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during the thirteen years he served with us. He could recall every member who had ever sat on the Court and could recall with whom that member was sitting at any given date. In order to give emphasis to the fact that this is a continuing body and that there has been only one Court, he pointed out graphically that if anyone came to the Court in the 180 years of its existence he would have seen one of seven men sitting there—Cushing, Marshall, Wayne, Field, White, McReynolds or Hugo Black. Each year he wrote for his Circuit Judicial Conference on some historic event in the life of the Court. Some of these writings are recaptured in this little volume entitled “The Occasional Papers of Mr. Justice Burton.” We are very happy to have them for ready reference, and I am sure the book will find a cherished place in the library of each of us. Although it is eleven years since he retired, the majority of the Court now sitting served with him—Justice BLACK and JUSTICE Douglas throughout his tenure; JUSTICE HARLAN for approximately four years; JUSTICE BRENNAN for three years, and myself for five years. We always valued the words of Mr. Justice Burton, whether they were recorded in his opinions in the United States Reports, in his speeches, or in words spoken in our Conferences. We knew that they were always forthright, sincere, and directed to some purposeful end. I am sure I can say without any danger of contradiction that no man in the long history of the Court was held in higher esteem by his colleagues than was Justice Harold H. Burton, and this book will be another means for us to perpetuate his nostalgic memory. We are happy that his widow, Selma, for whom we have the same affection we had for him, is here today to witness this little ceremony, and we express our thanks to her and all of the Burton family for presenting this reminder of the affection that her husband had for this Court which he served so nobly.




We are honored today by the presence of the President of the United States as a member of this Bar. Mr. President, may I recognize you at this time.

President Nixon said:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court: I am honored to appear today, not as President of the United States but as a member of the Bar admitted practice before this Court. At this historic moment I am reminded of the fact that while this is the last matter that will be heard by the Chief Justice of the United States, the first matter to be heard by this Court when he became Chief Justice was the occasion when, as Vice President of the United States, on October 5, 1953, I moved the admission of Warren Olney III and Judge Stanley Barnes to be members of [the Bar of) this Court. I have also had another experience at this Court. In 1966, as a member of the Bar, I appeared on two occasions before the Supreme Court of the United States. Looking back on those two occasions, I can say, Mr. Chief Justice, that there is only one ordeal which is more challenging than a Presidential press conference and that is to appear before the Supreme Court of the United States. On this occasion, it is my privilege to represent the Bar in speaking of the work of the Chief Justice and in extending the best wishes of the Bar and the Nation to him for the time ahead. In speaking of that work, I naturally think somewhat in personal terms of the fact that not only is the Chief Justice concluding almost 16 years in his present position, but that today he concludes 52 years of public service to local, State, and National Governments: As District Attorney in Alameda County, as Attorney General of the State of California, as Governor of the State of California, the only three-term Governor in the history of that State. The Nation is grateful for that service. I am also reminded of the fact that the Chief Justice has established a record here in this Court which will be characterized in many ways. In view of the historical allusion that was made in the opinions just read, may I be permitted an historical allusion? Will Rogers, in commenting upon one of the predecessors of the Chief Justice, Chief Justice William Howard Taft, said that “It is great to be great. It is greater to be human.” I think that comment could well apply to the Chief Justice as we look at his 52 years of service. One who has held high office in this Nation, but one who, in holding that office, always had the humanity which was allencompassing, the dedication to his family, his personal family, to the great American family, to the family of man. The Nation is grateful for that example of humanity which the Chief Justice has given to us and to the world. But as we consider this moment, we also think of the transition which will shortly take place. We think of what it means to America, what it means to our institutions.

Sixteen years have passed since the Chief Justice assumed his present position. These 16 years, without doubt, will be described by historians as years of greater change in America than any other in our history. And that brings us to think of the mystery of Government in this country, and for that matter in the world, the secret of how Government can survive for free men. And we think of the terms “change” and “continuity.” Change without continuity can be anarchy. Change with continuity can mean progress. And continuity without change can mean no progress. As we look over the history of this Nation, we find that what has brought us where we are has been continuity with change. No institution of the three great institutions of our Government has been more responsible for that continuity with change than the Supreme Court of the United States. Over the last 16 years there have been great debates in this country. There have been some disagreements even within this Court. But standing above those debates has been the symbol of the Court as represented by the Chief Justice of the United States: fairness, integrity, dignity. These great and simple attributes are, without question, more important than all the controversy and the necessary debate that goes on when there is change, change within the continuity which is so important for the progress which we have just described. To the Chief Justice of the United States, all of us are grateful today that his example, the example of dignity, the example of integrity, the example of fairness, as the chief law official of this country, has helped to keep America on the path of continuity and change, which is so essential for our progress. When the historians write of this period and the period that follows, some with a superficial view will describe the last 16 years as the “Warren Court” and will describe the Court that follows it as the “Burger Court.”

I believe, however, that every member of this Court would agree with me when I say that because of the example of the Chief Justice, a selfless example, a nonselfish example, this period will be described, not only his but that of his successor, not as the Warren Court, not as the Burger Court, not in personal terms, but in this hallowed moment in this great chamber, the Supreme Court. It was always that way; may it always be that way. And to the extent that it is, this Nation owes a debt of gratitude to the Chief Justice of the United States for his example.


Mr. President, your words are most generous and are greatly appreciated, I assure you. I accept your personal, kind words, but in doing so I must confess that I sense in your presence here and in the words you have spoken your great appreciation of the value of this Court in the life of our Nation and the fact that it is one of the three coordinate Branches of the Government and that it is a continuing body.

I might point out to you, because you might not have looked into the matter, that it is a continuing body as evidenced by the fact that if any American at any time in the history of the Court—180 years—had come to this Court he would have found one of seven men on the Court, the last of whom, of course, is our senior Justice, Mr. Justice Black. Because at any time an American might come here he would find one of seven men on the Bench in itself shows how continuing this body is and how it is that the Court develops consistently the eternal principles of our Constitution in solving the problems of the day.

We, of course, venerate the past, but our focus is on the problems of the day and of the future as far as we can foresee it.

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