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Felix Frankfurter to Earl Warren, May 17, 1954


The first major accomplishment of Earl Warren in his role as chief justice was to unite the Court in producing a unanimous opinion in Brown v. Board of Education (1954). When Warren assumed the chief justiceship in 1953, the Court was split on the issue of segregation, and Warren structured a six-month debate among the justices around the Brown case in order to build consensus on the issue. The unanimity of the Court's final opinion, which ruled racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional, lent a fortified legitimacy to the contentious decision. Here, Justice Felix Frankfurter writes to Warren to congratulate and thank him on the success of the decision, which he says marks "a great day in the history of the Court."