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Dwight D. Eisenhower

Presidency

Who were Eisenhower’s U.S. Supreme Court appointees?

Powers later worked for Lockheed Martin as a test pilot from 1963 to 1970. He had to leave Lockheed Martin after the publication of his memoir, Operation Overflight: A Memoir of the U-2 Incident (1970).

He appointed five men to the U.S. Supreme Court—one as chief justice and four as associate justices. In 1953, Eisenhower appointed Earl Warren, the governor of California and a political rival, as chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Warren led the Court until 1969. He showed great leadership on the Court, including marshalling together a unanimous opinion in the famous school desegregation decision in Brown v. Board of Education (1954). Warren established his place in history as the head of the so-called Warren Court, which desegregated public schools, enhanced constitutional protections for those charged with crimes, and breathed life into many other provisions of the Bill of Rights.

Eisenhower appointed four men as associate justices: John Marshall Harlan II, William J. Brennan, Charles Whittaker, and Potter Stewart. Harlan, the grandson of John Marshall Harlan I, had a distinguished career as a lawyer and had been on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit for a year. He believed in the principles of judicial restraint and precedent and often dissented from some of the broader rulings of his colleagues.

Brennan, a jurist on the New Jersey Supreme Court, served on the Court for thirty-four years from 1956 to 1990. He authored many important First Amendment decisions during his tenure, including the famous libel law case New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964), which made it much more difficult for public officials to sue their critics for libel.

Whittaker, who had attended law school with Harry Truman in Kansas City, served on the Court from 1957 to 1962. Previously, he had worked as both a federal district court judge and a federal appeals court judge before his rapid ascent to the U.S. Supreme Court. Stewart, who had served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, held his place on the Court from 1959 until 1981. He was known for his defense of free-press rights, as well as his famous statement on obscenity: “I know it when I see it.”



The Eisenhower home, located in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

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