Thursday, June 28, 2007

Earl Warren to LBJ on Thurgood Marshall

I am working at the LBJ Library this week (hence the sparse posting), and I ran across something unexpected yesterday. After Thurgood Marshall's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court in June 1967, President Johnson was deluged with mail and telegrams about the appointment. They ran overwhelmingly in favor of Marshall. The staff prepared pro forma responses. But there was one letter they weren't quite sure about the protocol for.
It came from Chief Justice Earl Warren, handwritten on small-sized Supreme Court stationary. He took the time to congratulate the president on "an excellent appointment. Few men come to the court with better experience or a sounder preparation for our work. Also it is in keeping with your policy of opening governmental opportunities to all without regard to race, religion or economic status. In this respect no other President has done as much as you have."
Warren continued, "All of us know Thurgood," a reference to his frequent appearances before the Court as a civil rights litigator and then Solicitor General. The Justices "will welcome him to the court in the belief that he will make a real contribution to its jurisprudence during the many years we hope he will be able to serve."

"We look forward with anticipation to his early confirmation and qualification."