Friday, June 29, 2012

Impeach Earl Warren

Before the great federal interstate highway system, the only way to drive from Atlanta to visit relatives in Alabama or Florida was by two-lane roads where passing an old slow truck was a life threatening maneuver, and billboards and hand-made signs proclaimed “Burma Shave,” “See Rock City,” and “Impeach Earl Warren.” 

Republican Earl Warren was the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and reviled symbol of all things unpopular in the shallow end of the gene pool.  Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower named Warren Chief Justice but later said the appointment was “the worse damned fool thing I ever did.”

While he was Chief Justice, the Warren Court ended state-sponsored racial segregation in the schools, established the Miranda warning (“you have the right to remain silent”) and the principle of one-man-one-vote in elections, and outlawed prayer in public schools.

Warren, a Republican, was elected Governor of California three times.  Ronald Reagan, a Republican, was elected California Governor twice.  Richard Nixon could not get elected Governor of California once.  The only other California Governor elected three times is the current Governor, Democrat Jerry Brown. 

Warren was the Republican vice-presidential nominee in 1948, the election in which a famous premature newspaper headline announced "Dewey Defeats Truman."

Warren also served as Attorney General of California in the early days of WW II.  While he was California Attorney General, Warren advocated the compulsory removal of U.S. citizens of Japanese descent to internment camps away from the California coast.  Real estate losses by U.S. citizens of Japanese descent were substantial when they were unable to pay mortgages while in internment camps.  Warren later said that he: "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," he said, and he was "wrong to react so impulsively, without positive evidence of disloyalty.”

Something must have made me think of Earl Warren recently, I guess.   Maybe something made John Roberts think of Earl Warren, too.

1 comment:

Tina said...

I well remember those signs....also there was one painted on a rock in the N. Georgia mountains that said HELL IS JUST AROUND THE BEND.


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