History’s Most Consequential Chief Justice Of The Supreme Court

Judges Name History’s Most Consequential Chief Justice Of The Supreme Court

RENO, Nev. (July 31, 2019)—A survey of hundreds of judges nationally identified Earl Warren, who wrote the majority opinion in the landmark civil rights case Brown v. Board of Education (1954), as the most consequential U.S. Supreme Court chief justice of all time.

Chief Justice Earl Warren

Harris & Ewing photography firm [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The unscientific survey was conducted via an email sent to all National Judicial College alumni just before the July 4th holiday. The College, the nation’s oldest, largest and most widely attended school for judges, allowed judges to vote for up to three of the 17 chief justices. The 377 judges who participated cast 842 total votes.

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Many legal historians consider the fourth and longest-serving chief justice, John Marshall, to have been the most impactful because he wrote the majority opinion in Marbury v. Madison (1803), which established the supremacy of the high court in matters of constitutionality. But Marshall finished a close second in the poll with 263 votes.

Third place, with 81 votes, went to Warren Burger, who succeeded Earl Warren in 1969 and led the court until 1986.

Read a more detailed summary of the results, including judges’ comments, here.

Each month the NJC emails a one-question survey to more than 12,000 judges nationally who have attended its courses for new and experienced judges. The poll often asks their opinion on an issue of the day.


Created more than a half-century ago at the recommendation of a U.S. Supreme Court justice, The National Judicial College remains the only educational institution in the United States that teaches courtroom skills to judges of all types from all over the country, Indian Country and abroad. Judges served by this nonprofit and nonpartisan institution decide more than 95 percent of the cases in the United States.




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Jacob Wolinsky
Jacob Wolinsky is the founder of ValueWalk.com, a popular value investing and hedge fund focused investment website. Prior to ValueWalk, Jacob was VP of Business Development at SumZero. Prior to SumZero, Jacob worked as an equity analyst first at a micro-cap focused private equity firm, followed by a stint at a smid cap focused research shop. Jacob lives with his wife and four kids in Passaic NJ. - Email: jacob(at)valuewalk.com - Twitter username: JacobWolinsky - Full Disclosure: I do not purchase any equities anymore to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest and because at times I may receive grey areas of insider information. I have a few existing holdings from years ago, but I have sold off most of the equities and now only purchase mutual funds and some ETFs. I also own a few grams of Gold and Silver