This day in history. Earl Warren’s leadership Brown Vs Board of Education

From the Grand Old Partisan

May 17, 2008

Chief Justice Earl Warren, a Republican, wrote the Brown v. Board of Education decision

GOP’s heritage of civil rights achievement.

On this day in 1954, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that racial segregation in public schools is unconstitutional. The author of the decision in Brown v. Board of Education, Chief Justice Earl Warren, was a life-long Republican, appointed to the bench by a Republican President, Dwight Eisenhower.

Warren entered politics in 1939 when he was elected, as a Republican, Attorney General of California. Three years later, he was elected Governor. At the 1944 Republican National Convention, he delivered the keynote address and criticized the Democrats repeatedly. In 1948, Earl Warren was the Republican vice presidential nominee. After election to the presidency, Dwight Eisenhower promised him an appointment to the first vacancy on the Supreme Court. When Chief Justice Vinson died in the fall of 1953, Warren got the nod to succeed him as Chief Justice. Instrumental in the appointment was Warren’s old friend, Attorney General Herbert Brownell, a former chairman of the RNC.

In December 1952, the Supreme Court had first heard arguments on the challenge to the Topeka, Kansas public school racial segregation policy. In June 1953, the Court ordered the case reargued that fall to consider whether the 14th Amendment (written and passed by Republicans nearly a century before) had been intended to end segregation in public schools.

The federal government was not a party to the case, but Attorney General Brownell filed a brief in favor of overturning the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision that sanctioned “separate but equal.” Arguing in favor of Linda Brown was Thurgood Marshall, director of the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund, who a decade earlier had convinced the Supreme Court to strike down the Democratic Party’s all-white primary in Texas. On the other side, the chief lawyer for the segregationists was John Davis, the 1924 Democrat presidential nominee.

The very next day, President Eisenhower ordered the District of Columbia to desegregate its public schools immediately, even before a specific court order to do so. The following year, Eisenhower personally rewrote the federal government’s brief for the second Brown case to argue that the Supreme Court should order immediate nationwide desegregation of public schools. Lamentably, the Court instead opted for “all deliberate speed” on the part of individual federal judges.

Gilbert comment. You can take it to the bank that you will not find this bit of Republican trivia on CNBC or CNN today.


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