(1907-1995) was the Chief Justice of the United States
from 1969 to 1986. A Minnesota native, Burger began his career on the
bench when President Eisenhower appointed him to the United States
Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. President Nixon
named Burger Chief Justice of the United States in 1969. Notable
decisions handed down by the Burger Court include Roe v. Wade
(abortion rights), New York Times v. United States
(the "Pentagon Papers" case), Regents
of the University of California v. Bakke
and United States v. Nixon
the unanimous 1974 decision in the Watergate case that led to the end
of the Nixon presidency.
Getting Burger's autograph was not difficult--I simply married into the
family. My father-in-law is Burger's nephew (and bears a striking resemblance to him). I asked my father-in-law
if he would ask Burger to sign a cover for me, which he agreed to do. I
selected the Gerald Ford inauguration cover because Burger is depicted
in the cachet. After receiving the cover Burger misplaced it, and he
asked if I would send him another one. So I sent him a 1981 Supreme
Court first day cover, which he signed and returned. Shortly thereafter
the Ford cover turned up, so Burger signed that cover as well.
Despite being related to Burger by marriage, I never met the man. He
returned to Minnesota twice for family reunions after I joined the
family, but I missed both reunions.