By Justice Sandra Day O'Connor

In Memoriam: A Tribute to Warren E. Burger

January 1, 1996

In Memoriam: A Tribute to Warren E. Burger
Type: Law review article
Source: William Mitchell Law Review, Volume 22, Number 4
Citation: 22 Wm. Mitchell L. Rev. 7 (1996)
Notes: Date is approximate

Other pages in the O'Connor Institute Online Archive mentioned in this article:

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The Honorable Sandra Day O'Connor*

A Chief Justice is always a special figure in American history, and indeed, only sixteen Justices have held that position since our Constitution was ratified. Warren E. Burger was the fifteenth Chief Justice, and his seventeen years in that capacity were distinguished by his energy and his efforts to improve the judicial system throughout the United States. His life and his service as Chief Justice have left their imprint on many aspects of our legal system.

Chief Justice Burger graduated magna cum laude in 1931 from Saint Paul College of Law, the earliest forerunner of William Mitchell College of Law. He was the president of his law school fraternity, Phi Beta Gamma, which, in uncanny foresight, conferred upon him the title of "Chief Justice." Warren Burger could not have attended a traditional day law school. He had married and started a family and found it necessary to hold a full-time job in the insurance industry to support his family. If it were not for the opportunity that Saint Paul offered him to attend law school classes at night, he would have been unable to enter the legal profession.

Throughout his career, Chief Justice Burger had a profound interest in raising the quality of the work of the judicial branch by improving the management of the courts. As Chief Justice, he worked to make the Supreme Court-and all courts-more responsive to the needs of those who used them. He left a legacy to the most

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