Earl Warren

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Liberty, not communism, is the most contagious force in the world.

Earl Warren (19 March 18919 July 1974) was the 30th Governor of California (1943–1953) and 14th Chief Justice of the United States (1953–1969).

Quotes[edit]

I am unalterably opposed to any species of vigilantes or to any other extra-legal means of a majority exercising its will over a minority.
It was not in keeping with our American concept of freedom and the rights of citizens.
Many people consider the things government does for them to be social progress but they regard the things government does for others as socialism.
We conclude that, in the field of public education, the doctrine of "separate but equal" has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.
The man of character, sensitive to the meaning of what he is doing, will know how to discover the ethical paths in the maze of possible behavior.
He has the right to remain silent, that anything he says can be used against him in a court of law, that he has the right to the presence of an attorney
Perhaps the most tragic paradox of our time is to be found in the failure of nation-states to recognize the imperatives of internationalism.
  • I believe the preservation of our civil liberties to be the most fundamental and important of all our governmental problems, because it always has been with us and always will be with us and if we ever permit those liberties to be destroyed, there will be nothing left in our system worthy of preservation. They constitute the soul of democracy. I believe that there is grave danger in this country of losing our civil liberties as they have been lost in other countries. There are things transpiring in this country today that are definitely menacing our future; among which are the activities of Mayor Hague and other little Hagues throughout the country. These activities are so basically wrong and so menacing to our institutions that every citizen and particularly every public official should oppose them to the limit of their strength.
    • Views on civil rights declared in a written statement requested by Robert W. Kenny, read during fund raising luncheon at the Biltmore Hotel, in Los Angeles, in the summer of 1938, quoted in Lawyers Guild Review Vol. 13-14 (1953), p. 47; he mentions Frank Hague, who had declared earlier in the year:
We hear about constitutional rights, free speech and the free press. Every time I hear these words I say to myself, "That man is a Red, that man is a Communist." You never hear a real American talk like that.
  • I am unalterably opposed to any species of vigilantes or to any other extra-legal means of a majority exercising its will over a minority ... I believe that if majorities are entitled to have their civil rights protected they should be willing to fight for the same rights to minorities no matter how violently they disagree with their views. Further, I am convinced that this is the only way they can be preserved.
    I believe that the American concept of civil rights should include not only an observance of our Constitutional Bill of Rights, but also absence of arbitrary action by government in every field.
    • Views on civil rights declared in the summer of 1938, quoted in Justice for All : Earl Warren and the Nation He Made (2006) by Jim Newton, p. 95
  • The only reason that there has been no sabotage or espionage on the part of Japanese-Americans is that they are waiting for the right moment to strike.
    • Testimony on Internment of people of Japanese Ancestry before the House Select Committee Investigating National Defense Migration (Tolan Committee) in 1941; of this statement Warren later said, in The Memoirs of Earl Warren (1977):
l have since deeply regretted the removal order and my own testimony advocating it, because it was not in keeping with our American concept of freedom and the rights of citizens. Whenever I thought of the innocent little children who were torn from home, school friends, and congenial surroundings, I was conscience-stricken. It was wrong to react so impulsively, without positive evidence of disloyalty, even though we felt we had a good motive in the security of our state. It demonstrates the cruelty of war when fear, get–tough military psychology, propaganda, and racial antagonism combine with one's responsibility for public security to produce such acts. I have always believed that I had no prejudice against the Japanese as such except that spawned by Pearl Harbor and its aftermath.
  • If it is a mistake of the head and not the heart don't worry about it, that's the way we learn.
    • As quoted in Earl Warren : A Great American Story (1948) by Irving Stone, p. 64
  • Many people consider the things government does for them to be social progress but they regard the things government does for others as socialism.
    • Address to National Press Club in Washington DC, as quoted in Freedom and Union (April 1952)
    • Variants:
    • Most people consider the things which government does for them to be social progress, but they consider the things government does for others as socialism.
      • As quoted in Politics and Policies : The Continuing Issues (1970) by Duane W. Hill, p. 170
    • Many people consider the things which government does for them to be social progress, but they consider the things government does for others as socialism.
      • As quoted in Encarta Book of Quotations (2000) edited by Bill Swainson, p. 969
  • You sit up there, and you see the whole gamut of human nature. Even if the case being argued involves only a little fellow and $50, it involves justice. That's what is important.
    • Interview in 1953 after being appointed to the Supreme Court, as quote in Earl Warren : A Political Biography (1967) by Leo Katcher, p. 315
  • Liberty, not communism, is the most contagious force in the world.
    • Speech at Columbia University (14 January 1954)
  • We conclude that, in the field of public education, the doctrine of "separate but equal" has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.
  • In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity, where the State has undertaken to provide it, is a right that must be made available to all on equal terms.
  • The abhorrence of society to the use of involuntary confessions does not turn alone on their inherent untrustworthiness. It also turns on the deep-rooted feeling that the police must obey the law while enforcing the law; that, in the end, life and liberty can be as much endangered from illegal methods used to convict those thought to be criminals as from the actual criminals themselves.
  • To summarize: Americans have one of the greatest legal systems, but not a monopoly of the sense of justice, which is universal; nor have we a permanent copyright on the means of securing justice, for it is the spirit and not the form of law that keeps justice alive.
    • In "The Law and the Future," in The public papers of Chief Justice Earl Warren (1959) edited by Henry M. Christman .
  • The censor's sword pierces deeply into the heart of free expression.
    • Dissent in Times Film Corp. v. City of Chicago 365 U.S. 43 (1961).
  • In civilized life, law floats in a sea of ethics.
    • Speech at the Louis Marshall Award Dinner of the Jewish Theological Seminary, Americana Hotel, New York City (11 November 1962)
  • The man of character, sensitive to the meaning of what he is doing, will know how to discover the ethical paths in the maze of possible behavior.
    • Speech at the Louis Marshall Award Dinner of the Jewish Theological Seminary, Americana Hotel, New York City (11 November 1962)
  • The fantastic advances in the field of electronic communication constitute a greater danger to the privacy of the individual.
  • Legislators represent people, not trees or acres. Legislators are elected by voters, not farms or cities or economic interests.
  • Prior to any questioning, the person must be warned that he has a right to remain silent, that any statement he does make may be used as evidence against him, and that he has a right to the presence of an attorney, either retained or appointed. The defendant may waive effectuation of these rights, provided the waiver is made voluntarily, knowingly and intelligently. If, however, he indicates in any manner and at any stage of the process that he wishes to consult with an attorney before speaking there can be no questioning. Likewise, if the individual is alone and indicates in any manner that he does not wish to be interrogated, the police may not question him. The mere fact that he may have answered some questions or volunteered some statements on his own does not deprive him of the right of refrain from answering any further inquiries until he has consulted with an attorney and thereafter consents to be questioned.
  • To summarize, we hold that, when an individual is taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom by the authorities in any significant way and is subjected to questioning, the privilege against self-incrimination is jeopardized. Procedural safeguards must be employed to protect the privilege, and unless other fully effective means are adopted to notify the person of his right of silence and to assure that the exercise of the right will be scrupulously honored, the following measures are required. He must be warned prior to any questioning that he has the right to remain silent, that anything he says can be used against him in a court of law, that he has the right to the presence of an attorney, and that, if he cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed for him prior to any questioning if he so desires.
  • This concept of "national defense" cannot be deemed an end in itself, justifying any exercise of legislative power designed to promote such a goal. Implicit in the term "national defense" is the notion of defending those values and ideals which set this Nation apart. For almost two centuries, our country has taken singular pride in the democratic ideals enshrined in its Constitution, and the most cherished of those ideals have found expression in the First Amendment. It would indeed be ironic if, in the name of national defense, we would sanction the subversion of one of those liberties — the freedom of association — which make the defense of our nation worthwhile.
  • I always turn to the sports section first. The sports section records people's accomplishments; the front page nothing but man's failures.
    • As quoted in Sports Illustrated (22 July 1968)
    • Variants:
    • I always turn to the sports page first, which records people's accomplishments. The front page has nothing but man's failures.
      • As quoted in Best Sports Stories : 1975 (1976) by Irving T. Marsh
    • I always turn to the sports pages first, which records people's accomplishments. The front page has nothing but man's failures.
  • A society, in the process of moving forward, often appears to be tearing itself apart. Certainly, an age of rapid change, such as ours, produces many paradoxes. But perhaps the most tragic paradox of our time is to be found in the failure of nation-states to recognize the imperatives of internationalism.
    • Writing in Saturday Review (23 October 1971), p. 16
  • If Nixon is not forced to turn over tapes of his conversations with the ring of men who were conversing on their violations of the law, then liberty will soon be dead in this nation. If Nixon gets away with that, then Nixon makes the law as he goes along — not the Congress nor the courts. The old Court you and I served so long will not be worthy of its traditions if Nixon can twist, turn and fashion the law as he sees fit.
    • Speaking to William O. Douglas on the afternoon of the day he died (9 July 1974) as quoted in The Court Years, 1939-1975 : The Autobiography of William O. Douglas (1980), p. 514
  • I'm very pleased with each advancing year. It stems back to when I was forty. I was a bit upset about reaching that milestone, but an older friend consoled me. "Don't complain about growing old — many, many people do not have that privilege."
    • Statement on celebrating his 83rd birthday (March 1974), as quoted in The Reader's Digest (1980) Vol. 116, p. 43
  • We may not know the whole story in our lifetime.
    • On the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, quoted in Minute by Minute (1985)
  • I hate banks. They do nothing positive for anybody except take care of themselves. They're first in with their fees and first out when there's trouble.
    • As quoted in The Book of Business Quotations (1991) by Eugene Weber, p. 20
  • Everything I did in my life that was worthwhile, I caught hell for.
    • As quoted in Do It : Let's Get Off Our Buts (1992) by Peter John Roger McWilliams

Quotes about Warren[edit]

Warren is considered a dangerous and subversive character.
  • He 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.
  • The biggest damned-fool mistake I ever made.
    • President Dwight D. Eisenhower on his appointment of Warren to Chief Justice, as quoted in Ebony magazine (May 1977), p. 136
  • Marge: Do you want your son to become Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, or a sleazy male stripper?
Homer: Can't he be both, like the late Earl Warren?
Marge: Earl Warren wasn't a stripper!
Homer: Now who's being naïve?!
  • Warren is considered a dangerous and subversive character. He is an apparent sympathizer with the Communist Party and has rendered numerous decisions favorable to it. ... Warren is a rabid agitator for compulsory racial mongrelization and has handed down various decisions compelling whites to mix with negroes in the schools, in public housing, in restaurants and in public bathing facilities. He is known to work closely with the N.A.A.C.P. and favors the use of force and coercion to compel white school children to mingle intimately with negroes.
    • "Description" in an anonymous "WANTED : for Impeachment" poster (1958)
  • Warren has been accused of giving aid and comfort to the Communist Party on frequent occassions. He is guilty of promoting and inciting riot, disorder and anarchy in Little Rock and elsewhere in the south through his attempts to impose judicial tyranny on white southerners. He has illegally transformed the Supreme Court into a Soviet-type Politburo with power over the congress and various state governments.
    • "Criminal record" in an anonymous "WANTED : for Impeachment" poster (1958)

External links[edit]

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