As a distinguished federal jurist for more than a decade, as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States for 17 additional years, and as Chairman of the Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution, The Honorable Warren E. Burger has rendered outstanding service to the United States and to its citizens.
Through his extraordinary contributions to our nation’s judicial systems; his encouragement of high ethical standards within the legal profession; and his efforts to increase public awareness of the priceless freedoms guaranteed to all American citizens by the United States Constitution, he has exemplified the ideals of West Point in its motto, ‘Duty, Honor, Country.”
As Chief Justice of the United States, Warren Burger wrote opinions for the Supreme Court on a number of significant cases, including those concerned with the rights of the accused in felony cases, interpretation of obscenity, the free speech and free press guarantees of the First Amendment to the Constitution, the separation of church and state, and the separation of powers within the federal government.
Always concerned with measures to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the national judiciary, his efforts led to the creation of the Institute for Court Management and the Institute of Judicial Administration, and to the use of Circuit Executives to ease administrative burdens on Chief Judges of Circuit Courts. He has long been identified with the National Center for State Courts, a focal point of the nation’s analysis of its justice system. A dominant theme during his entire judicial career has been his overriding determination to make the American judicial system work better and more efficiently.
In his annual reports on the State of the Judiciary, Chief Justice Burger shared his unique perspective as the chief judicial officer of the land on the health of the legal profession. By doing so he stimulated its practitioners to self-analysis and to dedication to high ethical principles.
Warren E. Burger continues to lead the nation’s celebration of the document guaranteeing the freedom of our people, a celebration which is focusing the attention of the nation on the significance of the Constitution. For the Armed Services, this celebration is bringing uncommon awareness and understanding of this unique document to the men and women who have sworn to support and defend it. Warren E. Burger has made significant and lasting contributions to this nation and to its people. His outstanding leadership and generosity of time and talent represent the highest order of service to our country and symbolize the values expressed in the motto of West Point. Accordingly, the Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy hereby presents the 1988 Sylvanus Thayer Award to The Honorable Warren E. Burger.