The Supreme Court agreed to hear Brown v. Board of Education in June 1952. Deciding the case was difficult from the start. Differing social philosophies and temperaments divided the nine justices. Chief Justice Fred Vinson and several others doubted the constitutional authority of the Court to end school segregation. And the justices worried that a decision to integrate schools might be unenforceable.
In September 1953 Vinson died, and President Dwight Eisenhower appointed Earl Warren as chief justice. His leadership in producing a unanimous decision to overturn Plessy changed the course of American history.