The Week Ahead in the Supreme Court–October 24, 2016

The Supreme Court will not hear any arguments this week. (It generally hears arguments two weeks each month between October and April.) As we wait for arguments to resume on October 31, some are speculating the eight-member Court is granting certiorari in fewer cases because of the justices’ concern about ties. But a column in the Washington Post suggests that the Court is also postponing hearing argument in cases it has already granted in the hopes that until after the Presidential election, a ninth member will be appointed to the Court. Particularly sparse is the two-week sitting that will begin Nov. 28. The Court is scheduled to hear only eight cases, down from the usual twelve. Moreover, three cases the court granted in January 2016, before Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, have yet to be scheduled for oral arguments, even though the court has already heard arguments in some cases that were granted months later.

The election is only two weeks away and CNN reports that some experts are gaming out a “doomsday scenario,” in which a candidate contests the election results in one state whose electoral votes are decisive. As in 2000, eventually the fate of the election would likely go to the Supreme Court. If the eight-member Court reached a tie in such a case, the justices would affirm an opinion from a lower court. But there would inevitably be calls for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to recuse herself because of comments she made about Donald Trump in the summer. (Justice Ginsburg called Trump a “faker,” with “no consistency.” ISCOTUS Co-Director Christopher Schmidt discussed her comments on this blog last summer.) Were she to do so, then the case might be decided by only seven justices.

In more heartwarming news, just a few days after the election Ruth Bader Ginsburg will make her opera debut. The Washington Post reports that Ginsburg will play the role of the Duchess of Krakenthorp on the opening night of “The Daughter of the Regiment” on November 12 at the Washington National Opera. The 83-year-old justice will not sing but will have some spoken lines.

Weekly Roundup—October 21, 2016

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With no oral arguments this week, the only news from the Supreme Court were the orders from last week’s Conference that the justices issued on Monday. They did not grant any new cases. One case in which they denied certiorari is Elmore v. Holbrook, in which a Washington man pled guilty to the rape and murder of his stepdaughter and was sentenced to death. Justice Sotomayor wrote a dissent to the cert denial, joined by Justice Ginsburg, in which she provided a lengthy argument that Elmore’s attorney did not do enough in defending his client. In particular, the defense lawyer failed to investigate and present evidence of the brain damage and cognitive deficits Elmore suffered as a result of exposure to toxins at a young age, evidence that he argued, and Justice Sotomayor agreed, should have been considered in his sentencing. Read more about Justice Sotomayor’s dissent on this blog and catch up on this week’s order list from Amy Howe of SCOTUSblog.

Of the cases the justices are still considering, perhaps the most closely watched is Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., a Virginia school board’s request to review a decision that requires the board to allow a transgender student to use the boys’ bathroom at his school.

Lyle Denniston of Constitution Daily wrote an interesting article this week on another pressing issue: the delayed confirmation of Merrick Garland. Denniston noted that federal law stipulates that the Court can perform its duties as long as there are six sitting Justices. Yet, with only eight Justices, the court is acting  cautiously when deciding to take on cases that may lead to a 4-4 vote, he noted, and thus allowing more lower courts decision to define the law of the land.

Justice Sotomayor provided her own insight into this issue on Monday. CBS News reports that Sotomayor has stated that it is much more difficult for the Justices to do their job without a court of nine, and deadlocked cases can leave an uneven ruling of law on pressing issues throughout the country.  On a more humorous note, Justice Sotomayor said that although Justice Scalia’s death was like that of losing a family member, “there are things he’s said on the bench where if I had a baseball bat, I might have used it.”

Finally, the Supreme Court was the first topic of discussion at Wednesday’s presidential candidate debate. Chris Wallace asked both candidates their view on the Court and how the Constitution should be interpreted. Both candidates described the types of justices they would seek, but largely focused on the issues of abortion and guns. Trump insisted his opponent was in favor of late-term abortions and opposed gun rights. Clinton defended Roe v. Wade and insisted that the Second Amendment allowed for reasonable regulation of guns.

This Day in Supreme Court History: October 19, 1789

On this day in 1789, John Jay took the oath to become the first Chief Justice of the United States.

Before being chosen by President George Washington to lead the newly formed Supreme Court, Jay was one of the leading figures of early American politics. During the Revolutionary War, he served as President of the Continental Congress and then traveled to Europe to serve as a diplomat for the new nation. Under the Articles of Confederation, he served as Secretary for Foreign Affairs. Along with James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, he helped make the case for ratification of the newly drafted Constitution in his essays in The Federalist.

In addition to the Chief Justice, the first Supreme Court had five associate justices: James Wilson, John Rutledge, William Cushing, John Blair, and James Iredell. Its first meeting took place on February 2, 1790, in the Merchants Exchange Building in New York City. It was, to put it mildly, uneventful: the justices had no cases to consider (they would not hear a case until 1791).  

The Jay Court heard only a handful of cases in its six-years. Perhaps its most significant was the case that helped convince Jay to leave the Court and return to political life. In Chisholm v. Georgia (1793), the Court interpreted Article III of the Constitution to allow individuals to sue states in federal court. The nation quickly reversed this unpopular ruling with the 11th amendment, which that Jay took as a challenge to the Court. He resigned from the Court in 1795. After serving two terms as the governor of New York, Jay retired from public life in 1801. President John Adams tried to persuade him to serve another term as Chief Justice, but Jay refused, explaining that he believed the Supreme Court lacked “energy, weight and dignity.” He died in 1829 at the age of 83.

Justice Sotomayor’s Death Penalty Dissent

This week is a quiet one at the Supreme Court. The justices will not hear any oral arguments and yesterday they released an Order List that included no new cases for the term’s docket. There was, however, one thing notable about this otherwise routine Order List: Justice Sotomayor, joined by Justice Ginsburg, issued a relatively rare dissent from a denial of certiorari.

Justices Sotomayor and Ginsburg took issue with the Court’s refusal to grant review in Elmore v. Holbrook, a capital case that came out of the 9th Circuit and had been relisted for conference since April 22, 2016. The case involves petitioner Clark Elmore who, after pleading guilty to charges of rape and aggravated murder, was sentenced to death. Elmore’s appointed counsel advised his client to plead guilty to the crimes in order to increase his chance at receiving a life sentence and then presented only a limited defense at sentencing. He chose to not pursue other mitigating factors in order to avoid potential rebuttals, and failed to object when Elmore was first introduced to his jury wearing shackles. The Washington Supreme Court and the lower federal courts all refused Elmore’s post-conviction appeal on the grounds of inadequate counsel.

“The Constitution demands more” than the defense Elmore’s attorney provided,. Justice Sotomayor wrote in her fifteen-page dissent. “His lawyer acted deficiently in choosing a mitigation strategy without fully exploring the alternatives and in failing to investigate the mitigation strategy that he did choose to present.” She wrote that she believes the Court should grant certiorari and reverse Elmore’s death sentence because his Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel had been violated.

In concluding her dissent, Justice Sotomayor noted the chorus of voices who believe the death penalty itself may be constitutionally infirm–including her colleague Justice Breyer in a 2015 opinion joined by Justice Ginsburg (but not Justice Sotomayor). She made clear that this case does not raise this fundamental issue, but then added that she believes “that whatever flaws do exist in our system can be tolerated only by remaining faithful to our Constitution’s procedural safeguards.”

Weekly Roundup—October 14, 2016

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On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard Samsung Electronics v. Apple, in which Apple accused Samsung of infringing on its design patents covering the iPhone’s look and shape. The lower court ordered Samsung to pay damages reflecting all of their profits on the infringing smartphones, not just the profits stemming from the design. Samsung’s attorney, Kathleen M. Sullivan, told the justices that customers buy smartphones because of their thousands of technological advances, not just the screen’s appearance. Chief Justice Roberts expressed skepticism. Since the design patents cover the “exterior case of the phone,” why should the award reflect profits “based on the entire price of the phone,” he asked. Other justices said they were uncertain of what to do about the total profit rule. “If I were a juror, I wouldn’t know what to do,” confessed Justice Kennedy. At the Washington Post, Robert Barnes predicted that the Court would reduce the damage award. Additional coverage of oral arguments can be found at the New York Times and CNBC.

Also on Tuesday the justices heard Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado, an appeal from a Colorado man who claims juror racial bias violated his right to a fair trial. A jury unanimously convicted Miguel Pena-Rodriguez of inappropriately touching teenage girls at a Denver-area horse race track. Two jurors said that a fellow juror believed Pena-Rodriguez was guilty because he is “Mexican, and Mexican men take whatever they want.” Colorado has a no-impeachment rule: a rule that prohibits jurors from testifying about “any matter or statement occurring during the course of the jury’s deliberations.” Pena-Rodriguez argues that this rule violates his Sixth Amendment right to an impartial jury in light of the serious claims of racial bias.  During oral arguments, Justice Breyer explained that an exception to the no-impeachment rule in such cases may be needed to “create a judicial system that is seen as fair.” But some justices worried that such a ruling could lead to widespread claims of bias. Justice Alito asked lawyer Jeffrey Fisher, representing Pena-Rodriguez, what would happen if an exception were made to the no-impeachment rule for racial bias but not for other improper actions by juries, such as a decision on a defendant’s political affiliation. Coverage of the case can be found at CNN and ABC.

In Manrique v. United States, the third case of the week, the court considered whether a notice of appeal from an initial judgment of conviction in a federal criminal case can also encompass a challenge to the district court’s subsequent restitution determination under the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act. Assistant Federal Defender Paul Rashkind argued on behalf of Marcelo Manrique that one notice of appeal suffices in criminal cases. On SCOTUSBlog, Steve Vladek reports Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg expressed concern about cases in which a defendant was not notified of the need to file a second notice of appeal.

The justices also took on some new cases this week. On Tuesday the Court said it will consider a lawsuit against former attorney general John Ashcroft and other officials filed by immigrants who say they were racially profiled and illegally detained after the September 11, 2001, attacks. Justices Sotomayor and Kagan have recused themselves from the case. The case was filed on behalf of hundreds of noncitizens, most of them Muslim, who, although never charged with terrorism, were held in harsh conditions in Brooklyn. Besides Ashcroft, they are attempting to sue former FBI director Robert Mueller and former Immigration and Naturalization Service commissioner James W. Ziglar.  Ziglar v. Turkman will be probably be heard early next year. The Court also granted certiorari in Hernandez v. Mesa, which involves a Mexican 15-year-old who was shot by American border agents while he was in Mexico and the agents were in the United States. His family is trying to sue the border agents.

At the second Presidential debate last Sunday, the Supreme Court was one of the topics of conversation. Hillary Clinton said, “I want a Supreme Court that will stick with Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose and I want a Supreme Court that will stick with marriage equality.” She criticized her opponent Donald Trump for supporting justices who would reverse both. “I think that would be a terrible mistake and would take us backwards.” Trump responded by saying he is “looking to appoint justices very much in the mold of Justice Scalia…people that will respect the Constitution of the United States.” ABC News has a video clip of the exchange.

At the final debate, moderated by Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, the Supreme Court will be one of the selected topics for the night. The debate will be held at 9 p.m. Eastern Time, on Wednesday, Oct. 19, at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

This Day in Supreme Court History: October 12, 1864

On this day in 1864, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney died.

Taney’s career on the Supreme Court was marked by controversy from the start. Nominated to the Court by President Andrew Jackson in 1835, the Senate initially refused to confirm Taney as an Associate Justice because of his controversial record as Jackson’s Attorney General, particularly his role in dismantling the Second Bank of the United States. After Chief Justice John Marshall died later that year, Jackson nominated Taney to the Court again, and in 1836 he secured Senate approval. Although he wrote many significant opinions during his almost three decades on the Court, the opinion for which he will forever be remembered is Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857), in which he held that African Americans, whether free or slave, were not citizens of the United States and that Congress lacked authority to prohibit slavery in the territories.

Reflecting on the Chief Justice’s death, the editors of the New York Times noted:

The demise of Chief-Justice Taney comes almost like some strange visitation. For one full generation he has occupied the highest judicial position in the United States, and it almost seems identified with his name. The disturbance of old associations is all the greater, because it happens at the very height of the civil conflict which is linked indissolubly with the most important act of his judicial life.

Judge Taney was a man of pure moral character, and of great legal learning and acumen. Had it not been for his unfortunate Dred Scott decision, all would admit that he had, through all those years, nobly sustained his high office. That decision itself, wrong as it was, did not spring from a corrupt or malignant heart. It came, we have the charity to believe, from a sincere desire to compose, rather than exacerbate, sectional discord. But yet it was none the less an act of supreme folly, and its shadow will ever rest on his memory.

On December 6, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln–who as a candidate for the U.S. Senate  in 1857 had denounced Taney’s Dred Scott opinion and who as President remained a strong critic of the Chief Justice–nominated former Ohio governor and current Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase to become the sixth Chief Justice of the United States. The Senate confirmed Chase, a dedicated abolitionist, that same day.

The Week Ahead in the Supreme Court–October 10, 2016

The Court will hear arguments in three cases during week two of the October 2016 Term.

The Court is not sitting on Monday due to Columbus Day, nor is it sitting on Wednesday, because of Yom Kipur. But it is hearing three cases on Tuesday. First, the Court will hear Samsung Electronics v. Apple, a case in which it will decide whether to uphold part of a verdict ordering Samsung to pay Apple $399 million in damages for infringing on Apple’s iPhone design. At issue is whether, where a design patent is applied to only a component of a product, an award of an infringer’s profits should be limited to those profits attributable to the component. This case involves no copyright or trademark held by Apple, but a “design patent” granted under a statute that the Court has not considered in more than 50 years. The two tech giants are no strangers in court; Apple won against Samsung in the Federal Circuit last week. Bloomberg reports these cases are a “global legal battle between the world’s biggest makers of smartphones that began in April 2011 and at one point spanned four continents.” Read more about the tech feud in front of the Court from CNET.

In Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado the Court must decide whether a no-impeachment rule may constitutionally bar evidence of racial bias offered to prove a violation of the Sixth Amendment’s right to an impartial jury. Pena-Rodriguez was accused and convicted of harassment and sexual assault in Colorado. The state has a no-impeachment rule: a rule that prohibits jurors from testifying about “any matter or statement occurring during the course of the jury’s deliberations.” Two jurors told Pena-Rodriguez’s attorneys after the trial that one juror expressed bias against Mexicans in the jury room. The trial court agreed that that juror had expressed bias, but refused to order a new trial because of Colorado’s no-impeachment rule. The New York Times reports Supreme Court of Colorado’s decision stemmed from its belief that “protecting the secrecy of jury deliberations is of paramount importance in our justice system.” CNN previews the case and notes that in her opinion for a unanimous Court in the 2014 case of Warger v. Shauers, Justice “Sotomayor implicitly recognized [that] not all jury bias is cut from the same cloth.”

Finally, in Manrique v. United States, the Court will decide whether a notice of appeal from a sentencing judgment deferring restitution is effective to challenge the validity of a restitution award that was issued later. Marcelo Manrique pled guilty to one count of possession of child pornogrophy and was sentenced to 72 months’ imprisonment. His sentence included a life term of supervised release; and deferred restitution – recorded as $0 in the initial judgment, but determined after a hearing to be $4,500. Manrique filed a notice of appeal from the initial sentencing judgment. The lower court ruled that because he did not file a notice of appeal from the amended post-hearing judgment, the appeals court did not have jurisdiction to consider a challenge to the appropriateness of the restitution award. Manrique asked the Supreme Court to review the lower court’s decision. Steve Vladeck previews the case on SCOTUSblog; Supreme Court Review breaks down the complicated question presented as well as details about the argument.

Weekly Roundup—October 7, 2016

Did you miss your Supreme Court news this week? Let our Weekly Roundup help. (To stay on top of the latest Supreme Court happenings, follow @ISCOTUS on Twitter.)

Starting off this week, the Supreme Court denied a request from the Obama Administration to rehear United States v. Texas. This case involves challenge to President Obama’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents program (DAPA). The program was designed to assure certain categories of undocumented immigrants that they would not be deported in the near term. The Court heard the case last term, but the justices ended up divided 4-4, thereby keeping in place a federal district court’s nationwide injunction putting DAPA on hold (an injunction that a federal appeals court upheld). Adam Liptak of the New York Times notes that this is just one of over 1,000 cases the Court has turned down over this past summer. As is its custom, the Court offered no reasons for these decisions.

Tuesday was the first day of oral argument in the new Term. The first case heard, Bravo-Fernandez v. United States, involves the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Bloomberg reports the defendants faced a “hot bench” from the eight-justice Court during oral argument. The Court also heard arguments in Shaw v. United States, a case involving bank fraud. Justice Breyer made headlines when he analogized the case to the recent high-profile robbing of Kim Kardashian. He stated that the logic of Shaw’s argument is akin to saying that robbery of insured items is not actually theft. According to CNN, Breyer “used the reality TV star’s robbery as a teachable moment for” the petitioner’s counsel.

ISCOTUS Co-Director and Chicago-Kent Professor Carolyn Shapiro was featured in ACS Blog this week. She discussed the impact of Justice Scalia’s death on how the court will view class-action lawsuits. In recent years the court has been hostile against class action plaintiffs, with many cases decided with a 5-4 majority opinion written by Scalia.  The court is going to hear an upcoming suit, Microsoft Corp. v. Baker. The decision on this case will give us a clue as to whether a post-Scalia Court will chart a new course when it comes to class action suits.  

And finally, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been in the news this week promoting her new book, “My Own Words,” and discussing everything from retirement to Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. In the Washington Post, Robert Barnes reports on an event at Georgetown where Ginsburg insisted that a lawsuit trying to force the Senate to act on Garland’s nomination would do no good, but senators should “recognize that a president is elected for four years not three.” As many discussions surround vacancies on the Court, some are asking if 83-year-old Ginsburg is next to consider retirement. NPR reports that “she didn’t sound like a woman eager to retire.” In a review of her new book, USA Today Supreme Court reporter Richard Wolf writes: “What emerges is not a portrait of a take-no-prisoners advocate but a strategic legal plotter who understands how to bring her audience around to her point of view.”

How Will The Post-Scalia Supreme Court Deal With Class Actions?

By Carolyn Shapiro, ISCOTUS Co-Director. Originally posted on the ACSBlog

As the Supreme Court’s new Term begins, one of the key questions is how the Court will be affected by Justice Scalia’s absence. As interesting as the question of how the Court itself responds, however, is the question of how litigants behave – and what we can learn from that behavior. One datapoint came shortly after Justice Scalia’s death in February 2016, in a major antitrust case involving Dow Chemical. In this case, known in the lower courts as In re Urethane Antitrust Litigation, a class of purchasers of certain polyurethane chemical products sued Dow Chemical for price fixing. The plaintiffs prevailed at trial and obtained a $1.1 billion jury verdict. On appeal in the 10th Circuit, Dow Chemical argued, among other things, that the case was inappropriate for class adjudication and that the plaintiffs’ method of calculating damages was improper. The 10th Circuit upheld the jury verdict and Dow filed a petition for certiorari (Dow Chemical Co. v. Industrial Polymers, Inc., No. 14-1091) in March 2015.

Although Dow Chemical was an antitrust case, the issues it presented echo class-action-related issues in a wage-and-hour case that the Court heard last term, Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo. In both cases, the defendant challenged the use of averages or representative proof of damages and argued that differences between the damages different class members may be entitled to rendered class (or collective) actions inappropriate. In Tyson Foods, for example, the defendant claimed that it was improper for the court to certify a class or collective action where the plaintiffs calculated damages by extrapolating from the time it took for certain employees to perform the tasks (donning and doffing protective and sanitary gear) for which they had not been paid overtime. In Dow Chemical, the class relied on a damages expert who looked at prices paid by some class members and extrapolated to classwide damages and Dow Chemical argued that differences between damages actually suffered by individual class members rendered class certification improper. Indeed, the Court took no action on the cert petition in Dow Chemical while Tyson Foods was pending, a sign that it considered the issues in the cases related and that the outcome of one might affect the other.

The Court in recent years has been hostile to class action lawsuits, whether reading Rule 23 narrowly, as in Wal-Mart v. Dukes (2011) and Comcast v. Behrend (2012) or reading the Federal Arbitration Act expansively to preclude class adjudication, as in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion (2011) and American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant (2013). All four of those cases had majority opinions authored by Justice Scalia and all four of them were decided with only five justices in the majority. (Italian Colors had only three justices in dissent. Justice Sotomayor was recused. The other three cases were 5-4 decisions.) Clearly then, Justice Scalia’s death could have a significant impact on future decisions related to the viability of class actions.

The Court heard argument in Tyson Foods in November 2015, several months before Justice Scalia’s death. Even then, some courtwatchers thought that there were not five votes to support the employer’s claim, but some suggested that the Court might limit its holding to the application of a particular 1946 precedent to wage-and-hour cases. Dow Chemicalat least one such courtwatcher suggested, would allow the Court to more cleanly reach Rule 23 certification issues.

Then Justice Scalia died. Even before that, there had apparently been some settlement discussion in Dow Chemical, but that discussion had not come to fruition. But only two weeks after Justice Scalia’s death – and before Tyson Foods was decided (6-2 in favor of the plaintiffs and with an emphasis on the 1946 precedent) – Dow Chemical settled for $835 million. Cases settle all the time, of course, but the astonishing part about this settlement was that Dow Chemical announced that they settled because of Justice Scalia’s death. Specifically, according to a Bloomberg report, the company explained: “Growing political uncertainties due to recent events with the Supreme Court and increased likelihood for unfavorable outcomes for business involved in class-action suits have changed Dow’s risk assessment of the situation.”

I agree with that assessment, although unlike Dow Chemical, I think it is a good thing. Class action lawsuits are crucial to the ability of consumers, employees and other groups of people with relatively small individual claims, to recover. The quartet of majority opinions drafted by Scalia and mentioned above have done real harm and a ruling in favor of Dow Chemical here would have made it that much more difficult to obtain class certification in cases – of which there are many – where class members may be entitled to different amounts of damages. Without Justice Scalia, a 4-4 affirmance seems the best result Dow Chemical could hope for. (I would argue that the logic of Tyson Foods suggests that a 5-3 or 6-2 victory for the plaintiffs might have been possible, but no one had the benefit of the decision in Tyson Foods at the time of settlement.)

Obviously, the long term trajectory of the Court’s jurisprudence in this and many other areas depends on the results of the election. In the short term, however, we may know soon whether Dow Chemical bet right. Later this Term, the Court is slated to hear argument in Microsoft Corp. v. Baker, a case involving the ability of plaintiffs to appeal the denial of class certification by dismissing their individual claims with prejudice. Allowing an appeal under those circumstances might keep alive class actions in situations where pursuing the individual claims and appealing the class certification denial after final judgment is financially impossible. Oral argument in Microsoft and of course the decision itself, may provide a clue as to whether the Court’s hostility to class actions will survive Justice Scalia’s death.

This Day in Supreme Court History: October 5, 1953

On this day in 1953, Earl Warren was sworn in as the 14th Chief Justice of the United States.

Warren replaced Chief Justice Fred Vinson, who had died of a heart attack on September 8, 1953. When President Dwight Eisenhower nominated the Republican governor of California to become the next Chief Justice, he praised Warren as having “the kind of political, economic, and social thinking that I believe we need on the Supreme Court.” (Eisenhower famously had second thoughts, later declaring Warren’s appointment as “the biggest damned-fool mistake I ever made.”) So that the Court would begin its new term with a full complement of justices, Eisenhower gave Warren a recess appointment. He would be sworn in again in March 1954 after the Senate confirmed his appointment.

When he arrived at the Supreme Court on the morning of October 5, Warren went straight to the chambers of the Court’s senior Associate Justice, Hugo Black. Warren recalled that Black “welcomed me to the Court and offered his assistance in every possible way. He then took me to the chambers of the other members of the Court who were also most cordial in their welcome.” Black then administered the constitutional oath to Warren in a closed ceremony at which the only the justices were present.

The President and his Vice President, Richard Nixon, attended the noon-time opening of the Court’s term. Justice Black concluded a brief eulogy for Chief Justice Vinson by stating, “Now the business of the court goes on. The President has appointed Earl Warren of California to be Chief Justice. His credentials have been presented and he has taken his Constitutional oath. His commission will now be read, the judicial oath administered by the clerk, and Mr. Warren will then take his place as the Chief Justice of the United States.” Warren took his second oath of the day, walked to his seat at the center of the bench, shook the hands of Justice Black who sat to his right and Justice Stanley Reed who sat to his left, and then sat down. “Warren had been grave, but now he smiled widely,” reported the Washington Post. “The large, affable 62-year-old son of a Norwegian-born immigrant looked completely at home on the bench.”

Warren would go on to serve as Chief Justice for over a decade and a half. The era of the Warren Court was one of the most transformative and controversial periods in the Court’s history. Among the landmark Court opinions Warren would write were Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 decision striking down segregation in schools; Miranda v. Arizona, the 1966 decision holding that police had to inform arrested persons of their rights; and Loving v. Virginia, the 1967 decision that struck down anti-miscegenation laws.