Burger, Warren E(arl)


Burger, Warren E(arl)

biographical name

(born Sept. 17, 1907, St. Paul, Minn., U.S.—died June 25, 1995, Washington, D.C.) U.S. jurist. He graduated with honours from St. Paul (now William Mitchell) College of Law in 1931, after which he joined a prominent law firm and became active in the Republican Party. He was appointed an assistant U.S. attorney general (1953) and named to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (1955), where his conservative approach commended him to Pres. Richard Nixon, who nominated him for chief justice of the Supreme Court of the United States in 1969. Contrary to the expectations of some, he did not try to reverse the liberal decisions on civil-rights issues and criminal law made during the tenure of his predecessor, Earl Warren. Under his leadership, the court upheld the 1966 Miranda v. Arizona decision, permitted busing as a means of ending racial segregation in public schools, and endorsed the use of racial quotas in the awarding of federal grants and contracts. Burger voted with the majority in Roe v. Wade (1973). Keenly interested in judicial administration, he became deeply involved in efforts to improve the judiciary's efficiency. He retired in 1986 and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1988.

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