Fred M. Vinson
Fred Vinson was the son of a rural Kentucky county jailer and his wife. He worked his way through college and law school and entered the practice of lawin Kentucky at the age of 21.
Vinson was a congressman for 8 terms and served on the influential Ways and Means Committee during much of the New Deal. He resigned his House seat to accept an appointment by Roosevelt to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. After five years on the bench, Vinson resigned to accept an appointment in the Roosevelt administration as head of the Office of Economic Stabilization. Vinson later succeeded former justice James Byrnes as head of the Office of War Mobilization.
Vinson became a trusted advisor to President Harry Truman, who appointed him Secretary of the Treasury. Truman later nominated Vinson to the position of Chief Justice.
Vinson avoided the announcement of sweeping constitutional principles. He resisted overturning prior decisions. Though he helped chip away at the "separate but equal" doctrine of racial separation, he resisted a head-on confrontation of the issue in Brown v. Board of Education. Vinson's sudden death from a heart attack in 1953 paved the way for the unanimous opinion crafted by Vinson's successor, Earl Warren.
|Clerk||Law School||Terms Clerked|
|Lawrence F. Ebb||Harvard (1946)||1947|
|Carl S. Hawkins||Northwestern||1952|
|Francis A. Allen||Northwestern (1946)||1946, 1947|
|Arthur R. Seder, Jr.||Northwestern (1947)||1947|
|Howard J. Trienens||Northwestern (1949)||1950|
|William W. Oliver||Northwestern (1949)||1952|
|Newton N. Minow||Northwestern (1950)||1951|
|Earl E. Pollock||Northwestern (1953)|
|James C.N. Paul||Penn (1951)||1951|
|Byron R. White||Yale (1946)||1946|