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Remarks Announcing the Nomination of Judge Warren Earl Burger To Be Chief Justice of the United States

May 21, 1969

Mr. Vice President, members of the Cabinet, ladies and gentlemen:

I have invited you to the White House tonight for an historic announcement, the nomination of the next Chief Justice of the United States.

This announcement is one that I have considered for many months, since I knew that I would have the responsibility even before I became President. I say this with due respect to the great responsibilities held by all the members of the Cabinet here: I believe that the most important nomination that a President of the United States makes during his term of office is that of Chief Justice of the United States.

I say this for several reasons. The Chief Justice is the guardian of the Constitution of the United States. Respect for law in a nation is the most priceless asset a free people can have, and the Chief Justice and his associates are the ultimate custodians and guardians of that priceless asset.

When we consider what a Chief Justice has in the way of influence on his age and the ages after him, I think it could fairly be said that our history tells us that our Chief Justices have probably had more profound and lasting influence on their times and on the direction of the Nation than most Presidents have had. You can see, therefore, why I consider this decision to be so important.

I have nominated a man who I think is superbly qualified to serve as Chief Justice.

His education is one that he got the hard way. He went to law school at night and worked during the daytime, but he made a brilliant academic record. He was eminently successful in the practice of law.

He was appointed by President Eisenhower as an Assistant Attorney General of the United States in 1953 and since 1956 has served on the Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

I have known him for 21 years and I would evaluate him as being qualified intellectually, qualified from the standpoint of judicial temperament, qualified from the standpoint of his legal philosophy, and above all, qualified because of his unquestioned integrity throughout his private and public life.

I am very proud tonight to nominate as the 15th Chief Justice of the United States, Judge Warren Burger.

Note: The President spoke at 7 p.m. in the East Room at the White House. Judge Burger's remarks in response are printed, together with biographical information concerning him, in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 5, P. 727).

Richard Nixon, Remarks Announcing the Nomination of Judge Warren Earl Burger To Be Chief Justice of the United States Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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