Warren Earl Burger, Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

  • Born: Sept. 17, 1907, St. Paul, Minn. 
  • Educated: University of Minnesota, 1928; St. Paul College of Law, LL.B., 1931 
  • Married: In 1933 to Elvera Stromberg (Oct. 1, 1907, to May 30, 1994) 
  • Nominated: May 22, 1969, by President Richard Nixon 
  • Commissioned: June 23, 1969 
  • Dates of Service: June 23, 1969, to Sept. 26, 1986 
  • Died: June 25, 1995, Washington, D.C.

Warren Burger, the 15th Chief Justice of the United States, served 17 years in office before resigning to accept appointment as the unpaid chairman of the Commission on the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution, through which he championed the rule of law as it developed under the Magna Carta and the American Constitution and Bill of Rights. Burger earned his degrees at night, working days to support himself. In private practice in the Twin Cities, he also taught law and became involved in electoral politics floor-managing the 1948 and 1952 presidential bids of Harold Stassen at the Republican National Conventions. Burger came to Washington to serve as Assistant Attorney General, Civil Division, of the Justice Department and was named by President Dwight Eisenhower to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 1955.

Burger sought to improve the administration of justice in the United States as much through reform of administrative procedures and court management and efficiency as through the more than 250 decisions he authored and the votes he cast and the cases he had brought before the court. He is perhaps best known for authoring the unanimous opinion that required Nixon to surrender White House tape recordings and papers that had been subpoenaed for use in Watergate cover-up trials.

Burger was interred in a private ceremony, rejoining his wife in death, in Section 5, Plot 7015-2. A private memorial on which the names of both are inscribed marks the grave.