat. Nominated as a candidate by both the Republican and Democratic parties, the only California governor to have done so, he was re-elected with over 90% of the vote against minor candidates. He was elected to a third term (as a Republican) in 1950 becoming the first person elected governor of California three times. Warren is the only person who has been sent to office in three consecutive California gubernatorial elections. 

Warren_grave.JPG                As governor, Warren modernized the office of governor, and state government generally. Like most progressives, Warren believed in efficiency and planning. During World War II, he aggressively pursued postwar economic planning. Fearing another postwar decline that would rival the depression years, Warren initiated public works projects similar to those of the New Deal to capitalize on wartime tax surpluses and provide jobs for returning veterans. He also built up the state's higher education system based on the University of California and its vast network of small universities and community colleges.

                In 1948, he was nominated as vice president on the Republican ticket with Thomas Dewey. They lost the general election to Harry S. Truman. 

               In 1952, Warren stood as a "favorite son" candidate of California for the Republican nomination for President, hoping to be a power broker in a convention that might be deadlocked. But Warren had to head off a revolt by Senator Richard Nixon, who supported General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Eisenhower and Nixon were elected, and the bad blood between Warren and Nixon was apparent. Eisenhower offered, and Warren accepted, the post of solicitor general, with the promise of a seat on the Supreme Court. But before it was announced, Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson died suddenly in September 1953 and Eisenhower picked Warren to replace him as Chief Justice of the United States.

                Eisenhower wanted what he felt was an experienced jurist who could appeal to liberals in the party as well as law-and-order conservatives, noting privately that Warren "represents the kind of political, economic, and social thinking that I believe we need on the Supreme Court.... He has a national name for integrity, uprightness, and courage that, again, I believe we need on the Court". In the next few years, Warren led the Court in a series of liberal decisions that revolutionized the role of the Court. Warren was the last Supreme Court justice to have served as a state governor.

                As Chief Justice, Warren swore in President Dwight D Eisenhower in his second inauguration in 1957 and his successor John F Kennedy in 1961. However, Warren did not swear in Kennedy's successor Lyndon B Johnson when he first became President, because Warren was not immediately available at the time of Kennedy's assassination in Dallas on November 22, 1963. Warren would eventually swear in Johnson at his inauguration in 1965 and his one-time rival Nixon in 1969.

                 Burger was, by all accounts, a very competent administrator who made the Court's work more efficient. He was also a tireless promoter of judicial reform, including promoting a national court of appeals and working to increase the competence of lawyers trying cases in federal court. Despite his lack of judicial experience, his years in the Alameda County district attorney's office and as state attorney general gave him far more knowledge of the law in practice than most other members of the Court had. Warren's greatest asset, what made him in the eyes of many of his admirers "Super Chief," was his political skill in manipulating the other justices.

Warren swearing in Kennedy.jpg                 All the justices had been appointed by Franklin D. Roosevelt or Truman, and all were committed New Deal liberals. They disagreed about the role that the courts should play in achieving liberal goals. The Court was split between two warring factions. Felix Frankfurter and Robert H. Jackson led one faction, which insisted upon judicial self-restraint and insisted courts should defer to the policymaking prerogatives of the White House and Congress. Hugo Black and William O. Douglas led the opposing faction; they agreed the court should defer to Congress in matters of economic policy, but felt the judicial agenda had been transformed from questions of property rights to those of individual liberties, and in this area, courts should play a more activist role. Warren's belief that the judiciary must seek to do justice placed him with the activists, although he did not have a solid majority until after Frankfurter's retirement in 1962. Warren was a more liberal justice than anyone had anticipated. Warren was able to craft a long series of landmark decisions because he built a winning coalition. When Frankfurter retired and President Kennedy named labor lawyer Arthur Goldberg to replace him, Warren finally had the fifth liberal vote for his majority. William J. Brennan, Jr., a liberal Democrat appointed by Eisenhower in 1956, was the intellectual leader of the activist faction that included Black and Douglas.


               Warren’s court handled Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 which banned the segregation of public schools. The NAACP had been waging a systematic legal fight against the "separate but equal" doctrine enunciated in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) and finally had challenged Plessy. While all but one justice personally rejected segregation, the self-restraint faction questioned whether the Constitution gave the Court the power to order its end, especially since the Court, in several cases decided after Plessy, had upheld the doctrine of "separate but equal" as constitutional. Warren believed racial segregation violated the Constitution and that only if one considered African Americans inferior to whites could the practice be upheld. Warren managed to get all of the justices to agree with the decision. The unanimity Warren achieved helped speed the drive to desegregate public schools, which mostly came about under President Richard Nixon. Throughout his years as Chief, Warren succeeded in keeping all decisions concerning segregation unanimous. Brown applied to schools, but soon the Court enlarged the concept to other state actions, striking down racial classification in many areas. Congress ratified the process in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Brown decision of 1954 marked, in dramatic fashion, the radical shift in the Court's—and the nation's—priorities from issues of property rights to civil liberties. Under Warren the courts became an active partner in governing the nation, although still not coequal. Warren never saw the courts as a backward-looking branch of government.


                In Gideon v. Wainwright (1963) the Court held that the Sixth Amendment required that all indigent criminal defendants receive publicly funded counsel (Florida law, consistent with then-existing Supreme Court precedent reflected in the case of Powell v. Alabama, required the assignment of free counsel to indigent defendants only in capital cases); Miranda v. Arizona (1966) required that certain rights of a person interrogated while in police custody be clearly explained, including the right to an attorney (often called the "Miranda warning").


                After the assassination of John F. Kennedy, President Johnson asked Warren to head a commission to investigate the assassination. Warren really didn’t want to do it but agreed. The Commission concluded that the assassination was the result of a single individual, Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone.


               Warren retired from the Supreme Court in 1969. He was affectionately known by many as the "Superchief", although he became a lightning rod for controversy among conservatives: signs declaring "Impeach Earl Warren" could be seen around the country throughout the 1960s.


                Five years after his retirement, Warren died in Washington, D.C. His funeral was held at Washington National Cathedral and he was buried in Arlington National Cemetery (Section 21, Lot S-32) with his wife Elvera who had died the year before. President Richard Nixon nominated Warren Earl Burger to be Chief Justice to replace Warren.

Here are some webpages of interest:

Warren E. Burger Library




Warren Earl Burger
15th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
Served: June 23, 1969 to September 26, 1986 

Born: September 17, 1907 in St. Paul, Minnesota 
Died: June 25, 1995 in Alexandria, Virginia 
Buried: Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia


Burger.jpg                Since Burger is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, he was easy to find. I took the picture before I had any idea that I was going to make a site like this. I took the picture back in 1996, when we took the hockey team to Washington D.C. during Christmas break to play in a tournament, making him my 2nd  Dead Chief Justice. During our trip, Cory Robinson, our team manager Nick Winkle and I took a tour of Arlington allowing me to get these pictures. Burger is easy to find since he is in a section (Section 5 - near the John F. Kennedy gravesite) that has a number of Justices of the Supreme Court buried. Also in Section 5 are Chief Justice Warren Earl Burger, Associate Justices Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennen Jr., William Douglas, Potter Stewart, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. and Thurgood Marshall. Other Justices in Arlington are Arthur Goldberg (Sec. 21), Hugo Black (Sec. 30)  and the future site for current Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist (who has since passed away). I wasn't looking for Dead Chief Justices at the time so Burger inadvertently became my second one. In 2010, Debbie and I were in Washington D.C., so we took a trip over to Arlington to get a better picture of Burger’s grave (which I included here.)

                Warren Earl Burger was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, one of seven children. His parents, Katharine Schnittger and Charles Joseph Burger, a traveling salesman and railroad cargo inspector, were of Swiss German descent. His grandfather, Joseph Burger, had emigrated from Switzerland and joined the Union Army when he was 14. Joseph Burger fought and was wounded in the Civil War, and was awarded the Medal of Honor. Burger grew up on the family farm near the edge of Saint Paul. He attended John A. Johnson High School, graduating in 1925. While there he was president of the student council and competed in hockey, football, track and swimming. While in high school, he wrote articles on high school sports for local newspapers. In 1933, he married Elvera Stromberg and they had two children; Wade and Margaret.

               Burger earned his degrees from the University of Minnesota and the St. Paul College of Law at night, working days by working as an insurance salesman to support himself. In private practice in the Twin Cities, he also taught law and became involved in electoral politics floor-managing the 1948 and 1952 presidential bids of Harold Stassen at the Republican National Conventions. Burger came to Washington to serve as Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department and was named by President Dwight Eisenhower to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 1955. 

Burger_grave.jpg                In May 1968, lame duck President Lyndon Baines Johnson nominated Associate Justice Abe Fortas to the position of Chief Justice, replacing Earl Warren who was retiring after 15 years on the Court. Fortas's nomination was blocked by a Senate filibuster, and the newly elected President, Republican Richard Nixon, fulfilled a campaign promise to appoint Supreme Court Justices who were "strict constructionists" of the Constitution by nominating Burger. Nixon was impressed with Burger’s conservative views and for being a critic of Chief Justice Warren. When Burger was nominated, conservatives in the Nixon Administration expected that the Burger Court would rule markedly differently from the Warren Court and might, in fact, overturn controversial Warren Court era precedents. By the early 1970s, however, it became apparent that the Burger Court was not going to reverse the rulings of the Warren Court and in fact might extend some Warren Court doctrines. 

                Burger sought to improve the administration of justice in the United States as much through reform of administrative procedures and court management and efficiency as through the more than 250 decisions he authored and the votes he cast and the cases he had brought before the court. However, Burger was not a leader within the Court. During his tenure as Chief Justice, somewhere around 20% of decided cases were by a bare (usually 5-4) majority.

Burger_Nixon.jpg                There were a number of landmark cases decided by the Burger Court. The most famous and controversial was 1973s, Roe v. Wade (making abortions legal). He voted with the majority to recognize a broad right to privacy that prohibited states from banning abortions.

               The Court issued a unanimous ruling in Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education (1971) supporting busing to reduce de facto racial segregation in schools. In Lemon v. Kurtzman they ruled that state aid to church-related schools was unconstitutional (1971). In 1972, in Furman v. Georgia, the court, in a 5–4 decision, invalidated all death penalty laws then in force, although Burger dissented from the decision. In Miller v. California (1973), Berger joined the majority in a 5-4 decision to define obscenity as lacking "serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value”.  In Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1974) 1974 (affirmative action).

                Burger was opposed to gay rights as he wrote a famous concurring opinion in the Court's 1986 decision upholding a Georgia law criminalizing sodomy (Bowers v. Hardwick), in which Burger purported to marshal historical evidence that laws criminalizing homosexuality had historical and ancient precedence.

                Burger is perhaps best known for authoring the unanimous opinion in 1974 that required Nixon to surrender White House tape recordings and papers that had been subpoenaed for use in Watergate cover-up trials in United States v. Nixon. This was Nixon's attempt to keep several memos and tapes relating to Watergate private by invoking executive privilege. Burger was originally to vote in favor of Nixon, but tactically changed his vote in order to assign the opinion to himself, and to restrain the opinion's rhetoric.

                As Chief Justice, Burger swore in four presidents; Nixon (second term), Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan (first term). He served 17 years in office before resigning from the Supreme Court to accept an appointment as the unpaid chairman of the Commission on the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution, through which he championed the rule of law as it developed under the Magna Carta, the American Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

                Burger was, by all accounts, a very competent administrator who made the Court's work more efficient. He was also a tireless promoter of judicial reform, including promoting a national court of appeals and working to increase the competence of lawyers trying cases in federal court. 

                After his death, Burger was buried in Arlington National Cemetery (Section 5, Lot 7015-2, Grid W-36) with his wife Elvera who had died the year before. President Ronald Reagan elevated Associate Justice William H. Rehnquist to be Chief Justice to replace Burger.

Here are some webpages of interest:

Warren E. Burger Library




William H. Rehnquist
16th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
Served: September 26, 1986 to September 3, 2005 

Born: October 1, 1924 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin 
Died: September 3, 2005 in Arlington, Virginia 
Buried: Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia


Rehnquist.jpg                Many Supreme Court justices are buried in Arlington National Cemetery, so they are easy to find. I have taken a number of pictures here back in 1996, when we took the hockey team to Washington D.C. during Christmas break to play in a tournament. What makes it even easier, most of them are in the same section - Section 5 (near the John F. Kennedy gravesite). Also in Section 5 are Chief Justice Warren Earl Burger, Associate Justices Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennen Jr., William Douglas, Potter Stewart, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. and Thurgood Marshall. Other Justices in Arlington and Arthur Goldberg (Sec. 21), Hugo Black (Sec. 30). When we were here in 1996, Rehnquist was still alive and well and serving as Chief Justices. After his passing in 2005, Debbie and I had to return. This we did on August 31, 2010, to get Chief Justice Rehnquist making him the 8th Chief Justice on the list.

                William Donald Rehnquist was born the son of William and Margery Rehnquist. His father was the son of Swedish immigrants. His middle name was later changed to Hubbs because H was a considered a better middle initial than D. After spending a year in Kenyon College, in Gambier, Ohio, he joined the Army Air Force during World War II. He spent three years in the military remaining stateside and not seeing combat. He was discharged in 1946 with the rank of sergeant. He married Natalie Cornell and had three children; James, Janet and Nancy.   

                After the war ended, Rehnquist attended Stanford University under the G.I. Bill. In 1948, he received a master’s degree in political science. In 1950, he attended Harvard University, where he received another masters, this time in government. He later graduated from the Stanford Law School in the same class as Sandra Day O'Connor whom he briefly dated.

                In 1952, Rehnquist went to Washington, D.C. to work as a law clerk for Justice Robert H. Jackson. There, he wrote a memorandum arguing against federal court-ordered school desegregation while the court was considering the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education, which was later decided in 1954. Rehnquist's 1952 memo, entitled "A Random Thought on the Segregation Cases", defended the "separate-but-equal" doctrine as well as Plessy v. Ferguson. He changed his opinion later during confirmation hearings.

Rehnquist_grave.jpg               The following year, Rehnquist moved to Phoenix, Arizona, where he was in private law practice to 1969. While in Phoenix, he became a Republican Party official and achieved prominence in the Phoenix area as a strong opponent of liberal initiatives such as school integration. Rehnquist campaigned for Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater during the 1964 elections. Rehnquist married Natalie Cornell, whom he had met during his law school years. They would have three children; James, Janet and Nancy. 

               When Richard Nixon was elected president in 1968, Rehnquist returned to work in Washington D.C. He served as Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Legal Counsel, from 1969 to 1971. In this role, he served as the chief lawyer to Attorney General John Mitchell.

                Nixon nominated Rehnquist to replace John Marshall Harlan II on the Supreme Court upon Harlan's retirement, and after being confirmed by the Senate by a 68–26 vote on December 10, 1971, Rehnquist took his seat as an Associate Justice on January 7, 1972 (there is a photo of him being sworn in below.) On the Burger Court, Rehnquist promptly established himself as the most conservative of Nixon's appointees, taking a narrow view of the 14th Amendment and a broad view of state power. It was said that Rehnquist almost always voted “with the prosecution in criminal cases, with business in antitrust cases, with employers in labor cases and with the government in speech cases.” One of his first major rulings was Roe v. Wade, in which he was one of only two justices who broke with the majority in the controversial case that upheld abortion rights. Besides abortion, he also defended school prayer, opposed affirmative action and supported capital punishment. Although Rehnquist was often a lone dissenter in cases early on, his views would later often become the majority view of the Court.

                When Chief Justice Warren Burger retired in 1986, President Ronald Reagan nominated Rehnquist to fill the position. Although Rehnquist was to the right of Burger, “his colleagues were unanimously pleased and supportive," even his "ideological opposites.” The nomination “was met with 'genuine enthusiasm on the part of not only his colleagues on the Court but others who served the Court in a staff capacity and some of the relatively lowly paid individuals at the Court. There was almost a unanimous feeling of joy.'” Justice Thurgood Marshall would later call him “a great Chief Justice.” The Senate confirmed his appointment by a 65–33 vote, and he assumed the office on September 26. Rehnquist's seat as an associate justice was filled by Justice Antonin Scalia.

                As Chief Justice, he won over his fellow justices with his easygoing, humorous and unpretentious personality. He was known for being fair to all of the justices by allowing everyone’s opinion to be heard. Though a conservative, he tended to be more pragmatic than the more conservative members of the Court. He dramatically reduced the court’s caseload and improved its efficiency.

                Rehnquist also led the Court toward a more limited view of Congressional power under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. In 1995, he wrote for a 5-to-4 majority in United States v. Lopez, striking down a federal law as exceeding congressional power under the Clause. This was the first time since the 1930s, which the Court struck down an Act of Congress as exceeding its power under the Commerce Clause.

                In 1999, Rehnquist became the second Chief Justice (after Salmon P. Chase) to preside over a presidential impeachment trial, during the proceedings against President Bill Clinton. In 2000, Rehnquist wrote a concurring opinion in Bush v. Gore, the case that effectively ended the presidential election controversy in Florida. He concurred with four other justices in that case that the Equal Protection Clause barred a "standardless" manual recount of the votes as ordered by the Florida Supreme Court.

Rehnquist3.jpg               Although many conservatives had hoped that Rehnquist would lead the court in a reversal of Roe v. Wade (1973), the ruling that established the legal right to abortion, the decision of three Republican appointees in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey (1992) permitted greater legal restrictions on abortion but also reaffirmed the right found in Roe.

              On a purely stylish note, Rehnquist added four yellow stripes to the sleeves of his robe. He was a lifelong fan of Gilbert and Sullivan operas, and after appreciating the Lord Chancellor's costume in a community theater production of Iolanthe he thereafter appeared in court with the same striped sleeves (the Lord Chancellor was traditionally the senior member of the British judiciary.) His successor, Chief Justice John Roberts, chose not to continue the practice.

                As Chief Justice Rehnquist swore in four presidents; Reagan (second term), George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton (twice) and George W. Bush (twice).

                In 2004, Rehnquist was diagnosed with anaplastic thyroid cancer. Though his physical condition declined, he continued in his role as chief justice. He administered the oath of office to President George W. Bush at his second inauguration in January of 2005. Rehnquist died at his Arlington, Virginia, home on September 3, 2005, just four weeks before his 81st birthday. Rehnquist was the first member of the Supreme Court to die in office since Justice Robert H. Jackson in 1954, and the first Chief Justice to die in office since Fred M. Vinson, in 1953. Rehnquist's body remained in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court (his casket was placed on the same catafalque that bore Abraham Lincoln's casket as he lay in state in 1865) until his funeral on September 7, 2005, a Lutheran service conducted at the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, D.C. Rehnquist was eulogized by President Bush and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. The Rehnquist funeral was the largest gathering of political dignitaries at the cathedral since the funeral of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. Rehnquist's funeral was followed by a private burial service, in which he was interred next to his wife, Nan, at Arlington National Cemetery. President Bush nominated John Roberts to be Chief Justice to replace Rehnquist.

                Rehnquist served as Chief Justice for nearly 19 years, making him the fourth-longest-serving Chief Justice after John Marshall, Roger Taney and Melville Fuller, and the longest-serving Chief Justice who had previously served as an Associate Justice. The last 11 years of Rehnquist's term as Chief Justice (1994–2005) marked the second-longest tenure of a single unchanging roster of the Supreme Court, exceeded only between February 1812 and September 1823.

Here are some webpages of interest:

The University of Arizona: Rehnquist Center



Dead Chief Justices Count

Have                   Need

11         5


Links to other Supreme Court sites:

Supreme Court of the United States (official site)

The Supreme Court Historical Society

Find-A-Grave site for US Supreme Court Justices

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