The first Associate Justice plucked directly from among practicing lawyers, the late Chief Justice Enrique M. Fernando served the Supreme Court for 18 years, six of them as Chief Justice. He was appointed Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on June 29, 1967, and was named Chairman of the courts second division on September 14, 1974. On June 29, 1979, he was appointed Chief Justice succeeding the late Chief Justice Fred Ruiz Castro. He retired as Chief Justice on July 25, 1985.
Prior to his appointment to the Supreme Court, he served as Legal Adviser to the late President Ramon F. Magsaysay, Code Commissioner of the Department of Justice, and an Adviser to both Presidents Carlos P. Garcia and Ferdinand E. Marcos.
In his 18 years in the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Fernandos landmark decisions on Constitutional Law touched on judicial review, due process, equal protection, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, rights of an accused, social justice, labor laws, and tenancy laws. His written opinions were described in various publications, both local and international, as "clear and elegant and peppered with footnotes, reflecting his meticulous research." One published article described the late former Chief Justice as a man "with a photographic memory" and "very proficient in the English language. …