Information

Earl Warren


Earl Warren, the son of an Norwegian immigrant who worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad, was born in Los Angeles, California, in 1891.

Warren obtained a law degree from the University of California in 1912. He worked as a lawyer in California before being elected as district attorney of Alameda County in 1925.

In November 1938 Culbert Olsen was elected as Governor of California, the first member of the Democratic Party, to hold this office for forty-four years. The following year, Warren, a member of the Republican Party, was appointed California's attorney general.

One of Olsen's first acts was to pardon Tom Mooney, a trade union leader who had been convicted of a bombing which occurred in San Francisco in 1916. Although strong evidence existed that the District Attorney of the time, Charles Fickert, had framed Mooney, the Republican governors during this period refused to order his release. In October 1939, Olsen pardoned Warren Billings, a friend of Mooney's who had also been imprisoned for the bombing.

Warren had disagreed with Olsen's actions. As a member of the state Judicial Qualifications Commission, he blocked confirmation of the Olsen's nominee to the state Supreme Court, Max Radin, a man he considered to be too radical for this post.

Warren also upset liberals and supporters of human rights by the role he played in dealing with people of Japanese descent during the Second World War. Most of these people lived in California. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, these people were classified as enemy aliens. Warren, as attorney general, urged that these people should be interned.

On 29th January 1942, the U.S. Attorney General, Francis Biddle, established a number of security areas on the West Coast in California. He also announced that all enemy aliens should be removed from these security areas. Three weeks later President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the construction of relocation camps for Japanese Americans being moved from their homes.

Over the next few months ten permanent camps were constructed to house more than 110,000 Japanese Americans that had been removed from security areas. These people were deprived of their homes, their jobs and their constitutional and legal rights. Warren later confessed: "I 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."

Warren's extreme views on internment was popular with most people in California and this enabled him to defeat Culbert Olsen as governor in 1943. He held the post for the next ten years. He was also selected as running-mate for Thomas Dewey in 1948. However, Dewey was defeated by Harry S. Truman in the election.

Warren hoped to become the Republican Party's candidate in the 1952 presidential election. He lost out to Dwight D. Eisenhower who went on to become president. Warren was rewarded for his loyalty by being appointed by Eisenhower to the post of chief justice of Supreme Court.

Over the next few years Warren made it clear he supported the civil rights campaign and voted for the banning segregation in America's schools. He now became a target of right-wing groups and Robert Welch, the leader of the John Birch Society, described Warren as being a member of a Communist conspiracy. Other white supremacists such as George Wallace and James Eastland joined in these attacks. At one rally in Los Angeles there were calls for Warren to be lynched.

After the death of John F. Kennedy in 1963 his deputy, Lyndon B. Johnson, was appointed president. He immediately set up a commission to "ascertain, evaluate and report upon the facts relating to the assassination of the late President John F. Kennedy." Johnson asked Warren if he would be willing to head the commission. Warren refused but it was later revealled that Johnson blackmailed him into accepting the post. In a telephone conversation with Richard B. Russell Johnson claimed: " Warren told me he wouldn't do it under any circumstances... I called him and ordered him down here and told me no twice and I just pulled out what Hoover told me about a little incident in Mexico City... And he started crying and said, well I won't turn you down... I'll do whatever you say."

Other members of the commission included Gerald Ford, Allen W. Dulles, John J. McCloy, Richard B. Russell, John S. Cooper and Thomas H. Boggs.

The Warren Commission reported to President Johnson ten months later. It reached the following conclusions:

(1) The shots which killed President Kennedy and wounded Governor Connally were fired from the sixth floor window at the southeast corner of the Texas School Book Depository.

(2) The weight of the evidence indicates that there were three shots fired.

(3) Although it is not necessary to any essential findings of the Commission to determine just which shot hit Governor Connally, there is very persuasive evidence from the experts to indicate that the same bullet which pierced the President's throat also caused Governor Connally's wounds. However, Governor Connally's testimony and certain other factors have given rise to some difference of opinion as to this probability but there is no question in the mind of any member of the Commission that all the shots which caused the President's and Governor Connally's wounds were fired from the sixth floor window of the Texas School Book Depository.

(4) The shots which killed President Kennedy and wounded Governor Connally were fired by Lee Harvey Oswald.

(5) Oswald killed Dallas Police Patrolman J. D. Tippit approximately 45 minutes after the assassination.

(6) Within 80 minutes of the assassination and 35 minutes of the Tippit killing Oswald resisted arrest at the theater by attempting to shoot another Dallas police officer.

(7) The Commission has found no evidence that either Lee Harvey Oswald or Jack Ruby was part of any conspiracy, domestic or foreign, to assassinate President Kennedy.

(8) In its entire investigation the Commission has found no evidence of conspiracy, subversion, or disloyalty to the US Government by any Federal, State, or local official.

(9) On the basis of the evidence before the Commission it concludes that, Oswald acted alone.

In 1966 Warren made another landmark decision when he ruled that criminal suspects be informed of their rights before being questioned by the police.

Earl Warren retired from the Supreme Court in 1969, and died in 1974, at age 83.

Richard Russell: I know I don't have to tell you of my devotion to you but I just can't serve on that Commission. I'm highly honoured you'd think about me in connection with it but I couldn't serve on it with Chief Justice Warren. I don't like that man. I don't have any confidence in him at all.

Lyndon B. Johnson: It has already been announced and you can serve with anybody for the good of America and this is a question that has a good many more ramifications than on the surface and we've got to take this out of the arena where they're testifying that Khrushchev and Castro did this and did that and chuck us into a war that can kill 40 million Americans in an hour....

Richard Russell: I still feel it sort of getting wrapped up...

Lyndon B. Johnson: Dick... do you remember when you met me at the Carlton Hotel in 1952? When we had breakfast there one morning.

Richard Russell: Yes I think so.

Lyndon B. Johnson: All right. Do you think I'm kidding you?

Richard Russell: No... I don't think your kidding me, but I think... well, I'm not going to say anymore, Mr. President... I'm at your command... and I'll do anything you want me to do....

Lyndon B. Johnson: Warren told me he wouldn't do it under any circumstances... I called him and ordered him down here and told me no twice and I just pulled out what Hoover told me about a little incident in Mexico City and I say now, I don't want Mr. Khrushchev to be told tomorrow (censored) and be testifying before a camera that he killed this fellow and that Castro killed him... I'll do whatever you say.

He (H. L. Hunt) was shocked because Johnson had appointed Chief Justice Warren to head the Commission three days after the Communist Daily Worker, in a front-page statement, had suggested it. That Johnson did not follow this advice in order to accommodate the Communists, but for a truly Machiavellian purpose, was something bound to escape the limited intellect of an H. Hunt.

Hunt was scared to death, and for apparently good reason, for Earl Warren had, immediately after the assassination, publicly expressed the opinion that this foul deed was the work of right-wing extremists. His anxiety grew when investigators for the Warren Commission found out that one of his boys, Nelson, had paid for that despicable ad in The Dallas Morning News, while another, Lamar, maintained a cozy business and social relationship with the notorious pimp and murderer Jack Ruby.

What the old man didn't realize is that the Commission, in this as in a score of other cases, simply sought to establish the damaging facts in order to be better able to suppress them and to shield effectively those responsible for the assassination. How Lyndon B. Johnson ever managed to get a man like Earl Warren so abjectly to prostitute his great name and prestige, remains the only real mystery of Dallas. But he did it and thus managed to fool, at least for a few years, public opinion throughout America and the world.

After the Warren Report had been released, Hunt heaved a deep sigh of relief. When reporters asked him how he felt about it, Hunt replied, 'It's a very honest document.' And that, coming from H. Hunt, is about the most damning thing anybody has ever said about the Warren Report.

Allen Dulles, head of CIA at the time, who did not interfere in the procedings but was there as a distant threat. Judge Warren himself, a rather sympathetic, paternal figure who had a weakness for Marina, we found later. Representative General Ford, friendly and youthful-looking. The last ten years changed him considerably. And then innumerable, hustling lawyers, all of them trying to figure out how a single man, Lee Harvey Oswald, could have done so much damage with his old, primitive, Italian army rifle. Having around such a galaxy of legal and political talent, you don't have to be tortured, you would impressed and intimidated to say almost anything about an insignificant, dead ex-Marine.

And during my lengthy deposition, I said some unkind things about Lee which I now regret. The reader must imagine my situation, sitting there and answering an endless flow of well prepared and insiduous questions for more than two days.... Was this an intimidation?

"We know more about your life than you yourself, so answer all my questions truthful and sincerely," Jenner began.

I should have said, "if you know everything why bring us all the way from Haiti?" But I did not and began to talk. And my answers were very nicely edited in the subsequent Report. "Say the whole truth and nothing but the truth," he intoned.

Jenner was a good actor, very cold and aloof at first, he switched to flattery and smiles when he felt that I was getting tensed up and antagonistic. "How cosmopolitan you are! How many important people you know! Yes, you are great!" said Jenner ingratiatingly. And probably this flattery worked well on me, proving to me that Albert Jenner was such a good friend of mine. So I answered all the questions to the best of my ability, with utter sincerity, without even asking to have my lawyer present and he, the sneaky bastard, did not say a word that the whole testimony would be printed and distributed all over the world. And so my privat life was shamelessly violated. During this time Jeanne and the dogs were languishing in the old Willard Hotel.

At the end of this long testimony Jenner seemed convinced that I was not involved in any way in this "already solved" assassination. He began showering compliments on me and I felt like a star of a pornographic movie. Before leaving, I told Jenner of the harm this affair was causing me, mainly of the attitude of the American Ambassador. Of the reflexion on my work in Haiti. He inserted therefore some nice statements, putting me above all suspicion. Big deal! The harm was already done. And how could I have been suspected of anything, being so far away from Dallas, unless President Duvalier and I used vodoo practices and inserted needles or shot at a doll resembling President Kennedy. Since everything was known, Jenner concluded my useless testimony with the following words: "You did all right. Keep up the life you have been living. You helped a poor family." And he added as an aside "remember, sometimes it is dangerous to be too generous with your time and help."

(1) The shots which killed President Kennedy and wounded Governor Connally were fired from the sixth floor window at the southeast corner of the Texas School Book Depository. This determination is based upon the following:

Witnesses at the scene of the assassination saw a rifle being fired from the sixth-floor window of the Depository Building, and some witnesses saw a rifle in the window immediately after the shots were fired.

The nearly whole bullet found on Governor Connally's stretcher at Parkland Memorial Hospital and the two bullet fragments found in the front seat of the Presidential limousine were fired from the 6.5-millimeter Mannlicher-Carcano rifle found on the sixth floor of the Depository Building to the exclusion of all other weapons.

The three used cartridge cases found near the window on the sixth floor at the southeast corner of the building were fired from the same rifle which fired the above - described bullet and fragments, to the exclusion of all other weapons.

The windshield in the Presidential limousine was struck by a bullet fragment on the inside surface of the glass, but was not penetrated.

The nature of the bullet wounds suffered by President Kennedy and Governor Connally and the location of the car at the time of the shots establish that the bullets were fired from above and behind the Presidential limousine, striking the President and the Governor as follows:

President Kennedy was first struck by a bullet which entered at the back of his neck and exited through the lower front portion of his neck, causing a wound which would not necessarily have been lethal. The President was struck a second time by a bullet which entered the right-rear portion of his head, causing a massive and fatal wound.

Governor Connally was struck by a bullet which entered on the right side of his back and traveled downward through the right side of his chest, exiting below his right nipple. This bullet then passed through his right wrist and entered his left thigh where it caused a superficial wound.

There is no credible evidence that the shots were fired from the Triple Underpass, ahead of the motorcade, or from any other location.

(2) The weight of the evidence indicates that there were three shots fired.

(3) Although it is not necessary to any essential findings of the Commission to determine just which shot hit Governor Connally, there is very persuasive evidence from the experts to indicate that the same bullet which pierced the President's throat also caused Governor Connally's wounds. However, Governor Connally's testimony and certain other factors have given rise to some difference of opinion as to this probability but there is no question in the mind of any member of the Commission that all the shots which caused the President's and Governor Connally's wounds were fired from the sixth floor window of the Texas School Book Depository.

(4) The shots which killed President Kennedy and wounded Governor Connally were fired by Lee Harvey Oswald. This conclusion is based upon the following:

The Mannlicher-Carcano 6.5 - millimeter Italian rifle from which the shots were fired was owned by and in the possession of Oswald.

Oswald carried this rifle into the Depository Building on the morning of November 22, 1963.

Oswald, at the time of the assassination, was present at the window from which the shots were fired.

Shortly after the assassination, the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle belonging to Oswald was found partially hidden between some cartons on the sixth floor and the improvised paper bag in which Oswald brought the rifle to the Depository was found close by the window from which the shots were fired.

Based on testimony of the experts and their analysis of films of the assassination, the Commission has concluded that a rifleman of Lee Harvey Oswald's capabilities could have fired the shots from the rifle used in the assassination within the elapsed time of the shooting. The Commission has concluded further that Oswald possessed the capability with a rifle which enabled him to commit the assassination.

Oswald lied to the police after his arrest concerning important substantive matters.

Oswald had attempted to kill Maj. Gen. Edwin A. Walker (Resigned, U.S. Army) on April 10, 1963, thereby demonstrating his disposition to take human life.

(5) Oswald killed Dallas Police Patrolman J. Tippit approximately 45 minutes after the assassination. This conclusion upholds the finding that Oswald fired the shots which killed President Kennedy and wounded Governor Connally and is supported by the following:

Two eyewitnesses saw the Tippit shooting and seven eyewitnesses heard the shots and saw the gunman leave the scene with revolver in hand. These nine eyewitnesses positively identified Lee Harvey Oswald as the man they saw.

The cartridge cases found at the scene of the shooting were fired from the revolver in the possession of Oswald at the time of his arrest to the exclusion of all other weapons.

The revolver in Oswald's possession at the time of his arrest was purchased by and belonged to Oswald.

Oswald's jacket was found along the path of flight taken by the gunman as he fled from the scene of the killing.

(6) Within 80 minutes of the assassination and 35 minutes of the Tippit killing Oswald resisted arrest at the theater by attempting to shoot another Dallas police officer.

(7) The Commission has reached the following conclusions concerning Oswald's interrogation and detention by the Dallas police:

Except for the force required to effect his arrest, Oswald was not subjected to any physical coercion by any law enforcement officials. He was advised that he could not be compelled to give any information and that any statements made by him might be used against him in court. He was advised of his right to counsel. He was given the opportunity to obtain counsel of his own choice and was offered legal assistance by the Dallas Bar Association, which he rejected at that time.

Newspaper, radio, and television reporters were allowed uninhibited access to the area through which Oswald had to pass when he was moved from his cell to the interrogation room and other sections of the building, thereby subjecting Oswald to harassment and creating chaotic conditions which were not conducive to orderly interrogation or the protection of the rights of the prisoner.

The numerous statements, sometimes erroneous, made to the press by various local law enforcement officials, during this period of confusion and disorder in the police station, would have presented serious obstacles to the obtaining of a fair trial for Oswald. To the extent that the information was erroneous or misleading, it helped to create doubts, speculations, and fears in the mind of the public which might otherwise not have arisen.

(8) The Commission has reached the following conclusions concerning the killing of Oswald by Jack Ruby on November 24, 1963:

Ruby entered the basement of the Dallas Police Department shortly after 11:17 a.m. and killed Lee Harvey Oswald at 11:21 a.m.

Although the evidence on Ruby's means of entry is not conclusive, the weight of the evidence indicates that he walked down the ramp leading from Main Street to the basement of the police department.

There is no evidence to support the rumor that Ruby may have been assisted by any members of the Dallas Police Department in the killing of Oswald.

The Dallas Police Department's decision to transfer Oswald to the county jail in full public view was unsound.

The arrangements made by the police department on Sunday morning, only a few hours before the attempted transfer, were inadequate. Of critical importance was the fact that news media representatives and others were not excluded from the basement even after the police were notified of threats to Oswald's life. These deficiencies contributed to the death of Lee Harvey Oswald.

(9) The Commission has found no evidence that either Lee Harvey Oswald or Jack Ruby was part of any conspiracy, domestic or foreign, to assassinate President Kennedy. The reasons for this conclusion are:

The Commission has found no evidence that anyone assisted Oswald in planning or carrying out the assassination. In this connection it has thoroughly investigated, among other factors, the circumstances surrounding the planning of the motorcade route through Dallas, the hiring of Oswald by the Texas School Book Depository Co. on October 15, 1963, the method by which the rifle was brought into the building, the placing of cartons of books at the window, Oswald's escape from the building, and the testimony of eyewitnesses to the shooting.

The Commission has found no evidence that Oswald was involved with any person or group in a conspiracy to assassinate the President, although it has thoroughly investigated, in addition to other possible leads, all facets of Oswald's associations, finances, and personal habits, particularly during the period following his return from the Soviet Union in June 1962.

The Commission has found no evidence to show that Oswald was employed, persuaded, or encouraged by any foreign government to assassinate President Kennedy or that he was an agent of any foreign government, although the Commission has reviewed the circumstances surrounding Oswald's defection to the Soviet Union, his life there from October of 1959 to June of 1962 so far as it can be reconstructed, his known contacts with the Fair Play for Cuba Committee and his visits to the Cuban and Soviet Embassies in Mexico City during his trip to Mexico from September 26 to October 3, 1963, and his known contacts with the Soviet Embassy in the United States.

The Commission has explored all attempts of Oswald to identify himself with various political groups, including the Communist Party, U.S.A., the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, and the Socialist Workers Party, and has been unable to find any evidence that the contacts which he initiated were related to Oswald's subsequent assassination of the President.

All of the evidence before the Commission established that there was nothing to support the speculation that Oswald was an agent, employee, or informant of the FBI, the CIA, or any other governmental agency. It has thoroughly investigated Oswald's relationships prior to the assassination with all agencies of the U.S. Government. All contacts with Oswald by any of these agencies were made in the regular exercise of their different responsibilities.

No direct or indirect relationship between Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby has been discovered by the Commission, nor has it been able to find any credible evidence that either knew the other, although a thorough investigation was made of the many rumors and speculations of such a relationship.

The Commission has found no evidence that Jack Ruby acted with any other person in the killing of Lee Harvey Oswald.

After careful investigation the Commission has found no credible evidence either that Ruby and Officer Tippit, who was killed by Oswald, knew each other or that Oswald and Tippit knew each other. Because of the difficulty of proving negatives to a certainty the possibility of others being involved with either Oswald or Ruby cannot be established categorically, but if there is any such evidence it has been beyond the reach of all the investigative agencies and resources of the United States and has not come to the attention of this Commission.

(10) In its entire investigation the Commission has found no evidence of conspiracy, subversion, or disloyalty to the U.S. Government by any Federal, State, or local official.

(11) On the basis of the evidence before the Commission it concludes that, Oswald acted alone. Therefore, to determine the motives for the assassination of President Kennedy, one must look to the assassin himself. Clues to Oswald's motives can be found in his family history, his education or lack of it, his acts, his writings, and the recollections of those who had close contacts with him throughout his life. The Commission has presented with this report all of the background information bearing on motivation which it could discover. Thus, others may study Lee Oswald's life and arrive at their own conclusions as to his possible motives. The Commission could not make any definitive determination of Oswald's motives. It has endeavored to isolate factors which contributed to his character and which might have influenced his decision to assassinate President Kennedy. These factors were:

His deep-rooted resentment of all authority which was expressed in a hostility toward every society in which he lived;

His inability to enter into meaningful relationships with people, and a continuous pattern of rejecting his environment in favor of new surroundings;

His urge to try to find a place in history and despair at times over failures in his various undertakings;

His capacity for violence as evidenced by his attempt to kill General Walker;

His avowed commitment to Marxism and communism, as he understood the terms and developed his own interpretation of them; this was expressed by his antagonism toward the United States, by his defection to the Soviet Union, by his failure to be reconciled with life in the United States even after his disenchantment with the Soviet Union, and by his efforts, though frustrated, to go to Cuba. Each of these contributed to his capacity to risk all in cruel and irresponsible actions.

(12) The Commission recognizes that the varied responsibilities of the President require that he make frequent trips to all parts of the United States and abroad. Consistent with their high responsibilities Presidents can never be protected from every potential threat. The Secret Service's difficulty in meeting its protective responsibility varies with the activities and the nature of the occupant of the Office of President and his willingness to conform to plans for his safety. In appraising the performance of the Secret Service it should be understood that it has to do its work within such limitations. Nevertheless, the Commission believes that recommendations for improvements in Presidential protection are compelled by the facts disclosed in this investigation.

The complexities of the Presidency have increased so rapidly in recent years that the Secret Service has not been able to develop or to secure adequate resources of personnel and facilities to fulfill its important assignment. This situation should be promptly remedied.

The Commission has concluded that the criteria and procedures of the Secret Service designed to identify and protect against persons considered threats to the president were not adequate prior to the assassination.

The Protective Research Section of the Secret Service, which is responsible for its preventive work, lacked sufficient trained personnel and the mechanical and technical assistance needed to fulfill its responsibility.

Prior to the assassination the Secret Service's criteria dealt with direct threats against the President. Although the Secret Service treated the direct threats against the President adequately, it failed to recognize the necessity of identifying other potential sources of danger to his security. The Secret Service did not develop adequate and specific criteria defining those persons or groups who might present a danger to the President. In effect, the Secret Service largely relied upon other Federal or State agencies to supply the information necessary for it to fulfill its preventive responsibilities, although it did ask for information about direct threats to the President.

The Commission has concluded that there was insufficient liaison and coordination of information between the Secret Service and other Federal agencies necessarily concerned with Presidential protection. Although the FBI, in the normal exercise of its responsibility, had secured considerable information about Lee Harvey Oswald, it had no official responsibility, under the Secret Service criteria existing at the time of the President's trip to Dallas, to refer to the Secret Service the information it had about Oswald. The Commission has concluded, however, that the FBI took an unduly restrictive view of its role in preventive intelligence work prior to the assassination. A more carefully coordinated treatment of the Oswald case by the FBI might well have resulted in bringing Oswald's activities to the attention of the Secret Service.

The Commission has concluded that some of the advance preparations in Dallas made by the Secret Service, such as the detailed security measures taken at Love Field and the Trade Mart, were thorough and well executed. In other respects, however, the Commission has concluded that the advance preparations for the President's trip were deficient.

Although the Secret Service is compelled to rely to a great extent on local law enforcement officials, its procedures at the time of the Dallas trip did not call for well-defined instructions as to the respective responsibilities of the police officials and others assisting in the protection of the President.

The procedures relied upon by the Secret Service for detecting the presence of an assassin located in a building along a motorcade route were inadequate. At the time of the trip to Dallas, the Secret Service as a matter of practice did not investigate, or cause to be checked, any building located along the motorcade route to be taken by the President. The responsibility for observing windows in these buildings during the motorcade was divided between local police personnel stationed on the streets to regulate crowds and Secret Service agents riding in the motorcade. Based on its investigation the Commission has concluded that these arrangements during the trip to Dallas were clearly not sufficient.

The configuration of the Presidential car and the seating arrangements of the Secret Service agents in the car did not afford the Secret Service agents the opportunity they should have had to be of immediate assistance to the President at the first sign of danger.

Within these limitations, however, the Commission finds that the agents most immediately responsible for the President's safety reacted promptly at the time the shots were fired from the Texas School Book Depository Building.


Warren Court

The Warren Court was the period in the history of the Supreme Court of the United States during which Earl Warren served as Chief Justice. Warren replaced the deceased Fred M. Vinson as Chief Justice in 1953, and Warren remained in office until he retired in 1969. Warren was succeeded as Chief Justice by Warren Burger. The Warren Court is often considered the most liberal court in US history.

The Warren Court expanded civil rights, civil liberties, judicial power, and the federal power in dramatic ways. [1] It has been widely recognized that the court, led by the liberal bloc, has created a major "Constitutional Revolution" in the history of United States. [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

The Warren Court brought "one man, one vote" to the United States through a series of rulings, and created the Miranda warning. [7] [8] [9] In addition, the court was both applauded and criticized for bringing an end to de jure racial segregation in the United States, incorporating the Bill of Rights (i.e. including it in the 14th Amendment Due Process clause), and ending officially sanctioned voluntary prayer in public schools. The period is recognized as the highest point in judicial power that has receded ever since, but with a substantial continuing impact. [10] [11]


The Inside Story of Richard Nixon’s Ugly, 30-Year Feud with Earl Warren

The most remarkable deathbed scene in American politics occurred on July 9, 1974. Earl Warren, the former chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, had but a few more hours left on earth, after a storied life advancing civil rights and liberties. Yet as Warren prepared to meet his end, his dying wish was to strike one last blow in his unrelenting, 30-year feud with Richard Nixon.

Two of Warren’s former colleagues, Justices William Douglas and William Brennan, stood by the dying man’s bedside. Warren grasped Douglas’s hand. The Supreme Court must rule for the Watergate special prosecutor in the ongoing legal struggle over Nixon’s White House tapes, he told the two justices.

The president had declined to comply with a lower court’s order. “If Nixon gets away with that, then Nixon makes the law as he goes along – not the Congress nor the courts,” Warren said. “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.”

The two men nodded gravely. For years they had watched as the feud between Warren and Nixon evolved from a grudge match between Californians until it poisoned and polarized Supreme Court politics, on and off the bench. They promised they would not let Warren down.

Richard Nixon: The Life

Richard Nixon is an enthralling tour de force biography of our darkest president, one that reviewers will hail as a defining portrait, and the full life of Nixon readers have awaited.

No sooner had President Donald Trump named Judge Neil Gorsuch as his candidate for the U.S. Supreme Court than Carla Severino, chief counsel and director of policy with the conservative Judicial Crisis Network, took to NPR  to blame the dismal state of confirmation politics, and the factional disposition of the nation’s highest court, on the Democrats’ behavior during the confirmation hearings for Judge Robert Bork.

It is an excusable mistake. Senator Edward Kennedy was rough on Bork, whose nomination to the Supreme Court by Ronald Reagan failed in 1987. “Bork’s America,” the senator famously declared, was “a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters,” and “rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids.” A fresh verb found its way into the dictionaries: to bork, or “obstruct through systematic defamation or vilification.” 

But the toxicity of today’s nomination politics goes back past Bork, and reached a head with the vendetta between Warren and Nixon, two 20th-century California Republicans. The feud lasted decades, sowing precedents for the nasty brawls that followed. It started during Nixon’s first political campaign, and lasted to that grim scene at Warren’s bedside. It still reverberates today.

Their enmity dated to 1946, when Warren was the governor of California and Lieutenant Commander Nixon, home from war and service in the Navy, declared his candidacy for the Los Angeles-area congressional seat held by Democratic Representative Jerry Voorhis.

Warren was a progressive Republican who won by appealing to Democrats and Independents in a state that then favored non-partisan politics. He had nice things to say about Voorhis, who had helped represent California’s interests in Congress. When Nixon sought to have Harold Stassen, a Republican presidential hopeful, come to California and campaign for him, Warren—who had his own national ambitions—persuaded Stassen to stay away.

Nixon defeated Voorhis, but never forgot what Warren had done. “Right then, a slow burn was kindled in Richard Nixon,” campaign aide Bill Arnold, recalled.

The slow burn blazed in 1950, when Nixon ran a successful Red-baiting campaign for the U.S. Senate against his  Democratic opponent— Helen Gahagan Douglas - and Warren refused to endorse him. Nixon and his friends were outraged. “Unless a man is a crook he is entitled to the united support of the party he represents,” Nixon’s mentor, banker Herman Perry, wrote the congressman. Warren’s actions would “not go well with me and 80 percent of the real Republicans.”

When Warren stumbled during the Republican presidential primaries in 1952, Nixon’s wife, Pat, gloated in a letter to a friend. “Warren’s showing in Oregon was sad,” she wrote. “I’m not crying.”

Nixon himself went further. He boarded the Warren campaign train as it made its way from Sacramento to the Republican convention in Chicago, and stealthily urged California’s delegates to support the governor’s rival, General Dwight Eisenhower. The episode became known in state political lore as “The Great Train Robbery.” At the convention, Nixon was tireless, securing the delegation for Ike on the key procedural votes that determined the nomination.

Warren, fuming, sent an envoy to Eisenhower. “We have a traitor in our delegation,” he charged. “It’s Nixon.”  But Ike declined to act. In fact, he told the envoy, Nixon was likely to be the general’s running mate. For “keeping the California delegation in line,” Nixon had been given a place atop the short list, Eisenhower’s campaign manager later confirmed.

The feuding reached full boil. At the California delegation caucus, Warren thanked his supporters for their help and publicly snubbed Nixon. “The slight was perfectly obvious, as it was intended to be,” one of Nixon’s friends recorded in a diary. Warren believed that “Dick was trying to sabotage him.”

From that day forward, “Warren hated Nixon,” longtime Republican fundraiser Asa Call remembered in an oral history. Over the years, Warren would tell people how “Nixon cut my throat from here to here,” and gesture with his finger across his neck.

So it was that reporters, traveling to California to write profiles of the new vice presidential candidate, found that Warren loyalists were eager to tattle. They dished the dirt on how Nixon’s friends arranged to have wealthy donors pay for his personal and political obligations.

“All is not well,” Perry warned a friend. “Some of the Warrenites would be tickled to death to see Dick lose.”

In late September, the then-liberal New York Post reported that “Secret Rich Men’s Trust Fund Keeps Nixon in Style Far Beyond His Salary.” The story was hyped, but sired an election-year scandal that grew with stunning speed and impact. Only Nixon’s convincing appearance on national television – in which he, famously, spoke cloyingly of his family’s cocker spaniel Checkers – saved his career.

The feuding subsided once Eisenhower appointed Warren to lead the Supreme Court in 1953. There was little that the new chief justice and vice president could do to each other that would not look unseemly. But then Nixon lost the 1960 presidential election to John F. Kennedy and sought to make a comeback by running for Warren’s old job as governor in California in 1962.

Warren wielded the stiletto. He traveled to California to pose, warm and smiling, in photographs with Democratic incumbent Gov. Edmund “Pat” Brown, and to tell the press what a great job Brown was doing. He dispatched his son, Earl Warren Jr., to stump the state for Brown, campaigning against Nixon. The chief justice “felt that Nixon double-crossed him in 1952,” Brown recalled in an oral history, and “when Earl hated people, he hated them.” When Nixon lost, Brown remembered, Warren “laughed and laughed and laughed.”

“Tricky,” as Warren liked to call Nixon, then disgraced himself at his “last press conference,” when he told reporters they would not have him “to kick around anymore.” That week, on Air Force One, flying back from Eleanor Roosevelt’s funeral, President Kennedy and Chief Justice Warren were seen giggling like schoolboys as they swapped news accounts of Nixon’s meltdown.

The quarrel ebbed until 1968, when Nixon launched yet another comeback, campaigning for the presidency. The smoldering fuse got fanned, and the resulting detonation transformed the Supreme Court nomination process.

Warren was ready to retire, but didn’t want Nixon to name his successor. He approached President Lyndon Johnson, and reached an agreement to have LBJ’s good friend and adviser, Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas, promoted to chief justice after just a couple of years on the court.

Nixon would have none of it. Employing the reasoning used by today’s Republicans when they blocked Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination to the court last year, Nixon argued that “a new president with a fresh mandate” should fill the empty seat.

Senate Republicans went to work, filibustered, and blocked the Fortas nomination. Warren was compelled to stay on, with the sour duty of swearing-in Nixon as the 37th president in January 1969.

Senate Democrats, however, seethed at the manner in which Fortas was treated. Their wrath grew downright broiling when reports from the Nixon Justice Department confirmed that Fortas was on a $20,000-a-year retainer from a convicted financier. Fortas resigned in May, and Warren, not getting any younger, finally stepped down from his seat in June. Nixon would now have two seats to fill.

To replace Earl Warren, the president selected Judge Warren Burger as the court’s new chief justice. Burger got Senate approval, but the Republican maneuvering in the Fortas fight had left deep scars. “The Democrats would have had to be saints not to want revenge for the way the Republicans first turned Fortas back as chief justice, then exposed him and drove him from the Court altogether—and no one had never thought of the Democrats as saints,” wrote historian Stephen Ambrose.

Nixon had the opportunity to “stick it to the liberal, Ivy League clique who thought the Court was their own private playground,” advised presidential counselor John Ehrlichman. And so he did, naming Judge Clement Haynsworth of South Carolina to fill the Fortas seat.

Nixon now walked into the same trap twice.

Stealing a page from the Fortas fight, the Democrats raked Haynsworth for financial improprieties. Nixon squealed about the “vicious character assassination” that Haynsworth underwent, but the president was being hoisted by his own petard.

“When Republicans complained that for one hundred years it had been the practice of the Senate to ignore a nominee’s philosophy and judge him only on technical fitness, the Democrats replied that Fortas had been upbraided by Senate conservatives for his liberal decisions,” Ambrose noted. “It was the Republicans who had broken tradition.”

The cycle of blame had begun. The Senate rejected Haynsworth. The stubborn president then named another Southern judge, G. Harrold Carswell of Georgia, whom the Democrats also met with the kind of bruising tactics they took from Nixon’s book.

The Carswell nomination was a dismal one he was more of a segregationist and less of a jurist than Haynsworth. Carswell was defeated. Today, he is chiefly remembered for the argument made by Senator Roman Hruska, a Nebraska Republican, that there were lots of mediocre people in the United States, and they were entitled to some representation on the Supreme Court too.

The conflicts over the Warren and Fortas seats were much like the Spanish Civil War—a struggle in which outside foes debuted and tested weaponry and tactics they would employ in the frays to come. The era also introduced an issue that, though somewhat tame at the time, would come to consume the nomination process. The moderate jurist who was ultimately approved to fill the Fortas seat, Justice Harry Blackmun, wound up writing the majority opinion in the 1973 abortion case, Roe v. Wade, that has snarled the Supreme Court since.

The clash over Fortas’ seat was one of several vicious quarrels —like those over the invasion of Cambodia, and the publication of the Pentagon Papers—that brought out Nixon’s dark side.

The White House retaliated for the defeat of Haynsworth and Carswell by launching an unsuccessful attempt to have liberal Justice Douglas impeached. And after ending up on the losing end of a Supreme Court ruling when trying to halt publication of leaked secrets in the Pentagon Papers case, Nixon installed an in-house gang of stooges, nicknamed the Plumbers, to investigate, intimidate and defame leakers. It eventually led him to Watergate.

Nixon looked like he’d survive the scandal, until disclosure of his White House taping system led special prosecutor Leon Jaworski to subpoena the potentially incriminating recordings. Nixon claimed an “executive privilege” to keep his tapes and papers private.

So it was that when Justices Douglas and Brennan appeared at Warren’s deathbed in July 1974, they were more than ready to carry out their chief’s last behest.

“If Nixon is not forced to turn over tapes of his conversation with the ring of men who were conversing on their violations of the law, then liberty will soon be dead in this nation,” Warren told them. The Supreme Court had met that very day to confer on the case, they told him. They assured him they would rule against Nixon.

Warren died that night. Two weeks later, a unanimous Supreme Court ruled, in United States v. Nixon, that the president had to surrender his White House tapes to the prosecutors. Two more weeks passed, the tapes were made public, and the fallout compelled Nixon to resign.

But Nixon, who lived another two decades, may have had the last laugh. All in all, he named four justices to the court. After Burger and Blackmun, he chose William Rehnquist and Lewis Powell, conservatives who helped turn the court away from Warren’s progressive course. This exacerbated the split, on and off the bench, between left and right.

By 1987, when Edward Kennedy led the attack on Bork, he was only following political precedent—much of it set in the battle royal of Warren v. Nixon.

About John A. Farrell

John A. Farrell is the author of the upcoming biography, Richard Nixon: The Life, which will be published in March by Doubleday.


Warren and Judicial Power

Best known for his ability to manage the Supreme Court and win the support of his fellow justices, Chief Justice Warren was famous for wielding judicial power to force major social changes.

When President Eisenhower appointed Warren as chief justice in 1953, the other eight justices were New Deal liberals appointed by Franklin D. Roosevelt or Harry Truman. However, the Supreme Court remained ideologically divided. Justices Felix Frankfurter and Robert H. Jackson favored judicial self-restraint, believing the Court should defer to the wishes of the White House and Congress. On the other side, Justices Hugo Black and William O. Douglas led a majority faction that believed the federal courts should play a leading role in expanding property rights and individual liberties. Warren’s belief that the overriding purpose of the judiciary was to seek justice aligned him with Black and Douglas. When Felix Frankfurter retired in 1962 and was replaced by Justice Arthur Goldberg, Warren found himself in charge of a solid 5-4 liberal majority.

In leading the Supreme Court, Warren was aided by the political skills he had acquired while serving as governor of California from 1943 to 1953 and running for vice president in 1948 with Republican presidential candidate Thomas E. Dewey. Warren strongly believed that the highest purpose of the law was to “right wrongs” by applying equity and fairness. This fact, argues historian Bernard Schwartz, made his political acumen most impactful when the “political institutions”—such as Congress and the White House—had failed to “address problems such as segregation and reapportionment and cases where the constitutional rights of defendants were abused."

Warren’s leadership was best characterized by his ability to bring the Court to reach remarkable agreement on its most controversial cases. For example, Brown v. Board of Education, Gideon v. Wainwright, and Cooper v. Aaron were all unanimous decisions. Engel v. Vitale banned nondenominational prayer in public schools with only one dissenting opinion.

Harvard Law School professor Richard H. Fallon has written, “Some thrilled to the approach of the Warren Court. Many law professors were perplexed, often sympathetic to the Court’s results but skeptical of the soundness of its constitutional reasoning. And some of course were horrified.”


History of the Court – Timeline of the Justices – Earl Warren, 1953-1969

EARL WARREN was born in Los Angeles, California, on March 19, 1891. He was graduated from the University of California in 1912 and went on to receive a law degree there in 1914. He practiced for a time in law offices in San Francisco and Oakland. In 1919, Warren became Deputy City Attorney of Oakland, beginning a life in public service. In 1920, he became Deputy Assistant District Attorney of Alameda County. In 1925, he was appointed District Attorney of Alameda County, to fill an unexpired term, and was elected and re-elected to the office in his own right in 1926, 1930, and 1934. In 1938, he was elected Attorney General of California. In 1942, Warren was elected Governor of California, and he was twice re-elected. In 1948, he was the Republican nominee for Vice President of the United States, and in 1952, he sought the Republican party’s nomination for President. On September 30, 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower nominated Warren Chief Justice of the United States under a recess appointment. The Senate confirmed the appointment on March 1, 1954. Warren served as Chairman of the Judicial Conference of the United States from 1953 to 1969 and as Chairman of the Federal Judicial Center from 1968 to 1969. He also chaired the commission of inquiry into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. He retired on June 23, 1969, after fifteen years of service, and died on July 9, 1974, at the age of eighty-three.


The Unacknowledged Lesson: Earl Warren and the Japanese Relocation Controversy

Between February and August 1942, about 112,000 Japanese-Americans were transported from their homes along the Pacific Coast in California, Oregon, and Washington to “relocation centers” in California, Idaho, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, and Arkansas. The Japanese, about two-thirds of whom had been born in America, were housed in these centers until January 1945, when they were officially released. The relocation centers resembled concentration camps: they were enclosed with barbed wire and patrolled by armed guards, privacy and independent family life for the incarcerated Japanese were almost nonexistent, and the daily lives of the Japanese were controlled by their supervisors. The relocation centers were not, however, instruments of genocide or barbarism or even brutality in this sense the term “concentration camp” incorrectly describes them. The centers did represent, though, the first and only episode in American history in which the United States government forcibly interned American citizens on the basis of their racial and ethnic affiliation.

President Franklin Roosevelt signed the executive order creating the relocation centers, but the principal architects of the relocation program were John J. McCloy, assistant secretary of war, and three U. S. Army officers, Major General Alien W. Gullion, Lieutenant General John L. DeWitt, and Colonel Karl R. Bendesten. In developing the relocation policy these men had the full cooperation and support of Earl Warren, who held the positions of attorney general and governor of California during the Second World War.

In 1971 Earl Warren, having retired as chief justice of the Supreme Court two years earlier, began writing his memoirs. I was a law clerk to Warren at the time, and he asked for my reactions to drafts of the memoirs as they were prepared. Warren’s memoirs, anonymously edited, eventually were published in 1977, three years after his death. For the most part, they were the conventional reminiscences of a public figure. Warren revealed almost no information that was not already available, and in some instances, such as his account of the Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education, the famous 1954 case invalidating racial segregation in the public schools, he gave a less than full description of events.

The memoirs settled some scores, such as Warren’s longstanding grievance against the American Bar Association, which at one point erroneously had announced that Warren had been dropped from its membership for nonpayment of dues. The memoirs also painted less than flattering portraits of some of Warren’s political acquaintances, including Dwight Eisenhower, who, while president, was quoted as saying to Warren that he would solve the Communist problem by “kill[ing] the S. O. B.’s.” They ignored some controversial moments in Warren’s career, such as his opposition during the height of the Cold War to the nomination of Berkeley law professor Max Radin, a distinguished scholar but a supposed “leftist,” to the California Supreme Court. On the whole, the memoirs were a bland, unrevealing, and selective account of Warren’s life. Warren’s pet burro, his “friend and constant companion” during Warren’s youth in Bakersfield, California, received more attention than any single justice of the Supreme Court.

One episode of Warren’s career, however, received significant, although sparse, attention in his memoirs—the Japanese relocation decision. Warren said that he had “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.” He then articulated his guilt feelings in terms that, for a father of six and a devoted family man, were vividly personal: “Whenever I thought of the innocent little children who were torn from home, school friends, and congenial surroundings, I was consciencestricken.” On reflection, Warren believed that “[i]t was wrong to react so impulsively, without positive evidence of disloyalty. . . .”

Warren’s confession of error in the Japanese relocation controversy raises several questions. How did Earl Warren, one of the most vigorous advocates of civil liberties in the history of the Supreme Court, come to advocate and defend a policy that constituted a wholesale deprivation of the civil rights of Japanese-Americans? How could Warren, a principal force behind the Court’s unanimous attack on racism in Brown v. Board of Education and its progeny, have ignored the racist character of the relocation, which was imposed only against Japanese nationals and aliens, leaving unaffected people of Italian or German origin? How did Warren, a champion of equality and fairness under the law as chief justice, justify the patently inequitable nature of a relocation process reserved only for Japanese? And why did Warren, whose strength of convictions was well-known to his acquaintances, who almost never admitted that he had been wrong on an issue, and who rarely changed his mind once he had formed an opinion, decide to recant on the Japanese relocation issue? An examination of these questions takes one inside the mind of one of America’s least penetrable public figures.

* A documented copy of this essay is in the author’s possession footnotes have been omitted from this version. Quotations ascribed to Earl Warren are principally from The Memoirs of Earl Warren (1977).

Warren’s childhood environment, while not one of dire poverty, was far from comfortable. Earl Warren was born on what was then called “Dingy Turner Street” in Los Angeles his father, Mathias Warren, was a repairman for the Southern Pacific Railroad. When Earl was three, Mathias was laid off by the railroad as a result of union agitation, and the Warrens eventually resettled in Sumner, a town near Bakersfield, where Mathias found steady work. Earl Warren later described Sumner (eventually renamed Kern City) as “just a dusty frontier railroad town,” with a small school, a little Methodist church, a lodge room where some social gatherings were held, and no organized social or recreational activities for either school children or adults. The Warrens lived “in a little row house across the street from the shipyards.” Mathias repaired railroad cars on the night shift Earl delivered ice, worked in a bakery, drove a grocery wagon, kept books for a produce merchant, and was “call boy” for the railroad, searching through gambling houses and brothels for recalcitrant trainmen.

Mathias Warren insisted that Earl get an education and saved enough money so that his son eventually could go to college. Earl, whose high school grades were satisfactory, if not distinguished, was accepted as an undergraduate at Berkeley, and in August 1908, embarked on a tedious, hot trip from Bakersfield to the San Francisco Bay area. He later described that journey as a passage from a “relatively isolated little railroad town” to a “vibrant community.” He remembered the “arid landscape,” the dust, and the 100-degree heat of Bakersfield, and he contrasted this image with the sea breezes of the Bay area. He resolved never to go back to Bakersfield, except for summer employment, and he never did. “The idea of returning there,” he said, “seemed to me like giving up my freedom.”

Warren remained at Berkeley, first as an undergraduate and then as a law student, until 1914. He was an indifferent student, more concerned, he said, “with adequacy than profundity.” No book and no professor had “a profound influence” on him, he remembered, “not even in the law school.” He was primarily attracted to Berkeley “as a community of lively, stimulating people rather than as a community of scholars.” Companionship, he recalled, “was the greatest thing I found at the University, and it still stands out in my mind . . .as more important than anything I learned in classes.” For companionship, Warren played cards at the LaJunta Club, where he lived, frequented Gus Brause’s and Pop Kessler’s eating establishments, read poetry and drank beer with an unnamed society of friends, and put on plays with fellow members of the Skull and Keys. While in law school, he refused to participate in class, finding the method of instruction impractical, and the dean eventually reprimanded him for his attitude. Warren also worked part-time in a Berkeley law office, in violation of the law school’s rules, “to obtain some better orientation” toward law practice. He was, as a student, and would remain so in later life, impatient with abstract academic learning, gregarious and companionable, and a relentless joiner of social organizations. He was also, as his clash with the dean of the law school suggested, convinced of the soundness of the positions that he held and stubborn in their defense.

While Warren referred to his environment at Berkeley as possessing “an atmosphere of romance and enchantment,” and being “large [and] dynamic” in contrast to Sumner and Bakersfield, it was not particularly diverse or cosmopolitan. Warren lived at the same fraternity house for six years with students whose social and economic backgrounds were similar to his. Warren’s peers, he felt, “were living, as far as we knew, in a relatively serene society wherein there was a job for everyone with any skill.” Neither he nor his acquaintances “were profoundly concerned about causes or were preparing to serve any of them.” Warren had only a limited acquaintance, as far as is known, with Japanese or Chinese students he associated the Chinese community in San Francisco largely with opium dens, and he remembered the Chinese in Sumner as cheap laborers who “kept themselves completely isolated from the community.”

The years in which Warren came to maturity were ones in which powerful racist stereotypes, primarily reserved for Orientals, were prevalent on the West Coast. Chinese immigration into California in the late 19th century had provoked nativist responses, in part reflecting an uneducated reaction to physical differences between Chinese and whites and in part reflecting fears of job competition. Eventually, in 1902, Chinese immigrants were excluded completely from the United States, and xenophobic feelings came to be directed toward the Japanese, who had not come to California in significant numbers before 1891, the year of Warren’s birth. In 1920, when Warren began his service in the district attorney’s office in Alameda County, there were 71,952 Japanese in California, out of a total population of approximately 3,400,000. Of those, about half were engaged in agriculture, many with notable success. Others were domestic servants, small merchants, gardeners, florists, or commercial fishermen. The Japanese were excluded from trade unions, went to segregated schools, lived in segregated neighborhoods, and generally were barred from entry into the non-Japanese community.

No influential segment of California political life was sympathetic to the Japanese. The Oriental Exclusion League, formed in 1919, included among its members representatives of the California Federation of Labor, the State Grange, and the American Legion. Hiram Johnson, California’s Progressive governor and senator, whom Warren greatly admired, was openly antagonistic to the Japanese so were author Jack London, a Socialist, and conservative newspaperman William Randolph Hearst. The Los Angeles Times, in 1920, stated that “assimilation of the two races is unthinkable. It is morally indefensible and biologically impossible. An American who would not die fighting rather than yield to this infamy does not deserve the name.” Warren had not had extensive contact with Japanese, although he had been a devotee of authors, such as London, Rudyard Kipling, and Frank Norris, who perpetuated racial stereotypes.

By the 1930’s Warren had developed a strong interest in California politics. His ambition on graduating from law school was to be a trial lawyer, and to that end he ultimately secured a position in 1920 with the Alameda County district attorney’s office, believing “that about a year and a half or two years at most would equip me for the private practice I contemplated.” Four years later, however, he was still on the district attorney’s staff, and when Ezra Decoto, the incumbent, was named to the California Railroad Commission, Warren, after some political maneuvering, was named his successor. Warren remained district attorney of Alameda County until 1938, when he ran successfully for attorney general of California. He stayed in the district attorney’s post for 13 years, he later said, because of graft trials that he wanted to prosecute to completion and because of the Depression, which had made the financial risks of private law practice considerable.

During Warren’s years as district attorney, he developed a style of governing that he was to retain for the remainder of his public career. He identified effective governing with incorruptibility, efficiency, and nonpartisanship. He demanded absolute loyalty from subordinates. He favored activism in office, but he selected the issues on which he would be active rather than reacting to outside pressures. As district attorney, he launched vigorous prosecutions of bail-bond brokers, confidence men, and corrupt law enforcement officials. In those efforts Warren was stimulated by his reading of Franklin Hichborn’s The System, an account of graft trials in San Francisco in 1908 and 1909. The message of The System was that corruption in public office was a matter of ephemeral public concern, and that delays in prosecution therefore could often lead to eventual public indifference. Warren devised a technique of advising newspapers about the reluctance of officials to cooperate with his office, thus forestalling delays, and he instructed his staff to prepare their prosecutions as quickly as possible. His successful prosecutions won him considerable newspaper and public support.

While making a reputation as an effective district attorney—in 1931 he was described by Raymond Moley as “the most intelligent and politically independent district attorney in the United States”—Warren began to become involved in Republican party politics. Warren was a Republican, he later said, “simply because California was then an overwhelmingly Republican state.” He had, in those years, no particular interest in national affairs, and his views on state issues were not well defined. He was an alternate delegate to the Republican convention in 1928 and a delegate in 1932 as a supporter of Hoover’s candidacy. In 1934 he was elected chairman of the State Republican Central Committee, and he played a major role in the election of Governor Frank Merriam. He also drafted and helped secure passage of four amendments to the state constitution strengthening the power of the attorney general’s office.

In addition to these activities, Warren concentrated on broadening his political base in other areas. A longtime Mason, in 1935 he was elected Grand Master of Masons for California, which then had a total of 150,000 members. In 1931 he became president of the California District Attorneys’ Association, organized by him to further support for the proposed constitutional amendments. He was active in the University of California Alumni Association, becoming its first vice-president. And in 1936 he was named the nominal head of a slate of delegates opposing the candidacy of Governor Alf Landon. Warren’s slate won the Republican primary despite opposition from Governor Merriam and the Hearst papers this victory fully established Warren as a force in California state politics.

By 1938, when he ran for Attorney General, Warren was an accomplished politician, with a relatively wide base of support and a consistently good record of performance as district attorney. On the stump he continued to stress the virtues of “common honesty” and efficient government, and he also indulged in some standard anti-New Deal rhetoric, calling Roosevelt’s “Hundred Days” legislation “the first major effort to change by stealth . . .the greatest free government of all time into a totalitarian state.” Despite this partisanship, Warren had not failed to notice that California’s registered Democrats had grown to outnumber registered Republicans by 1934. He was also well aware of the distinctive “cross-filing” system of California primaries, instituted by Progressives in the early 20th century as a device to avoid special interest control over primary nominations. In the 1938 election for attorney general, Warren entered not only the Republican primary, but the Democratic and Progressive primaries as well. He won the nominations of all three parties.

Warren’s emergence as a political figure in California, then, was a combination of cautious avoidance of ideological, partisan issues and continuous activism in the office of district attorney of Alameda County. Warren was in many ways an ideal candidate for a political culture that encouraged nonpartisanship, that had a recurrent attraction to reform crusades, that rewarded membership in civic organizations, and that was strikingly provincial on national issues. Warren’s formula for success was simple: he stressed his incorruptibility and independence, he performed his official duties vigorously, and he broadened the number of his acquaintances. Nothing in that formula suggested that he would be a passive or a partisan attorney general. Nor did the formula suggest that he would deviate too strongly from the majority of his fellow Californians on social issues.

For the most part, Warren’s tenure as attorney general was predictable. He reorganized the internal workings of the office, paying particular attention to the court calendar and to the assignments of staff personnel. He moved to shut down dog tracks, which were illegal in California, began raids on gambling ships located off the coasts of Santa Monica and Long Beach, and fought the attempted intrusions of organized crime into California. As the prospect of war in Europe increased, he organized law enforcement agencies in a program of civil defense. In this last effort he revealed himself as an advocate of preparedness who was extremely sensitive to the possibility of wartime sabotage.”Do not be deceived,” he said in the spring of 1941, “that [the totalitarian powers] are not attempting to exercise fifth column activities . . .in this country. They would like nothing better than to create the same situation here that they developed in France, Denmark and Holland.”

Added to Warren’s stereotyped views about Orientals, then, was his strong concern for civil defense, which he regarded as an integral function of the attorney general’s office. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec.7, 1941 only reinforced Warren’s suspicions about the Japanese in California. In 1942 he called the presence of the Japanese in California “the Achilles’ heel of the entire civilian defense effort.” He also argued that because no fifth-column activities and no sabotage had been reported a “studied effort” at sabotage was taking place. Warren felt that “when we are dealing with the Caucasian race we have methods that will test [their] loyalty,” but “when we deal with the Japanese we are in an entirely different field” because of “their method of living.”

Warren was an initial proponent of the Japanese relocation policy and a defender of that policy once it had been implemented. In 1943, when the Allied forces had begun to neutralize Japanese supremacy in the Pacific, fears of an invasion of the West Coast subsided, and pressures to release interned Japanese began to surface. In a conference of state governors that June, Warren vigorously opposed releasing any Japanese. “If the Japs are released,” he said, “no one will be able to tell a saboteur from any other Jap. . . . We don’t want to have a second Pearl Harbor in California. We don’t propose to have the Japs back in California during this war if there is any lawful means of preventing it.”

The detained Japanese were eventually released from the relocation centers in January 1945, despite considerable protest by various California newspapers and organizations. Warren, then beginning his second four-year term as governor, privately expressed concern for the action, but publicly asked Calif ornians to “join in protecting the constitutional rights of the individuals involved” and to “maintain an attitude that will discourage friction and prevent civil disorder.” In a conference with law enforcement officials at the time of the release of the Japanese, Warren refused to adopt a resolution condemning the incarceration policy.”[A]t the time of their exclusion,” he reportedly said, “not one of us raised a voice against it. We can’t condemn it now.”

The last statement seems to reflect the attitude that Warren assumed toward the relocation controversy for several years after the war. He allegedly asked in 1944, “How can I say it was wrong when we were all for it when it took place?” Unlike other California politicians, Warren did not repudiate his views as the relocation policy came to be perceived as less defensible in the 1960’s. In 1967 a biography of Warren quoted one of his contemporaries in California as conceding that “we’d been brainwashed about the Japanese all our lives” and another as saying “we were wrong.” The same biography noted that “Warren has never publicly expressed regret or admitted error for his part in the Japanese evacuation.

In 1962, while chief justice, Warren publicly defended the Supreme Court’s 1943 and 1944 decisions supporting the internment of the Japanese against constitutional challenges. He argued that “there are some circumstances which the Court will, in effect, conclude that it is simply not in a position to reject descriptions by the Executive of the degree of military necessity.” According to Warren, the decision to relocate Japanese-Americans was one such circumstance, and in such instances, he maintained, “actions may be permitted that restrict individual liberty in a grievous manner.”

At the time of Warren’s death in 1974, many of his close acquaintances and former employees believed that his position on Japanese relocation remained unchanged. While Warren’s record as a civil libertarian on the Supreme Court had cast his role as an architect of the relocation policy in an ironic light, other inconsistencies between his performance in California and his views as chief justice had come under public scrutiny, and Warren had not seemed unduly troubled by them. He had, in fact, offered an explanation for his apparently divergent views, which he repeated in his memoirs. In political life, he maintained, “progress could be made . . .by compromising and taking half a loaf where a whole loaf could not be obtained, [but] in the Supreme Court the basic ingredient of decision is principle, and it should not be compromised and parceled out a little in one case.” If a principle was “sound and constitutional,” he argued, it was to be “accorded . . .to everyone in its entirety.” For Warren, this distinction between politics and judging justified his support for “one man, one vote” as a justice, when he had opposed reapportionment as governor for finding eavesdropping and wiretapping practices by the police unconstitutional as a justice, when he had used these same practices as district attorney and for invalidating freewheeling governmental inquiries into the possible Communist affiliation of citizens, when he had opposed candidates for public office, such as Max Radin, on the ground that they were “soft” on communism. This same line of reasoning would allow him to distinguish between the use of executive authority in wartime to deprive a minority of its civil liberties (he had said in 1942 that “in time of war every citizen must give up some of his normal rights”) and his fervent championing of civil rights as a justice.

Little in Warren’s temperament or attitude toward public office suggested that he would publicly acknowledge that his participation in the Japanese relocation had been wrong. His inability to admit error was well known among intimates. “He couldn’t say I’m sorry, ” or 1 was wrong, “” said one.”He just never could put an apology into words,” another suggested. Moreover, Warren was extremely reluctant to make public statements of any kind while chief justice, and he never attempted to justify his decisions.

Warren was not alone in his reluctance to confess error for the Japanese internment policy. Of the prominent persons whose participation in the internment controversy might have been regarded as inconsistent with their subsequent reputation as civil libertarians, few had repudiated their earlier stance. Justice Hugo Black, for example, who had written one of the Supreme Court opinions in the 1940’s sustaining the constitutionality of the relocation policy, said in 1967 that “I would do precisely the same thing today.” Likewise Justice William Douglas, another civil libertarian who supported relocation, has never publicly changed his mind.

In the fall of 1971 Warren showed me a draft of his memoirs which included a chapter on his years as attorney general of California. The chapter included an account of the relocation controversy that was virtually identical to the description that finally appeared in Warren’s posthumously published memoirs. I held at that time what might be considered generational and stereotyped views of the Japanese relocation controversy. My generation had not experienced the Second World War we had been in college and in graduate or professional schools during the height of the Warren Court’s influence we had witnessed the civil rights movement. We had also been affected, mainly adversely, by the war in Vietnam. Nothing in our experience suggested that we would be sympathetic to the internment of Japanese-Americans in “concentration camps.” I was heartened, therefore, to see Warren repudiate his role in the relocation program, although much of his version of the episode stressed what he called “the fear, get-tough military psychology, propaganda, and racial antagonism” that combined to create the atmosphere in which the decision to intern Japanese was made. Warren said in his account that “I have always believed that I had no prejudice against the Japanese as such except that directly spawned by Pearl Harbor and its aftermath.” He recalled that as a district attorney he “had great respect for people of Japanese ancestry, because during my years in that office they created no law enforcement problems.” At that time I was inclined to accept Warren’s statements at face value.

I now believe that the simple declaration that “it was wrong to react so impulsively” in Warren’s memoirs was a much more complicated and difficult episode in Warren’s career than I had previously thought. Warren’s memoirs can be seen as an exercise in “settling accounts”: unburdening himself of some long-standing grudges, justifying his actions once more in the face of criticism that rankled over the years, acknowledging some kindnesses for which he had not expressed gratitude, and weaving a thread of consistency through actions that might have appeared anomalous or contradictory. Events and memories that had thrashed about in his consciousness now surfaced. In some instances, his political instincts predominated. I remember discussing the Japanese episode and recommending a presentation that seemed less self-justifying Warren did not change a word, as far as I can recall, of his original text. At other times Warren’s desire to settle matters prevailed. He listened to my advice to place his conversation with Eisenhower about “Communist” cases, in which Eisenhower appears somewhere between foolish and dangerously demented, in a less visible place in the memoirs. In the published version, however, the conversation remained a prominent feature of the first chapter.

Most of the suggestions I made to Warren about his memoirs were not followed: that was as it should be. I could not know what was taking place in that summoning up of a lifetime and should not have expected that as proud and independent a spirit as Warren would, have preferred the judgments of a law clerk to his own. By confessing error for his part in the Japanese relocation program, Warren was settling accounts with himself. He believed that he had “not changed his spots” in his many years in public life, and that he had acted “from conscience.” His role in the Japanese controversy threatened his consistency: he had said in 1938 that “the American concept of civil rights should include not only an observance of our Constitutional Bill of Rights, but also the absence of arbitrary action by government in every field and the existence of a spirit of fair play on the part of public officials. . . .” His participation also weighed on his conscience. While he could deliberately contradict as a judge positions he had taken as a politician, he could not cavalierly dismiss the Japanese episode, as he had dismissed his opposition to reapportionment, as “a matter of political expediency.” The faces of the children separated from their homes and friends bore down on him he could not die without at least confessing error to them.

The singular feature of Earl Warren’s public life was that while he repeated the same formula for success—integrity, independence, activism, and circumspection—in every office he held, he learned from the experience of each of his public offices and used this learning to advantage in the next. Often he learned from the mistakes of others. A district attorney had been too passive or disorganized, an attorney general too partisan, a governor too indiscreet in his public utterances, a chief justice not forceful enough in securing unanimity among his colleagues. Regularly, however, Warren learned at his own expense. Financially pressed in an early campaign, Warren took a contribution from an independent oil contractor, creating embarrassment when he later attacked oil interests. Thereafter he never allowed himself to be beholden to a benefactor, extolling nonpartisanship and denouncing conflicts of interests in public officials. Yet Warren rarely acknowledged his mistakes for what they were or related current strategy to past “lessons” he learned by self-reflection, discipline, and keeping his own counsel.

The Japanese episode was a learning experience for Warren. His 1938 declaration about civil rights and the use of arbitrary governmental power was no campaign pap he sprinkled similar pronouncements throughout his Supreme Court opinions. The Japanese relocation program was a vivid example of the use of arbitrary governmental power at the expense of the rights of a virtually helpless minority. Despite his concern with civil defense and his belief that the lifestyle of the Japanese facilitated sabotage, Warren must have come to the realization that the Japanese evacuation, even in wartime, was offensive to America’s libertarian and egalitarian traditions and conspicuously racist.

Two themes had intertwined to produce the Japanese relocation policy: military necessity and racial or ethnic stereotyping. The Japanese should be evacuated from the Pacific Coast, so the argument ran, because of the distinct possibility of sabotage preparatory to an invasion. An invasion by Japanese forces was possible because, in 1941 and early 1942, Japan controlled the Pacific. Sabotage also was possible because large numbers of Japanese lived on the West Coast, because many Japanese-Americans held dual citizenship and had traveled regularly between Japan and the United States, and because Japanese, unlike Germans or Italians, “looked alike.” As Warren said, whites could not tell a saboteur from a Jap.

If one believed, as Warren did, in preparedness and civil defense, and if one thought that potential Japanese sabotage was peculiarly difficult to detect, then evacuation could be justified as a military necessity even though it was a drastic measure. It was on these grounds that the military officials re sponsible for the relocation policy rationalized it it was on these grounds that Warren supported it. Looking back at the episode, though, one could not gainsay its racist aspects. The military “necessity” for evacuation depended on the professed undetectibility of Japanese sabotage. Because no reported cases of sabotage on the part of Japanese-Americans had emerged prior to the relocation decision, the decision assumed that something about the Japanese community on the West Coast—the indistinguishable features of its members to whites, or the purported cohesiveness and inscrutability of Orientals—made the prospect of sabotage among Japanese a vital military problem. Sabotage among German-Americans or Italian-Americans, on the other hand, was a routine intelligence matter. This assumption seems based almost exclusively on racist stereotypes.

Reflecting on the Japanese episode, Warren probably confronted the element of racial and ethnic stereotyping in his own thought. When he wrote the Court’s opinion in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, Warren made no overt reference to, or repudiation of, the Japanese episode: at that time, and at least as late as 1962, he did not see Brown as contradicting the relocation policy. Nonetheless, Warren began to realize, with the Brown case, that racial segregation in public schools was based on stereotypes that were unfair, unequal, and offensive to his ideal of American life.

The ideals of racial harmony, equality, and civil liberties that Brown fostered guided Warren throughout his tenure as chief justice nothing he did in those years was inconsistent with his 1938 stand on civil rights. But the Japanese relocation decision was. In the 1970’s, having long ago learned the lessons of that inconsistency, Warren publicly acknowledged it. A man seemingly self-contained and resolute on the surface, Warren was capable of accommodation and growth within. Like much else in his life, however, he regarded his capacity to learn at his own expense, so decisive to his success, as his own affair.


Before holding these positions, Warren served as a district attorney for Alameda County, California and Attorney General of California. He is best known for the sweeping decisions of the Warren Court, which ended school segregation and transformed many areas of American law, especially regarding the rights of the accused, ending school prayer, and requiring "one-man-one vote" rules of apportionment. He made the Court a power center on a more even base with Congress and the presidency especially through four landmark decisions: Brown v. Board of Education (1954), Gideon v. Wainwright (1963), Reynolds v. Sims (1964), and Miranda v. Arizona (1966).

As governor of California, Warren was very popular Republican and popular across party lines, so much so that in the 1946 gubernatorial election he won the nominations of the Democratic, Progressive, and Republican parties and was reelected virtually without opposition. His tenure as Chief Justice was as divisive as his governorship was unifying. Liberals generally hailed the landmark rulings issued by the Warren Court which affected, among other things, the legal status of racial segregation, civil rights, separation of church and state, and police arrest procedure in the United States. In the years that followed, the Warren Court became recognized as a high point in the use of judicial power in the effort to effect social progress in the United States. Warren himself became widely regarded as one of the most influential Supreme Court justices in the history of the United States and perhaps the single most important jurist of the 20th century.

In addition to the constitutional offices he held, Warren was also the vice-presidential nominee of the Republican Party in 1948, and chaired the Warren Commission, which was formed to investigate the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Scholars agree that as a judge, Warren does not rank with intellectual giants such as Louis Brandeis, Hugo Black, or William Brennan in terms of jurisprudence. His opinions were not always clearly written, and his legal logic was often muddled. His strength lay in his clear vision that the Constitution embodied natural rights that could not be denied to the citizenry and that the Supreme Court had a special role in protecting those rights.

Political conservatives attacked his judicial activism as inappropriate and have called for courts to be deferential to the elected political branches. Political liberals sometimes admit that the Warren Court went too far in some areas, but insist that most of its controversial decisions struck a responsive chord in the nation and have become embedded in the law.

Earl Warren was born in Los Angeles, California, on March 19, 1891 to Methias H. Warren, a Norwegian immigrant, and Crystal Hernlund, a Swedish immigrant. Methias Warren was a longtime employee of the Southern Pacific Railroad. After the father was blacklisted for joining in a strike, the family moved to Bakersfield, California, in 1894, where the father worked in a railroad repair yard, and the son had summer jobs in railroading. Warren always recalled how big corporations could dominate the lives of their employees and how powerless minority members were when faced with discrimination.


Contents list

Expand/collapse Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978

VOLUME 1. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 1

A. Wayne Amerson: Northern California and its challenges to a negro in the mid-1900s, an interview conducted by Joyce Henderson with an introduction by Henry G. Ziesenhenne. (Berkeley: Regional Oral History Office, University of California, 1974.)

VOLUME 2. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 1

Bee perspectives of the Warren era: interviews, conducted by Amelia R. Fry, June C. Hogan. ([Berkeley]: Bancroft Library, University of California/Berkeley, Regional Oral History Office, Earl Warren Oral History Project, c1976.) CONTENTS: Rodda, R. From the Capitol Press Room.--Phillips, H. L. Perspective of a political reporter.--Jones, W. P. An editor's long friendship with Earl Warren.

VOLUME 3. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 1

Arthur H. Breed, Jr.: Alameda County and the California legislature, 1935-1958: an interview, conducted by Gabrielle Morris. (Berkeley, Calif.: Regional Oral History Office, Bancroft Library, University of California, Earl Warren Oral History Project, 1977.)

VOLUME 4. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 1

California Democrats in the Earl Warren era: interviews, conducted by Amelia R. Fry. ([Berkeley]: Bancroft Library, University of California/Berkeley, Regional Oral History Office, Earl Warren Oral History Project, c1976.) CONTENTS: Clifton, F. California Democrats, 1934-1950.--Clifton, R. The Democratic Party, Culbert L. Olson, and the Legislature.--Kent, R. A Democratic leader looks at the Warren era.--Outland, G. James Roosevelt's primary campaign, 1950.--Post, L. James Roosevelt's Northern California campaign, 1950.--Roosevelt, J. Campaigning for governor against Earl Warren, 1950.--Volume appendix: Selected documents.

VOLUME 5. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 1

California state finance in the 1940s: interviews, conducted by Gabrielle Morris with an introd. by Stanley Scott. ([Berkeley]: Bancroft Library, University of California/Berkeley, Regional Oral History Office, Earl Warren Oral History Project, c1974.) CONTENTS: Links, F. An overview of the Department of Finance.--Groff, E. Some details of public revenue and expenditure in the 1940s.--Killion, G. Observations on Culbert Olson, Earl Warren, and money matters in public affairs.--Post, A. A. Watchdog on state spending.--Leake, P. Statement on the Board of Equalization.

VOLUME 6. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 1

Oliver J. Carter: a leader in the California Senate and the Democratic Party, 1940-1950, interviews conducted by Amelia Fry, Malca Chall. (Berkeley: University of California, Bancroft Library, Regional Oral History Office, 1979.)

VOLUME 7. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 1

Hunting, politics, and the Fish and Game Commission, Edwin L. Carty an interview conducted by Amelia R. Fry. (Berkeley: Regional Oral History Office, Bancroft Library, University of California, 1975.)

VOLUME 8. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 1

Ford A. Chatters (1896-1974): view from the Central Valley: the California Legislature, water, politics, and the State Personnel Board: an interview, conducted by Amelia R. Fry. ([Berkeley]: Bancroft Library, University of California/Berkeley, Regional Oral History Office, Earl Warren Oral History Project, c1976.)

VOLUME 9. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 1

C. L. Dellums, International President of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, and civil rights leader: an interview, conducted by Joyce Henderson with an introd. by Tarea Hall Pittman. (Berkeley: Regents of the University of California, 1973.)

VOLUME 10. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 2

Earl Warren and health insurance, 1943-1949, interviews conducted by Gabrielle Morris. (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California, Bancroft Library / Berkeley, Regional Oral History Office, c1971.) CONTENTS: Pioneering in prepaid group medicine / Russel VanArsdale Lee.--Shepherding health insurance bills through the California legislature / Byrl R. Salsman.--The making of a legislative committee study / Gordon Claycombe.--California Medical Association crusade against compulsory state health insurance / John W. Cline.

VOLUME 11. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 2

Earl Warren and the State Department of Mental Hygiene, Interviews conducted by Gabrielle Morris. (Berkeley, Ca.: University of California, Berkeley. Bancroft Library. Regional Oral History Office, 1973.) CONTENTS: Tallman, F. F. Dynamics of change in State Mental Institutions.--Hume, P. B. Mother of community mental health services.

VOLUME 12. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 2

Earl Warren and the state Department of Public Health, interviews conducted by Gabrielle Morris with an introd. by E.S. Rogers. (Berkeley: University of California, Bancroft Library, Regional Oral History Office, c1973.) CONTENTS: A director reminisces / M.H. Merrill.--Environmental pollution control / F.M. Stead.--Recollections of the Bureau of Sanitary Engineering / H. Ongerth.--Mental health concepts / K.A. Zimmerman.--Public health advocates and issues / L. Arnstein.

VOLUME 13. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 2

Earl Warren and the Youth Authority, interviews conducted by Gabrielle Morris, Robert Knutson, Rosemary Levenson with an introduction by Allen F. Breed. (Berkeley: University of California, Regional Oral History Office, Bancroft Library, c1972.)

VOLUME 14. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 2

Earl Warren as executive: social welfare and state parks: interviews, conducted by Rosemary Levenson, Amelia R. Fry. (Berkeley: Bancroft Library, University of California/Berkeley, Regional Oral History Office, Earl Warren Oral History Project, c1977.) CONTENTS: Charles Irwin Schottland: state director of social welfare, 1950-1954.--Newton B. Drury: A conservationist comments on Earl Warren and Harold Ickes.

VOLUME 15. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 2

Earl Warren: fellow constitutional officers: interviews, conducted by Amelia Fry in 1969, 1971, 1972, and 1975. (Berkeley, Calif.: Regional Oral History Office, Bancroft Library, University of California, Earl Warren Oral History Project, 1979.) CONTENTS: Edmund G. Brown, Sr.: The governor's lawyer.--Robert W. Kenny: California Attorney General and the 1946 gubernatorial campaign.--Thomas H. Kuchel: California state controller.

VOLUME 16. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 2

Earl Warren: the Chief Justiceship, interviews conducted by Amelia Fry, Mortimer Schwartz, Miriam Stein. (Berkeley, Calif.: Regional Oral History Office, Bancroft Library, University of California, c1977.) CONTENTS: Earl Warren's appointment to the Supreme Court / Herbert Brownell.--Earl Warren's inquiry into Talmudic law / Louis Finkelstein.--Earl Warren's appointment to the Supreme Court / James C. Hagerty.--Working in the Supreme Court: comments on court, Brown decision, Warren and other justices / William W. Oliver.--Law clerk for Chief Justice Warren, 1956-57 / Martin F. Richman.--Eisenhower, the 1952 Republican convention, and Earl Warren / Harold Stassen.--Letter regarding Earl Warren's court appointment, November 15, 1972 / M.F. Small.

VOLUME 17. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 2

Earl Warren: the governor's family: interviews, conducted by Amelia Fry and Miriam Feingold Stein. (Berkeley, Calif.: Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, Regional Oral History Office, Earl Warren Oral History Project, 1980.) CONTENTS: Notes from the California first lady / Nina Palmquist Warren.--Recollections of the eldest Warren son / James Warren.--California politics / Earl Warren, Jr.--Growing up in the Warren family / Nina Warren Brier.--Playing, hunting, and talking / Robert Warren.

VOLUME 18. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 3

Earl Warren, views and episodes: interviews, conducted by Willa K. Baum . [et al.] (Berkeley: Bancroft Library, University of California/Berkeley, Regional Oral History Office, Earl Warren Oral History Project, c1976.) CONTENTS: Schools, the PTA, and the State Board of Education / M. Hale.--University of California crises: loyalty oath and free speech movement / Clark Kerr.--State and industry interests in taxation, and observations of Earl Warren / A. Kragen.--Governor Warren, the Knowlands, and Columbia State Park / G.B. McConnell.--California's Olson-Warren era migrants and social welfare / C. McWilliams.--Recollections of masonic brother Earl Warren / E.H. Siems.

VOLUME 19. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 3

Earl Warren's Bakersfield, interviews conducted by Amelia R. Fry, Willa K. Baum, and Orville Armstrong. (Berkeley: University of California, Bancroft Library, Regional Oral History Office, c1971.) CONTENTS: Earl Warren's Bakersfield / M. Ashe and R.S. Henley.--Coming of age in Bakersfield / O. Cavins.--Schooldays in Bakersfield / F.E. Vaughan.--A reporter recollects the Warren case / R. Kreiser.--On Methias Warren / M. Martin and E. McMillan.

VOLUMES 20,21,22. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 3

Earl Warren's campaigns: interviews, conducted by Amelia R. Fry, June C. Hogan. ([Berkeley]: Bancroft Library, University of California/Berkeley, Regional Oral History Office, Earl Warren Oral History Project, c1976-c1978.) Vols. 2-3: interviews conducted by Amelia R. Fry.

VOLUME 23. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 3

California Republicans, 1934-1953, McIntyre Faries an interview conducted by Amelia R. Fry and Elizabeth Kerby. (Berkeley: University of California, The Bancroft Library, Regional Oral History Office, 1973.)

VOLUME 24. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 3

The governor and the public, the press, and the Legislature: interviews, conducted by Amelia Fry and Gabrielle Morris. ([Berkeley]: Bancroft Library, University of California/Berkeley, Regional Oral History Office, Earl Warren Oral History Project, c1973.) CONTENTS: Gallagher, M. Administrative procedures in Earl Warren's office, 1938-1953.--Scoggins, V. Observations on California affairs by Governor Earl Warren's Press Secretary.--Vasey, B. Governor Warren and the Legislature.

VOLUME 25. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 3

Richard Perrin Graves, theoretician, advocate and candidate in California state government: an interview, conducted by Gabrielle Morris. ([Berkeley]: Bancroft Library, University of California/Berkeley, Regional Oral History Office, Earl Warren Oral History Project, c1973.)

VOLUME 26. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 3

Hunting and fishing with Earl Warren: interviews, conducted by Amelia R. Fry. (Berkeley: Bancroft Library, University of California/Berkeley, Regional Oral History Office, Earl Warren Oral History Project, c1976.) CONTENTS: Bartley Cavanaugh: a mutual interest in government, politics, and sports.--Wallace Lynn: hunting and baseball companion.

VOLUME 27. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 4

Emily H. Huntington: a career in consumer economics and social insurance: an interview, conducted by Alice Green King with an introd. by Charles A. Gulick. ([Berkeley]: Bancroft Library, University of California/ Berkeley, Regional Oral History Office, Earl Warren Oral History Project, 1971.)

VOLUME 28. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 4

Enforcing the law against gambling, bootlegging, graft, fraud, and subversion, 1922-1942, Oscar J. Jahnsen an interview conducted by Alice King and Miriam Feingold Stein. (Berkeley: Regional Oral History Office, University of California, 1976.)

VOLUMES 29,30. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 4

Japanese-American relocation reviewed: interviews, conducted by Rosemary Levenson, Amelia Fry, [and] Miriam Feingold Stein with an introd. by Mike M. Masaoka. (Berkeley: University of California, Bancroft Library, Regional Oral History Office, 1976.) CONTENTS: v. 1. Decision and exodus. --v.2. The internment.

VOLUME 31. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 4

Labor leaders view the Warren era: interviews [of] Robert S. Ash, Cornelius J. Haggerty, conducted by Mirim Feingold Stein and Amelia R. Fry with introductions by George W. Johns. (Berkeley: University of California, Bancroft Library, Regional Oral History Office, Earl Warren Oral History Project, 1976.)

VOLUME 32. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 4

Labor looks at Earl Warren: interviews, Germain Bulcke . [et al.] conducted by Frank Jones. (Berkeley: University of California, Bancroft Library, Regional Oral History Office, Earl Warren Oral History Project, 1970.)

VOLUME 33. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 4

Richard Allen McGee: participant in the evolution in American corrections, 1931-1973: an interview, conducted by Amelia Fry and Mortimer Schwartz. ([Berkeley, Calif.]: Bancroft Library, University of California/Berkeley, Regional Oral History Office, Earl Warren Oral History Project, c1976.)

VOLUME 34. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 4

Careers in mining geology and management, university governance and teaching, Donald H. McLaughlin with an introd. by Charles Meyer an interview conducted by Harriet Nathan. (Berkeley, Calif.: Bancroft Library, University of California/Berkeley, Regional Oral History Office, c1975.)

VOLUME 35. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 4

Helen R. MacGregor: a career in public service with Earl Warren: interviews, conducted by Amelia Fry, June Hogan, and Gabrielle Morris with an introd. by Earl Warren. ([Berkeley]: University of California, Bancroft Library/Berkeley, Regional Oral History Office, Earl Warren Oral History Program, c1973.)

VOLUME 36. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 5

Warren Olney III: law enforcement and judicial administration in the Earl Warren era: interviews, conducted by Miriam F. Stein and Amelia R. Fry, 1970 through 1977 with an introd. by Herbert Brownell. (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, Earl Warren Oral History Project, 1981.)

VOLUME 37. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 5

Edgar James Patterson: governor's mansion aide to prison counselor: an interview, conducted by Amelia R. Fry with an introd. by Merrell F. Small. (Berkeley: Bancroft Library, University of California/Berkeley, Regional Oral History Office, Earl Warren Oral History Project, c1975.)

VOLUMES 38,39,40. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 5

Perspectives on the Alameda County District Attorney's office, interviews conducted by Miriam Feingold and Amelia R. Fry with an introduction by Arthur H. Sherry. (Berkeley: University of California, Regional Oral History Office, Bancroft Library, 1972-1974.)

VOLUME 41. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 5

NAACP official and civil rights worker, Tarea Hall Pittman with an introd. by C.L. Dellums an interview conducted by Joyce Henderson. (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California, Earl Warren Oral History Project, 1974.)

VOLUME 42. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 5

Law enforcement, race relations, 1930-1960, Robert B. Powers with an introduction by Robert W. Kenny. (Berkeley: University of California, c1971.)

VOLUME 43. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 5

Richard M. Nixon in the Warren era [interviews with] Frank E. Jorgensen, Roy Day, John W. Dinkelspiel, Earl Adams [and] Roy P. Crocker. (Berkeley, Calif.: Regional Oral History Office, Bancroft Library, 1980.)

VOLUME 44. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 5

William Byron Rumford, legislator for fair employment, fair housing, and public health: an interview, conducted by Joyce A. Henderson, Amelia Fry, Edward France with an introd. by A. Wayne Amerson. ([Berkeley]: Bancroft Library, University of California/ Berkeley, Regional Oral History Office, Earl Warren Oral History Project, c1973.)

VOLUME 45. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 5

The Alameda County District Attorney's Office and the California Crime Commission: an interview, conducted by Miriam Feingold and Amelia Fry. (Berkeley: Bancroft Library, University of California/Berkeley, Regional Oral History Office, Earl Warren Oral History Project, c1976.)

VOLUME 46. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 6

The shipboard murder case: labor, radicalism, and Earl Warren, 1936-1941, interviews conducted by Miriam Feingold Stein. ([Berkeley]: Bancroft Library, Regional Oral History Office, University of California/Berkeley, c1976.)

VOLUME 47. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 6

Merrell Farnham Small, Departmental Secretary, the Office of the Governor under Earl Warren: interviews, conducted by Amelia R. Fry and Gabrielle S. Morris. ([Berkeley]: University of California, Bancroft Library/Berkeley, Regional Oral History Office, Earl Warren Oral History Project, c1972.)

VOLUME 47A. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 6

Swiegert, William T. (1900-1983)

VOLUME 48,49,50. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 6

Paul Schuster Taylor, California social scientist: an interview, conducted by Suzanne B. Riess with an introd. by Laurence I. Hewes, Jr. ([Berkeley]: Bancroft Library, University of California/Berkeley, Regional Oral History Office, Earl Warren Oral History Project, c1973-c1975.) CONTENTS: v. 1. Education, field research, and family.--v. 2-3. California water and agricultural labor.

VOLUME 51. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 6

Conversations with Earl Warren on California government: interviews, conducted in 1971 and 1972 by Amelia R. Fry and members of the Regional Oral History staff with an introduction by Ira Michael Heyman. ([Berkeley]: Regional Oral History Office, Bancroft Library, University of California/Berkeley, Earl Warren Oral History Project, c1982.)

VOLUME 52. #12011, Series: "Earl Warren Oral History Project Transcripts, 1969-circa 1978" Box 6

The Warrens: four personal views, interviews conducted by Amelia R. Fry, Miriam Feingold, Wendy Won. (Berkeley, Calif.: Bancroft Library, University of California/Berkley, Regional Oral History Office, c1976.) CONTENTS: Earl Warren job hunting at the legislature / Horace Albright. --Earl Warren's friend and biographer / Irving and Jean Stone.--Secretary to two Warrens / Betty Foot Henderson.--Shared social concerns / Benjamin H. Swig.


The Murder of Warren's Father

And the first contact that I recall having with him that amounted to anything was when his father was murdered here in Bakersfield. He flew down that night with his own investigators, his own reporters, and various others that Sunday night. I believe it was a Sunday night, although it was over thirty years ago, and if you've dealt with a hundred murders you don't isolate one and remember details much. But he came in that night with his people and Oscar Jahnsen, who was his chief of detectives in the district attorney's office, the chief investigator, and we had a conference. And the result of the conference was -- I don't know whether it was arrived at through consultation or through my hardheadedness -- that I was to be in charge of the investigation and run it myself, and nobody else. I don't know how that came about, but there were some strange things happening there. One was that with the law enforcement officers throughout the state, having a feeling for Warren, all wanted to come help. They came from Los Angeles and other places, the Los Angeles sheriff's office and other places they wanted to come help on the investigation.

Well, this can make one hell of a mess -- people that you don't have control over. So I

The other point was, here was Earl Warren, who was getting ready to run for attorney general or had already declared himself, and everybody wanted him to be attorney general. And supposedly he was living affluently in Alameda County, and here was this poor old shack of a house that his father lived in, and the backyard was practically a junkyard, and it looked as if he were in poverty. Now this is what we get at first glance. I hadn't even known that Matt Warren lived I wasn't interested in him. But this is the first picture. Now, this is going to hurt Earl Warren, you see, letting his poor old father live like that. Then, as it developed, it turned out the old father had a lot of property, about $175,000 worth it turned out, and was living as he did through choice.

My figures on his property, according to John Weaver, are that he left an estate of $177,653.

I missed it a little over $2,000.

Pretty good, after all these years.

Here then -- can you picture that? Some people regarded Earl Warren's father as an old hermit miser type while owning a lot of cheap property and preying on poor tenants, a landlord type. All of these factors became involved, and we were concerned with catching the murderer, yes, but we were also concerned with Warren's political career.

I want to back up and ask you about the officers who volunteered from other areas. Did they actually stay and work, or did you manage to encourage them to go back home?

No. They stayed and worked for a few days, until they saw that it was going to be a long, continuing investigation and a lot of damned hard work. And then they decided they were too busy elsewhere.

Well, they had their own jobs to return to, didn't they?

They had their own jobs too, but if they could have come in quick and been in on the kill, it'd have helped them. It'd have helped everybody it'd have made them special friends with Earl Warren.

The investigation, I think I had about 25 men working on it exclusive of anything else. I had about six stenographers working on the record. So I had everything that anybody could ever hope for in the way of an investigation. Oftentimes you have a good excuse for not solving a crime. Hell, you haven't got time. You have a murder, and then there are two more murders and a stick-up and so forth, and you just have to hit it here and there. But here I turned the police department over to an assistant chief, Grayson, who is dead now, and I devoted my entire time to this investigation. And the result was that we didn't catch anybody, and if we'd caught anybody I should have gotten the credit for it. If there's any blame for failure, I'm the only one responsible. And I was concerned about the responsibility because I knew it might destroy a man lower than me in the police department, a chief of detectives or somebody, if he headed it and didn't make it. You see, then there'd be the criticism and so forth that might be difficult.

In any event, what happened -- nobody else knows -- the investigation -- and so forth like I do, because each investigator dealt with one aspect of it, and he interviewed one person. I had to coordinate the whole thing, send them back to do certain things, recheck and so forth. It was a robbery. A man came to his house, a prowler I believe, looking for what, I don't know. Anyway, he picked up a piece of pipe in the backyard, hadn't brought a weapon with him, went in through the back door. Matt Warren was counting his money and checking his receipts he'd been out collecting rents. The man hit him over the head with the pipe, grabbed the papers and the money, and left, walked up the street separating papers and money. He did make a mistake and dropped one five dollar bill, which we picked up the next morning or during the course of the investigation.

You said "since then" this has come up. Did this not come up as a possibility at the time? I was wondering if a conspiracy theory was something that you had to deal with, since Earl Warren was a political candidate.

Well, there may have been some such talk, but it wasn't very strong. But there have been a few books written about this in the realm of fantasy. But robbery resulting in murder was it.

But at that time you didn't have any pressure to investigate the political aspects of this?

No. I was pretty free from pressure by that time. I had developed my own position. I did what I wanted to.

I mean were you aware of others, particularly pro-Warren people wanting an investigation into whether this was a conspiracy to discourage Warren from running, or something like that?

I'm sure there was some such talk there are always crackpots. There were people who didn't want us to investigate too deeply. There was one leading citizen, a friend of Warren's, who didn't want us to investigate too deeply certain aspects of Matt Warren's relationship to his tenants because he thought it might develop something that would be adverse to Warren. I am sure even in those days there were those who thought it a conspiracy to injure Warren, or something like that, but pretty far-fetched, pretty ridiculous.

The thing about the investigation was that Warren did not in any way -- now he was in a strong position, he had status in law enforcement -- criticize or do anything except turn the thing completely over to me, and seemingly was completely satisfied. Whereas, since his father was concerned,

The newspapermen throughout the state, of course, flocked in from all over the place, and here was a small town cop involved in press conferences about twice a day, trying to decide what to tell them and what not to tell them. But they were generally very favorable to -- now this is a strange thing to say in a murder case, but there were the political implications whether you accept them or not -- and the reporters were favorable they liked Earl Warren. People like Earl Warren.

They were favorable to whom?

To him, to Earl Warren. The press seemed to want to do everything they could do for him.

So you mean they didn't press for embarrassing details?

They didn't press for embarrassing detail in relationship to Matt Warren. An example of that was the district attorney and I and Earl Warren were up in a room in a hotel one morning, and the place was crowded with reporters. I don't know what all they wanted to ask. But while I think three of us -- the district attorney and Warren and Tom Scott and I were sitting on a bed and the reporters were all around, some question came up which I can't recall, and Earl Warren broke down and started crying. And of course instantly and without premeditation or anything like that, a cameraman snapped a picture. Instantly all of the reporters turned on this man and took the camera away from him and took the film out and exposed it to the light.

The reporters themselves. Nobody actually said anything. They knew that this lacked delicacy, catching a person in grief. This was to me a very interesting fact.

Their group action was not typical reporter behavior for that period, would you say?

No. It was anything else but! The cameraman taking the picture explained, "He said to take any picture of anything that happened naturally." But instantly they didn't want anything that was indelicate insofar as Earl was concerned. It's a very strange thing that a man like him, as good a man as he was, could get so much genuine affection from a bunch of bastards who weren't good.

[Laughter] That's a marvelous quotation.

I wanted to ask you about a point on this investigation. In one of the books I've read, they talk about the suspect which Oscar Jahnsen was and still is convinced of as the guilty person. But they said that the whole thing was called off when they found out that he had been questioned for several hours at a stretch in this process that you mentioned earlier that was so typical in those days. And Warren or Jahnsen then called off further investigation of this man. Do I have that story right?

I haven't read the book. People have told me about it a number of times, but I'm not interested in this. But apparently, you see we were arresting suspects all over the place -- everybody, anybody -- maybe there were twenty, thirty, forty, I don't know, and different teams, usually a local police officer and an out of town police officer would question these people. But they were brought in. A number of arrests were made on suspicion at that time, which is a fantastic thing in these days but wasn't then. And apparently Oscar's team had questioned this man. Then they'd gone out to check his story, and before they got back to him two other officers had taken the suspect on. I was satisfied at the time there was not enough evidence to charge him. Oscar may have thought differently. I don't have a clear and independent recollection of it.

Well, Oscar had, and no doubt still has, his opinion as to who committed the murder. And no doubt he would have handled the investigation in a different manner from what I did. But then some one of the many officers who worked on the case has a varying opinion. As to Warren or Jahnsen having called off further investigation of any man, neither was in a position to do so. And had either done so over a concern for the suspect's civil rights, it would seem to me that he would have been out of character. And any such action would have raised a conflict with me which it is hard to believe that I should have completely forgotten. Warren's attitude over civil rights is hardly the same as Chief Justice of the United States as it was when he was a district attorney. Whatever had been learned from the first and subsequent questioning of this suspect, it certainly did not produce enough evidence to result in a complaint being filed.

(The following question and quotation were submitted to Mr. Powers after the interview, and he returned the answer in writing.)

Question: What about Oscar Jahnsen's statement in Leo Katcher's book, EARL WARREN, A POLITICAL BIOGRAPHY, page 102?

EARL WARREN: A POLITICAL BIOGRAPHY

sented someone being killed unreasonably. But you didn't have to bear the pain and hurt as something personal. This time, of course, it was different. But the boss told us all that we were investigating a murder and to act as we always did. There were rules to follow, rules he'd laid down a long time before. We were to go by those rules."

The investigation resulted in the bringing in of a number of suspects: A ne'er-do-well who had some bloodstains on his shoes a suspect who had given a bartender a bill with what seemed to be blood splattered on it a bank depositor who gave some torn bills to a teller for deposit a homeless vagrant who was reported to have been seen near the Warren home on Niles Street.

We just kept on working, and then we picked up a man who seemed to fit. There were a dozen little things—things that meant something special. I was sure that we had our man. I questioned him and grew even more certain. I made notes on his story and then left him to check out facts which he had given me. Before I left, I told the others to let him alone.

Well, it took me a lot longer to look into the facts than I'd expected. What I came up with wasn't conclusive, but I felt that, with what I now knew, I might get a confession. I went back to where I'd left the suspect. When I got there, I found that they'd decided to question him themselves.

They had been working on him for hours. No food. A light working on him. They hadn't touched him, of course. They knew better than that. But they'd been breaking him down, one after the other. By the time I got there, he was on the verge of collapse. I blew my top. I said to them that they'd blown the case. I told them that Earl Warren would never stand for a confession that was extorted from a suspect.

That was it. I was morally certain then—and I'm just as certain now—that we had the right man, but I couldn't put together enough evidence to make an ironclad case against him. I knew that Earl Warren would never let them try a man on evidence that wasn't riveted. He loved his father and he wanted his murderer found, but he wouldn't break any of his rules or take advantage of his position even to convict the guilty man if he couldn't do it with solid evidence that was legally obtained.

The investigation finally ended. After the confession fiasco, Jahnsen devoted his time to the one suspect. He told Warren what he felt and what he had done. "The boss said I'd done the right thing," Jahnsen said.

The case is still marked "Open" in the books of Kern County.

Answer: There were possibly 20 officers working on the case. They represented 6 agencies beside our own Bakersfield police inspectors (detectives). I, and I alone was in charge. Routine department operations were turned over to assistant chief Grayson. Oscar Jahnsen was one of the officers and he worked on a variety of assignments.

Now it is obvious that integrating these officers (of various abilities) into an investigative team required my using a heavy hand to establish my authority. I may say that neither the local D.A., the sheriff, nor Earl Warren indicated any desire to assume that responsibility.

Oscar's statement that we worked under "rules. [Warren] had laid down a long time before" must mean that my own policies and "rules" must have been identical with those of Warren. Because I was totally unaware that any such rules existed.

An important aspect of the conduct of this investigation was to protect an officer working on some detail of the case from interference by other officers. There is an unwritten law among police that when a suspect is being questioned, no one else interferes without being asked to do so.

Oscar and some other officer was questioning and checking the story of a suspect who was in custody. Other officers -- I think two and Oscar thinks four, but none from the Bakersfield police -- did take over the questioning without being assigned to do so, and improperly. Oscar regards their methods as "third degree." I don't recall that I was aware of this at the time. Nevertheless, I was displeased at their interference in questioning Oscar's suspect and I made my displeasure known. They decided to "go home."

Oscar's opinion that the suspect was guilty and that he, Oscar, could have gotten a confession had there been no interference is, in my mind, a matter of speculation. This is something which can never be determined so it's not worth my questioning.

There is implied criticism of me and the Bakersfield police. This I regard as that of the book's author, not Jahnsen. I have Oscar's word that no criticism was intended, and that he had high regard for me and the department of those days. My relationship with both Oscar and Earl Warren over the ensuing years was warm and mutually respectful.

To my knowledge and recollection none of us ever developed enough evidence (1) to file a complaint,

The investigation failed. If anyone chooses to assess blame it is, or should be, mine alone.

From the total evidence it is my opinion that the motive was robbery and that murder was not deliberately intended. Either we never had the robber-murderer in custody, or if we did, we simply were unable to develop evidence against him.

One final point of interest is that Katcher never interviewed me and that his account of the Matt Warren murder investigation and that of John Weaver, who did so, are very different.

To speculate on what would have happened if -- and if -- may be amusing, but it produces nothing worth-while. Also, memory plays tricks on us. There's the fact of rationalizing and of forgetting one's own errors. Nevertheless, this case was far from being prominent in my life. In my articles for the Saturday Evening Post and in my brief history of the Bakersfield Police Department, I didn't think it worthy of being mentioned. After all, what makes this case of interest now has to do with extraordinary development and attainments of Earl Warren. At the time of the murder he was but a lawyer who happened to be a district attorney. The case holds no interest for me. If it did I should have, long ago, reviewed the file on it, which I never intend to do.

Hatred, envy, jealousy or any of a number of motives may have been behind the killing. But Matt Warren was not killed instantly, neither does a single blow over the head normally cause death. Those who are raised on detective stories can have a good time with this murder. In the fictional accounts the one least likely is always the killer but in real life, obvious motive and guilt count for more.

Not everybody has a loyal butler. [Laughter] It must make it tough on the police force.

Anyway, we continued the investigation for a long time and went into a wealth of detail and, as I say, we didn't get anybody. It's an unsolved case. My thought, which has no basis in evidence whatever, was that there were a lot of people who rented cheap

These were the Okies escaping from the Dust Bowl?

Okies-escaping-from-the-Dust-Bowl type people. Now as I say, there's no evidence to prove this, but I always felt it very possible that some fellow from Texas stopped in to see a relative, and they might have talked about this old landlord who was so rich, as a starter, and he thought, "Well, I'll go collect a little money before I go on my way."

Oh. Just a transient who was here and then gone.

Just a transient. Yet I could have been the one that did it anybody could have been, as long as you don't catch him. So this Jahnsen suspect is just something that has just about as much value.6

Did Bakersfield have a lot of Okies in it then?

John Steinbeck got rich with The Grapes of Wrath writing about Bakersfield.

Oh, I'd forgotten that was really Bakersfield.

They did present a law enforcement problem, then, for the police?

No. They didn't present any law enforcement problem. The goddam politicians and the Chamber of Commerce presented the problem, because they wanted them driven out and oppressed and pushed around. You see what I mean? These were not evil people in any sense of the word. They were desperately poor, starving people. But, shortly before then and during this time there was an exodus of people like Pretty Boy Floyd and Dillinger and so forthe who came out of there, but that wasn't the typical person at all.

One interesting thing happened afterwards that I think is worth mentioning because it's indicative of what Warren came to be after he got on the Supreme Court -- he wasn't in 1938 but he came to be. Among our suspects was a man who had been in Bakersfield or could have been here at this time but had since been convicted of another crime and was in San Quentin. And I wanted to put a stool pigeon in the cell with him and wire the cell for sound with a dictaphone. But I thought to do so would have required Warren's help to get it put over with the warden and so forth. I might have done it without Warren's help, but I didn't think so at the time I thought it'd be easier, and I thought it was a perfectly logical thing to do and I saw no objection to it at all because my morals are very shaky anyway they always have been. Anyway, with reference to the idea of, "bugging," I think we call it now, the cell and putting a stool pigeon or an informer in with this prisoner, I brought the subject up to Oscar. But this was after everybody had left, and our police department was still running down the last leads, and I guess Oscar came down. He was in and out. And he said, "I don't think it would work. I don't think Earl Warren would go for that."

And I said, "Well, why the hell not? What's wrong with that?"

And he said, "No, I don't think so. He doesn't like dictaphones."

And I said, "Well, check with him. It's a possibility. It's his father."

And so Oscar apparently checked with Warren, and Warren's answer was, "I don't believe in dictaphones." Period. And he wouldn't permit it or assist us in doing this. Even though his father was killed, this was something he didn't do. This is an indication of an idea of rights showing up from the depths of his being. And I thought this was a very interesting thing, because most people when families, close ones, are involved, their ethics or principles tend to shade in various directions.

Yes. That's interesting. That was about the time of one of the first Supreme Court decisions, as I remember, on the admissibility of secretly recorded evidence in the courtrooms.

Well, that incident I'm telling you is while Warren was still district attorney.

Yes, 1938, before he became attorney general.

Yes. But this Supreme Court decision, or the matter of illegally developed evidence hadn't, as I recall, come up any place then. It was the first time I'd ever heard anybody object to underhanded methods that we generally and proudly used to catch criminals.

You mean this was a new experience to you?

It was a new idea to find this quality of integrity, which was unusual for me, because mine didn't embrace that type of thinking at that time.

In this investigation did you see any other aspects of the future Earl Warren? Did you have any cause to notice racial attitudes?

I never saw that, and I never saw an indication that he was interested in minority groups or their problems. I never saw an indication except this one: that he was interested in, shall I say, oppressed people. I just never had occasion to see it. It certainly was latent, but it wasn't overt. Because he was primarily -- and this is the peculiar thing about the man -- he was honest, so honest it's unbelievable. I suppose all honesty is relative and integrity is a relative thing, but here it's hard to deal in relativity because I never saw any shade of dishonesty in the man in an atmosphere, in a milieu where dishonesty, you see, subterfuge and compromise are the tools of the politician. This is what makes them successful, and this wasn't a quality in him.

And yet we see him go to the Supreme Court later where politics is removed, this fine politician but tremendously honest, and as soon as you remove the pressure of politics then you see the real reality of the psyche showing through. It's fantastic. Who would have known? No one would have. Because, you

Was this how Earl Warren met you and got to know you?

I think this was the touch.

Before him there was an attorney general named U. S. Webb, who for some reason or other thought it would be a good idea to crack down on gambling, slot machines and so forth. And so he had a meeting in San Francisco of all police chiefs and sheriffs and told them they had to drive all slot machines and gambling devices of that kind out of their communities. It was an utterly ridiculous thing to say. They couldn't possibly do it and survive. As Kenny said one time or a number of times, "The first job of a police chief is to keep his job." And Webb had no sense about it.

Yet when Warren came in as attorney general he was concerned with cleaning up the state as much as he could, but doing it in a timely manner in full consideration of the police chiefs' and the sheriffs' problems incident to it and fully aware that a great many of them were crooks. So when he became attorney general, you began to see this different attitude. Instead of saying, "You must do this," his attitude was one of helpfulness, to assist us in doing things. And as he developed the office of attorney general to include a state Department of Justice, this became an agency to assist people. Warren had this idea and attitude.


Contents

The Warenne family derived their toponymic surname from the village of Varenne, river Varenne, near Arques-la-Bataille, Duchy of Normandy, now in the canton of Bellencombre, Seine Maritime. [1] [2] [3]

William de Warenne, 1st Earl of Surrey is accepted as having been son of a Norman named Ranulf de Warenne, [4] but the early Anglo-Norman chroniclers gave confusing and contradictory accounts of the origins and relatives of this family. In his additions to the Gesta Normannorum Ducum of William of Jumièges, chronicler Robert of Torigny reported that William de Warenne, 1st Earl of Surrey, and Anglo-Norman baron Roger of Mortemer were brothers, both sons of an unnamed niece of Gunnor, Duchess of Normandy, making the family akin to her great-grandson, William the Conqueror. Unfortunately, Robert's genealogies are somewhat confused, and he elsewhere makes Roger a son of William de Warenne, and yet again makes both the sons of Walter de Saint Martin. Likewise, several of the descents Robert gives for Gunnor's family appear to contain too few generations. [5] Orderic Vitalis describes William as Roger's consanguineus, literally "cousin" but more generically a term of close kinship that is not typically used to describe brothers, and Roger de Mortemer appears to have been a generation older than William de Warenne. [6] [5]

Charters report several earlier men associated with Warenne. A Radulf de Warenne appears in two charters, one dated between 1027 and 1035, with a second dating from about 1050 and also naming his wife, Beatrice. A Roger son of Radulf de Warenne appears in a charter dated 1040/1053. In 1059, a Radulf appears with his wife Emma and their sons Radulf and William. These occurrences have historically been interpreted as representing a single Radulf with successive wives, with Beatrice being the mother of William and hence identical to Gunnor's unnamed niece. [7] [8] However, the 1059 charter explicitly names Emma as William's mother. [5] A reevaluation of the evidence led Katherine Keats-Rohan to suggest that the traditional view has mistakenly compressed two distant men of the same name into a single chimeric individual. She sees the earliest known family members as Radulf (I) and his wife Beatrice. Associations with the village of Vascœuil led Keats-Rohan to identify the latter with a 1054/60 widow, Beatrice, daughter of Tesselin, vicomte of Rouen, and since another Rouen vicomte married a niece of Gunnor, this may represent the connection to the ducal family to which Robert de Torigny alluded. Keats-Rohan sees Radulf (I) and Beatrice as parents of a Radulf (II) and Roger de Mortimer, with Radulf (II) in turn being the 1059 husband of Emma and by her father of Radulf (III), the heir in Normandy, and Earl William. [5] [a]

William de Warenne, 1st Earl of Surrey (died 1088), fought for William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and after was made the first Earl of Surrey with land in Surrey and twelve other counties. [12] The family was based in Lewes, Sussex and had castles in Yorkshire, Normandy, and Reigate Castle in Surrey.

An account of the life of William de Warenne, 2nd Earl of Surrey (1088-1138) known as the Warenne Chronicle was written shortly after 1157, probably for his granddaughter Isabel de Warenne, Countess of Surrey and her husband William of Blois, Count of Boulogne. [13] He had a brother Ralph who joined in charters with the 1st and 2nd Earls in the 1130s and 1140s, including a donations to Longueville and Bellencombe Priories, near Rouen, Normandy, [14] and to the family's foundation, Lewes Priory in Sussex, England, the latter being secured with a lock of hair from his own and from Ralph's head cut by Henry of Blois, bishop of Winchester, before the altar of the priory church. [15]

The family held the Earldom of Surrey for three generations, before William de Warenne, 3rd Earl of Surrey, died on crusade in 1148, leaving an only daughter and heiress, who married successively William of Blois, the son of King Stephen, and Hamelin, illegitimate half-brother of king Henry II. The latter adopted the Warenne surname and give rise to a second line of Surrey Earls that lasted until the death of John de Warenne, 7th Earl of Surrey in 1347, when Surrey passed via his sister to the FitzAlan Earls of Arundel.

Esneval Edit

A likely brother of the 1st Earl of Surrey, another Rodulf, held lands that had been held by his father in the Pays de Caux and near Rouen. By 1172, these lands were in possession of Robert d'Esneval as a part of the barony of Esneval, and it is supposed that the family d'Esneval may derive from an heiress of this Rodulf's line. [16]

Whitchurch Edit

Among the holdings of William de Warenne, 1st Earl of Surrey was some land in Whitchurch, Shropshire, and this likely led to his kin becoming its early lords. [12] A William fitz Ranulf is recorded as the lord of Whitchurch, first appearing in 1176, and was ancestor of a family that sometimes were called de Warenne, along with de Whitchurch, de Blancminster, and de Albo Monasterio. [17] [18] Robert Eyton considered it likely that Ralph de Warenne, son of William de Warenne, 2nd Earl of Surrey, was the father of this William, and that Ralph had likely been lord before William fitz Ranulf. [19] It is known that Ralph de Warenne had a son named William, who confirmed and expanded a donation of Norfolk land that his father had made to made to Lewes Priory, [20] [21] and that the Whitchurch heirs likewise maintained an association with Lewes. [22] Writing in 1923, William Farrer agreed. [18] However, in a later publication Charles Travis Clay elaborated on Farrer's original work and drew attention to a Domesday tenant of William de Warenne, 1st Earl of Surrey, named Ranulf nepos (nephew). It does not specify of whom he was nephew, but Clay suggests it was his feudal overlord, Earl William. This Ranulf nepos held Middleton, Suffolk, which was later owned by William fitz Ranulf, Lord of Whitchurch, leading Clay to speculate that the Warennes of Whitchurch may instead have descended from this Domesday tenant rather than from the son of the 2nd Earl. [18] William, son of William fitz Ranulf of Whitchurch, left a sole daughter and heiress, from whom the Whitchurch inheritance passed to Robert l'Estrange. [23] Eyton suggested that Griffith de Warenne, the 13th century founder of the Warrens of Ightfield, Shropshire, was son of William fitz Ranulf de Warenne of Whitchurch. [24]

Wormegay Edit

Reginald de Warenne, younger brother of the 3rd Earl, married the heiress of Wormegay, Norfolk. His son William de Warenne of Wormegay was a royal justice under Richard I and John. After his death in 1209, Wormegay passed with his daughter to the Bardolf family. [25]

The Warenne Earls were called Earl de Warenne at least as often as Earl of Surrey but they received the 'third penny' of Surrey. This means that they were entitled to one third of the county court fines. The numbering of the earls follows the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography some sources number Isabel's husbands as the fourth and fifth earls, increasing the numbering of the later earls by one.


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