Earl Warren was born March 19, 1891, in Los Angeles, California, to Methias H. Warren and Crystal Hernlund Warren. His father emigrated from Norway where the original family name was Varren. His mother emigrated from Sweden. Methias Warren worked for numerous years for the Southern Pacific Railroad but was blacklisted for joining a strike; in 1894 he moved his family to Bakersfield, California, where he worked in a railroad repair yard and was murdered during a robbery by an unknown killer.
Earl Warren grew up in Bakersfield, California; there he attended Washington Junior High School and Kern County High School (now Bakersfield High School). He worked for the railroad on summer jobs. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley (BA in 1912 in Legal Studies and Boalt Hall, LL.B. in 1914). He was admitted to the California bar in 1914.
While in school Warren was a member of The Gun Club secret society and the Sigma Phi Society; he maintained lifelong ties to his fraternity. While he was an undergraduate, Warren played clarinet in the Cal Band. He was a lifelong friend of Robert Gordon Sproul, a fellow Cal student and future president of University of California. Sproul nominated Warren for Vice President at the Republican National Convention in 1948. “He was strongly influenced by Hiram Johnson and other leaders of the Progressive Era to oppose corruption and promote democracy.” Earl Warren was the 30th Governor of California (1943-1953) and later the 14th Chief Justice of the United States (1953-1969).
Warren married Nina Elisabeth Palmquist Meyers, a Swedish-born widow, on October 4, 1925. (Mrs. Warren died at age 100 on
April 24, 1993, in Washington.) The couple became the parents of six children. A daughter, Virginia Warren, married veteran radio and television personality John Charles Daly on December 22, 1960.
Warren served as the District Attorney for Alameda County, California, as the Attorney General of California, and three terms as Governor of California. He was nominated for Vice President of the United States on the Republican ticket in 1948. He chaired the Warren Commission, formed to investigate the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Warren “is best known for the decisions of the Warren Court, which ended school segregation and transformed many areas of American law, especially regarding the rights of the accused, ending public school-sponsored prayers, and requiring `one man-one vote’ rules of apportionment of Congressional districts. He made the Supreme Court a power center on a more even basis 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 Chief Justice he swore four men in to the office of President of the United States: Eisenhower (in 1957), Kennedy (in 1961), Johnson (in 1965) and Nixon (in 1969).
Justice Warren had a “profound impact on the Supreme Court and the United States of America. As Chief Justice, his term of office was marked by numerous rulings on civil rights, separation of church and state, and police arrest procedure in the United States.” He retired from the Supreme.
In 1969 Warren retired from the Supreme Court. “He was affectionately known by many as the “Superchief,” although he became a lightning rod for controversy among conservatives: signs declaring `Impeach Earl Warren’ could be seen around the country throughout the 1960s….”
Justice Earl Warren died five years after his retirement on July 9, 1974, in Washington, D.C. His funeral was held at Washington National Cathedral, and his body was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.