History

Warren sworn in as U.S. chief justice

Earl Warren, swearing to “do equally right to the poor and the rich,” became 14th chief justice of the United States on Oct. 5, 1953.
Earl Warren, swearing to “do equally right to the poor and the rich,” became 14th chief justice of the United States on Oct. 5, 1953. Courtesy of Bob Warren

Oct. 5, 1953: Earl Warren, swearing to “do equally right to the poor and the rich,” became fourteenth chief justice of the United States today and then presided over the opening session of the supreme court’s 1953-54 term.

The former governor of California took the oak in the marble pillared chambers of the Supreme Court. President and Mrs. Eisenhower and Mrs. Warren were among those present.

Warren, who was summoned to the nation’s highest judicial post by Eisenhower, succeeds the late Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson who died of a heart attack September 8th.

The president and Mrs. Eisenhower arrived for the colorful ceremony four minutes before the court formally went into session at noon. They left at 12:08 p.m. after Warren took his second oath as chief justice.

Warren took the first oath – in the privacy of the courts conference room. In that ceremony he swore to uphold the Constitution. Only members of the court were present.

The second oath, in which Warren swore to administer justice “without respect to persons and do equal right to the poor and the rich,” was administered in the courtroom by Court Clerk Harold D. Willey.

Warren gravely and quietly took over as chief justice at a time when the tribunal is confronted with some of the most historic decisions in its history.

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