FG 51 (Supreme Court of the United States) (White House Central Files: Subject Files)

Scope and Content Note

Filed under the category FG (Federal Government-Organizations) are materials pertaining to matters such as establishment, disestablishment, organization, reorganization, audits, inspections, investigations, locations, relocations, regulations, structure, reports, appointments, and endorsements to top positions of agencies and offices in the Federal government.


This file contains correspondence concerning the Supreme Court, primarily nominations and appointments to the court. Principle correspondents include White House staff members: Bryce Harlow, Leonard Garment, Harry Dent, John Brown, John Dean, John Ehrlichman, Herbert Klein, and William Timmons, and outside of the White House: Richard Kleindienst and Warren Burger. Related materials can be found in the following subject categories:

FA 3 Federal Aid to Education

FG 17 Department of Justice

HU 2 Human Rights-Equality

HU 2-1 Education-Schooling

HU 2-5 Women

JL Judicial-Legal Matters

The Executive file contains correspondence, telegrams, reports, articles, polls and official forms pertaining to nominations and appointments to the Supreme Court and major issues being considered by the court or proposed for submission to the court.

In the early folders there is correspondence concerning the retirement and resignation of Chief Justice Earl Warren and Justice Abe Fortas, followed by the resignations of Justices Black and Harlan. Most of the incoming correspondence encouraged the President to carry out his campaign pledge to appoint a Southerner and/or a strict conservationist because the Supreme Court under Warren was perceived to be too liberal in its interpretations of the Constitution and too lenient to criminals.

The major portion of this file concerns the nomination and appointment of Judge Warren Burger as Chief Justice and the nominations and rejection by the Senate of Judges Clement Haynsworth and G. Harold Carswell and the eventual selection and appointment as Justices of Harold Blackmun, Lewis Powell and William Rehnquist.

The following issues were proposed to or considered by the Supreme Court, the 18 year old vote, the ruling on the publication of the Pentagon Papers, the possible granting of tax credit for parents with children attending non-public schools, putting prayer back in the schools and the requirement that the President turn over the tapes to the Special Prosecutor.

The General file contains correspondence and other materials concerning the Warren court and its decisions. There are many recommendations of Italian-Americans, Blacks, Jewish and female lawyers, judges and politicians for the Supreme Court. In addition there are comments on the nominations of Burger, Haynsworth, Carswell, Blackmun, Powell and Rehnquist.


The Executive file contains materials on the nominations of Warren Burger, Haynsworth, Carswell, Blackmun, Powell, and Rehnquist. There are many recommendations of possible justices. Also included is a study of Supreme Court appointments by previous Presidents. In this file are the resignation letters of Justice Black and Harlan.

The General file contains support letters for Warren Burger and comments on Haynsworth, Carswell, Blackmun, Powell and Rehnquist. There were also letters from Senators concerned about President Nixon's statement that no Southerner could be appointed to the Supreme Court.

Folder Title List

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