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William Hubbs Rehnquist ( ; October 1, 1924 – September 3, 2005) was an American lawyer and jurist who served on the
Supreme Court of the United States The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or Americ ...

Supreme Court of the United States
for 33 years, as an
associate justice Associate justice or associate judge is the title for a member of a judicial panel who is not the chief justice The chief justice is the Chief judge, presiding member of a supreme court in any of many countries with a justice system based on Eng ...
from 1972 to 1986 and as the 16th
chief justice The chief justice is the presiding member of a supreme court A supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes betwee ...
from 1986 until his death in 2005. Considered a conservative, Rehnquist favored a conception of
federalism Federalism is a mixed or compound mode of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Maga ...
that emphasized the Tenth Amendment's reservation of powers to the states. Under this view of federalism, the Court, for the first time since the 1930s, struck down an act of Congress as exceeding its power under the
Commerce Clause The Commerce Clause describes an listed in the (). The clause states that the shall have power " regulate with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes." Courts and commentators have tended to discuss each of ...
. Rehnquist grew up in
Milwaukee, Wisconsin Milwaukee ( ) is the largest city in the U.S. state In the , a state is a , of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a , each state holds al jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory where it shares its w ...

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
, and served in the U.S. Army Air Forces during the final years of
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
. After the war's end in 1945, he studied
political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisionmaking) is regarded as ...
at
Stanford University Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Du ...

Stanford University
and
Harvard University Harvard University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly t ...

Harvard University
, then graduated from
Stanford Law School Stanford Law School (Stanford Law or SLS) is the law school A law school (also known as a law centre or college of law) is an institution specializing in legal education, usually involved as part of a process for becoming a lawyer within a ...
. He clerked for Associate Justice Robert H. Jackson during the Supreme Court's 1952–53 term, then entered private practice in
Phoenix, Arizona Phoenix ( ; nv, Hoozdo; es, Fénix or ) is the List of capitals in the United States, capital and List of cities and towns in Arizona#List of cities and towns, most populous city in the American state of Arizona, with 1,608,139 residents as o ...

Phoenix, Arizona
. Rehnquist served as a legal adviser for
Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of government that is not a monarchy or dictatorship, and is usually associated with the rule of law. ** Republicanism, the ideology in support of republics or against ...
presidential nominee
Barry Goldwater Barry Morris Goldwater (January 2, 1909 – May 29, 1998) was an American politician, statesman, businessman, United States Air Force officer, and author who was a five-term United States Senate, Senator from Arizona (1953–1965, 1969–19 ...

Barry Goldwater
in the 1964 election, and in 1969 President
Richard Nixon Richard Milhous Nixon (January 9, 1913April 22, 1994) was the 37th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the of the and is the of the . The power o ...

Richard Nixon
appointed him
Assistant Attorney General Many of the divisions and offices of the United States Department of Justice The United States Department of Justice (DOJ), also known as the Justice Department, is a United States federal executive departments, federal executive department o ...
of the
Office of Legal Counsel The Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) is an office in the United States Department of Justice The United States Department of Justice (DOJ), also known as the Justice Department, is a United States federal executive departments, federal executive dep ...
. In 1971, Nixon nominated Rehnquist to succeed Associate Justice
John Marshall Harlan II John Marshall Harlan (May 20, 1899 – December 29, 1971) was an American lawyer and jurist who served as an Associate Justice Associate justice or associate judge is the title for a member of a judicial panel who is not the chief justice ...

John Marshall Harlan II
, and the
U.S. Senate The United States Senate is the Upper house, upper chamber of the United States Congress, with the United States House of Representatives, House of Representatives being the Lower house, lower chamber. Together they compose the national Bica ...
confirmed him that year. During his confirmation hearings, Rehnquist was criticized for allegedly opposing the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education. Whether he committed
perjury Perjury is the intentional act of swearing a false oath Traditionally an oath (from Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is beha ...
during the hearings is debated by historians. Rehnquist quickly established himself as the
Burger Court The Burger Court was the period in the history of the Supreme Court of the United States The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the Supreme court, highest court in the Federal judiciary of the United States, federal judiciary of ...
's most conservative member. In 1986, President
Ronald Reagan Ronald Wilson Reagan ( ; February 6, 1911June 5, 2004) was an American politician who served as the 40th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the of ...

Ronald Reagan
nominated Rehnquist to succeed retiring Chief Justice
Warren Burger Warren Earl Burger (September 17, 1907 – June 25, 1995) was the 15th Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, serving from 1969 to 1986. Born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Saint Paul, Minnesota, Burger graduated from the St. Paul College ...
, and the Senate confirmed him. Rehnquist served as Chief Justice for nearly 19 years, making him the fourth-longest-serving Chief and the eighth-longest-serving Justice. He became an intellectual and social leader of the Rehnquist Court, earning respect even from the justices who frequently opposed his opinions. Though he remained a member of the conservative wing of the court, Associate Justices
Antonin Scalia Antonin Gregory Scalia (; March 11, 1936 – February 13, 2016) was an American jurist who served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1986 until his death in 2016. He was described as the intellectual ...
and
Clarence Thomas Clarence Thomas (born June 23, 1948) is an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States An associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States is any member of the Supreme Court of the United States The Supreme ...
were often regarded as more conservative. As Chief Justice, Rehnquist presided over the impeachment trial of President
Bill Clinton William Jefferson Clinton ('' né'' Blythe III; born August 19, 1946) is an American politician and attorney who served as the 42nd president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and ...

Bill Clinton
. Rehnquist wrote the majority opinions in '' United States v. Lopez'' (1995) and '' United States v. Morrison'' (2000), holding in both cases that Congress had exceeded its power under the Commerce Clause. He opposed '' Roe v. Wade'' and continued to argue that ''Roe'' had been incorrectly decided in '' Planned Parenthood v. Casey''. In '' Bush v. Gore'', he voted with the court's majority to end the
Florida recount The Florida election recount of 2000 was a period of vote recounting in Florida Florida (, ) is a U.S. state, state located in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States. With a population of over 21million, ...
in the 2000 presidential election.


Early life

Rehnquist was born on October 1, 1924, and grew up in the Milwaukee suburb of Shorewood. His father, William Benjamin Rehnquist, was a sales manager at various times for printing equipment, paper, and medical supplies and devices; his mother, Margery (''née'' Peck)—the daughter of a local hardware store owner who also served as an officer and director of a small insurance company—was a local civic activist, as well as translator and homemaker. His paternal grandparents immigrated from
Sweden Sweden ( sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that ...

Sweden
.It means, in direct translation to English: ''reindeer twig''. Rehnquist graduated from Shorewood High School in 1942.Lane, Charles
"Head of the Class: Fresh from service in World War II, William Rehnquist went west unsure of his future. What he found on the Farm changed his life, and the future of the country."
, ''Stanford Magazine'', July / August 2005. Accessed September 17, 2007. "So, for the brainy kid they had called 'Bugs' back home at suburban Shorewood High School, just outside Milwaukee, weather was a key criterion in selecting a college."
He attended
Kenyon College Kenyon College is a private Liberal arts colleges in the United States, liberal arts college in Gambier, Ohio. It was founded in 1824 by Philander Chase. Kenyon College is Educational accreditation, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. ...
, in
Gambier, Ohio Gambier is a village A village is a clustered human settlement or community, larger than a hamlet (place), hamlet but smaller than a town (although the word is often used to describe both hamlets and smaller towns), with a population typ ...
, for one quarter in the fall of 1942 before entering the U.S. Army Air Forces. He served from 1943 to 1946, mostly in assignments in the United States. He was put into a pre-
meteorology Meteorology is a branch of the (which include and ), with a major focus on . The study of meteorology dates back , though significant progress in meteorology did not begin until the 18th century. The 19th century saw modest progress in the f ...
program and assigned to
Denison University Denison University is a Private university, private liberal arts college in Granville, Ohio. One of the earliest colleges established in the former Northwest Territory, Denison University was founded in 1831. The college was first called the Gran ...
until February 1944, when the program was shut down. He served three months at
Will Rogers Field Will may refer to: Common meanings * Will and testament, instructions for the disposition of one's property after death * Will (philosophy), or willpower * Will (sociology) * Will, volition (psychology) * Will, a modal verb - see Shall and will P ...
in
Oklahoma City Oklahoma City (), officially the City of Oklahoma City, and often shortened to OKC, is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger ...
, three months in
Carlsbad, New Mexico Carlsbad ( ) is a city in and the county seat of Eddy County, New Mexico, Eddy County, New Mexico, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, 2010 census, the city population was 26,138. Carlsbad is centered at the intersection of U.S. Rou ...
, and then went to
Hondo, Texas Hondo is a city in and the county seat of Medina County, Texas, Medina County, Texas, United States. According to the 2010 Census, the population was 8,803. It is part of the San Antonio San Antonio metropolitan area, Metropolitan Statistical Area. ...
, for a few months. He was then chosen for another training program, which began at
Chanute FieldChanute may refer to: * Chanute, Kansas, United States **Chanute High School *Octave Chanute (1832–1910), American civil engineer and aviation pioneer *Chanute Air Force Base, Illinois, United States *Octave Chanute Award, awarded by the Weste ...
,
Illinois Illinois ( ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspape ...

Illinois
, and ended at
Fort Monmouth, New Jersey Fort Monmouth is a former installation of the Department of the Army in Monmouth County, New Jersey. The post is surrounded by the communities of Eatontown, New Jersey, Eatontown, Tinton Falls, New Jersey, Tinton Falls and Oceanport, New Jersey, Oc ...
. The program was designed to teach maintenance and repair of weather instruments. In the summer of 1945, Rehnquist went overseas as a weather observer in North Africa. After the war, Rehnquist attended
Stanford University Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Du ...

Stanford University
with assistance under the provisions of the
G.I. Bill The Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, commonly known as the G.I. Bill, was a law that provided a range of benefits for some of the returning World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, ...
. In 1948, he received
Bachelor of Arts Bachelor of Arts (BA or AB; from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to ...
and
Master of Arts A Master of Arts ( la, Magister Artium or ''Artium Magister''; abbreviated MA or AM) is the holder of a master's degree A master's degree (from Latin ) is an academic degree awarded by University, universities or colleges upon completion of a ...
degrees in
political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisionmaking) is regarded as ...
, as well as an election to Phi Beta Kappa. In 1950, he attended
Harvard University Harvard University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly t ...

Harvard University
, where he received another Master of Arts, in government. He later returned to Stanford to attend the
Stanford Law School Stanford Law School (Stanford Law or SLS) is the law school A law school (also known as a law centre or college of law) is an institution specializing in legal education, usually involved as part of a process for becoming a lawyer within a ...
, where he became an editor of the ''
Stanford Law ReviewThe ''Stanford Law Review'' (SLR) is a law review, legal journal produced independently by Stanford Law School students. The journal was established in 1948 with future United States Secretary of State, U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher as i ...
'' and graduated first in his class in 1952 with a
Bachelor of Laws Bachelor of Laws ( la, Legum Baccalaureus; LL.B.) is an undergraduate law degree in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guard ...
. Rehnquist was in the same class at Stanford Law as
Sandra Day O'Connor Sandra Day O'Connor (born March 26, 1930) is an American retired attorney and politician who served as the first female associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States An associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United State ...

Sandra Day O'Connor
, with whom he would later serve on the Supreme Court. They briefly dated during law school, Biskupic, Joan. ''Sandra Day O'Connor: How the First Woman on the Supreme Court became its most influential justice''. New York: Harper Collins, 2005 and Rehnquist proposed marriage to her. O'Connor declined as she was by then dating her future husband (this was not publicly known until 2018).


Law clerk at the Supreme Court

After law school, Rehnquist served as a
law clerk A law clerk or a judicial clerk is an individual—generally an attorney Attorney may refer to: Roles * Attorney at law, an official title of lawyers in some jurisdictions * Attorney general, the principal legal officer of (or advisor to) a gover ...
for Justice Robert H. Jackson of the
United States Supreme Court The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the Federal judiciary of the United States, federal judiciary of the United States of America. It has ultimate and largely Procedures of the Supreme Court of the United ...

United States Supreme Court
for the Court's 1952–53 term. Biskupic, Joan
"Rehnquist left Supreme Court with conservative legacy"
. ''USA Today''. September 4, 2005.
There, he wrote a memorandum arguing against federal court-ordered school
desegregation Desegregation is the process of ending the separation of two groups, usually referring to races. Desegregation is typically measured by the index of dissimilarity, allowing researchers to determine whether desegregation efforts are having impact on ...
while the Court was considering the landmark case '' Brown v. Board of Education'', which was decided in 1954. Rehnquist's 1952 memo, "A Random Thought on the Segregation Cases", defended the separate-but-equal doctrine. In the memo, Rehnquist wrote: In both his 1971 Senate confirmation hearing for
associate justice Associate justice or associate judge is the title for a member of a judicial panel who is not the chief justice The chief justice is the Chief judge, presiding member of a supreme court in any of many countries with a justice system based on Eng ...
and his 1986 hearing for chief justice, Rehnquist testified that the memorandum reflected Jackson's views rather than his own. Rehnquist said, "I believe that the memorandum was prepared by me as a statement of Justice Jackson's tentative views for his own use."1971 confirmation hearings. Jackson's longtime secretary and confidante Elsie Douglas said during Rehnquist's 1986 hearings that his allegation was "a smear of a great man, for whom I served as secretary for many years. Justice Jackson did not ask law clerks to express his views. He expressed his own and they expressed theirs. That is what happened in this instance." But Justices
Douglas Douglas may refer to: People * Douglas (given name) Douglas is a Scottish masculine given name which originated from the surname ''Douglas (surname), Douglas''. Although today the name is almost exclusively given to boys, it was used as a girl' ...

Douglas
's and Frankfurter's papers indicate that Jackson voted for ''Brown'' in 1954 only after changing his mind.Justice wrote: "In the original conference there were only four who voted that segregation in the public schools was unconstitutional. Those four were Black, Burton, Minton, and myself." See Bernard Schwartz,
Decision: How the Supreme Court Decides Cases
'', page 96 (Oxford 1996). Likewise, Justice
Felix Frankfurter Felix Frankfurter (November 15, 1882 – February 22, 1965) was an American lawyer, professor, and jurist A jurist is a person with expert knowledge of law; someone who analyses and comments on law. This person is usually a specialist lega ...
wrote: "I have no doubt that if the segregation cases had reached decision last term, there would have been four dissenters—Vinson, Reed, Jackson, and Clark." Ibid.
At his 1986 hearings for chief justice, Rehnquist tried to further distance himself from the 1952 memo, saying, "The bald statement that Plessy'' was right and should be reaffirmed' was not an accurate reflection of my own views at the time."Adam Liptak
"The Memo That Rehnquist Wrote and Had to Disown"
, ''NY Times'' (September 11, 2005)
But he acknowledged defending ''Plessy'' in arguments with fellow law clerks."Memos may not hold Roberts's opinions"
, ''The Boston Globe'', Peter S. Canellos, August 23, 2005 Rehnquist said in 1986 about his conversations with other clerks about ''Plessy'' that he: S. Hrg. 99–1067, Hearings Before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary on the Nomination of Justice William Hubbs Rehnquist to be Chief Justice of the United States (July 29, 30, 31, and August 1, 1986).
Several commentators have concluded that the memo reflected Rehnquist's own views, not Jackson's. A biography of Jackson corroborates this, stating that Jackson instructed his clerks to express their views, not his. Further corroboration is found in a 2012 ''Boston College Law Review'' article that analyzes a 1955 letter to Frankfurter that criticized Jackson. In any event, while serving on the Supreme Court, Rehnquist made no effort to reverse or undermine ''Brown'' and often relied on it as precedent. ("Rehnquist ultimately embraced the Warren Court's ''Brown'' decision, and after he joined the Court he made no attempt to dismantle the civil-rights revolution, as political opponents feared he would"). In 1985, he said there was a "perfectly reasonable" argument against ''Brown'' and in favor of ''Plessy'', even though he now saw ''Brown'' as correct. In a memorandum to Jackson about '' Terry v. Adams'',''Terry v. Adams''
, 345 U.S. 461 (1953)
which involved the right of blacks to vote in an allegedly private Texas election, Rehnquist wrote: In another memorandum to Jackson about the same case, Rehnquist wrote: Nevertheless, Rehnquist recommended to Jackson that the Supreme Court should agree to hear ''Terry''.


Private practice

After his Supreme Court clerkship, Rehnquist entered private practice in
Phoenix, Arizona Phoenix ( ; nv, Hoozdo; es, Fénix or ) is the List of capitals in the United States, capital and List of cities and towns in Arizona#List of cities and towns, most populous city in the American state of Arizona, with 1,608,139 residents as o ...

Phoenix, Arizona
, where he worked from 1953 to 1969. He began his legal work in the firm of
Denison Kitchel :''For the president of Middlebury College from 1866 to 1875 and the great-grandfather of Denison Kitchel, see Harvey Denison Kitchel.'' Denison Kitchel (March 1, 1908 – October 10, 2002) was a lawyer from Phoenix, Arizona, Phoenix, Arizona, who ...
, subsequently serving as the national manager of Barry M. Goldwater's
1964 Events * January 1 January 1 or 1 January is the first day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. There are 364 days remaining until the end of the year (365 in leap years). This day is known as New Year's Day since the day marks t ...
presidential campaign. Prominent clients included
Jim Hensley James Willis Hensley (April 12, The site states: "The following material on the immediate ancestry of Cindy McCain should not be considered either exhaustive or authoritative, but rather as a first draft." It is used here because it is the only s ...
,
John McCain John Sidney McCain III (August 29, 1936 – August 25, 2018) was an American politician, statesman, and United States Navy officer who served as a United States Senator for Arizona from 1987 until his death in 2018. He previously served ...

John McCain
's future father-in-law. During these years, Rehnquist was active in the
Republican Party Republican Party is a name used by many political parties A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a country's elections. It is common for the members of a political party to have similar ideas about polit ...
and served as a legal advisor under Kitchel to Goldwater's campaign. He collaborated with
Harry Jaffa Harry Victor Jaffa (October 7, 1918 – January 10, 2015) was an American political philosopher, historian, columnist and professor. He was a professor emeritus at Claremont McKenna College and Claremont Graduate University and a distinguished f ...
on Goldwater's speeches. Many years later, during his 1971 hearing for associate justice and his 1986 hearings for chief justice, several people came forward to complain about Rehnquist's participation in Operation Eagle Eye, a Republican attempt to discourage minority voters in Arizona elections, when he served as a poll watcher in the early 1960s.Roddy, Dennis (December 2, 2000)
"Just Our Bill"
. ''Pittsburgh Post-Gazette''.
Rehnquist denied the charges, and Vincent Maggiore, then chairman of the Phoenix-area Democratic Party, said he had never heard any negative reports about Rehnquist's Election Day activities. "All of these things", Maggiore said, "would have come through me."Wilentz, Amy (August 11, 1986)

''Time''.


Justice Department

When
Richard Nixon Richard Milhous Nixon (January 9, 1913April 22, 1994) was the 37th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the of the and is the of the . The power o ...

Richard Nixon
was elected
President President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) A president is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university or other group. The relationship between a president and a Chief Executive Officer, chi ...

President
in
1968 The year was highlighted by protests and other unrests that occurred worldwide. Events January * January 5 Events Pre-1600 *1477 – Battle of Nancy: Charles the Bold is defeated and killed in a conflict with René II, Duke of L ...
, Rehnquist returned to work in Washington. He served as
Assistant Attorney General Many of the divisions and offices of the United States Department of Justice The United States Department of Justice (DOJ), also known as the Justice Department, is a United States federal executive departments, federal executive department o ...
of the
Office of Legal Counsel The Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) is an office in the United States Department of Justice The United States Department of Justice (DOJ), also known as the Justice Department, is a United States federal executive departments, federal executive dep ...
from 1969 to 1971. In this role, he served as the chief lawyer to
Attorney General #REDIRECT Attorney general In most common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinio ...
. Nixon mistakenly called him "Renchburg" in several of the tapes of
Oval Office The Oval Office is the formal working office An office is a space where an Organization, organization's employees perform Business administration, administrative Work (human activity), work in order to support and realize objects and Goal ...

Oval Office
conversations revealed during the
Watergate The Watergate scandal was a major political scandal in the United States involving the administration Administration may refer to: Management of organizations * Management Management (or managing) is the administration of an organiz ...
investigations. Because he was well-placed in the Justice Department, many suspected Rehnquist could have been the source known as Deep Throat during the
Watergate scandal The Watergate scandal was a major political scandal in the United States involving the administration Administration may refer to: Management of organizations * Management Management (or managing) is the administration of an organiz ...
. Once
Bob Woodward Robert Upshur Woodward (born March 26, 1943) is an American investigative journalist Investigative journalism is a form of journalism in which reporters deeply investigate a single topic of interest, such as serious crimes, political corrup ...

Bob Woodward
revealed on May 31, 2005, that W. Mark Felt was Deep Throat, this speculation ended. In fall 1971, Nixon received the resignations of two Supreme Court justices,
Hugo Black Hugo Lafayette Black (February 27, 1886 – September 25, 1971) was an American lawyer, politician, and jurist who served as a U.S. Senator The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress The United S ...

Hugo Black
and
John Marshall Harlan II John Marshall Harlan (May 20, 1899 – December 29, 1971) was an American lawyer and jurist who served as an Associate Justice Associate justice or associate judge is the title for a member of a judicial panel who is not the chief justice ...

John Marshall Harlan II
. After compiling an initial list of possible appointees that ran afoul of
Chief Justice Burger Warren Earl Burger (September 17, 1907 – June 25, 1995) was the 15th Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, serving from 1969 to 1986. Born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Saint Paul, Minnesota, Burger graduated from the St. Paul College ...
and the
American Bar Association The American Bar Association (ABA), founded August 21, 1878, is a voluntary Voluntary may refer to: * Voluntary (music)In music a voluntary is a piece of music, usually for an organ, that is played as part of a church service. In English-speak ...

American Bar Association
, Nixon considered Rehnquist for one of the slots.
Henry Kissinger Henry Alfred Kissinger (; ; born Heinz Alfred Kissinger; May 27, 1923) is a German-born American politician, diplomat, and Geopolitics, geopolitical consultant who served as United States Secretary of State and National Security Advisor (Unite ...

Henry Kissinger
discussed the possible pick with presidential advisor H.R. Haldeman and asked, "Rehnquist is pretty far right, isn't he?" Haldeman responded, "Oh, Christ! He's way to the right of Buchanan," referring to then-presidential advisor
Patrick Buchanan Patrick Joseph Buchanan (; born November 2, 1938) is an American paleoconservative political commentator, columnist, politician and broadcaster. Buchanan was an assistant and special consultant to U.S. Presidents Richard Nixon Richard ...
.


Associate Justice

Nixon nominated Rehnquist to replace
John Marshall Harlan II John Marshall Harlan (May 20, 1899 – December 29, 1971) was an American lawyer and jurist who served as an Associate Justice Associate justice or associate judge is the title for a member of a judicial panel who is not the chief justice ...

John Marshall Harlan II
on the Supreme Court upon Harlan's retirement, and after being confirmed by the
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...
by a 68–26 vote on December 10, 1971, took his seat as an associate justice on January 7, 1972. There were two vacancies on the court at the time; Nixon nominated Lewis Franklin Powell Jr. to fill the other, left by the retirement of
Hugo Black Hugo Lafayette Black (February 27, 1886 – September 25, 1971) was an American lawyer, politician, and jurist who served as a U.S. Senator The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress The United S ...

Hugo Black
. Black died on September 25, 1971, and Harlan died on December 29 of that year. On the Burger Court, Rehnquist promptly established himself as Nixon's most conservative appointee, taking a narrow view of the Fourteenth Amendment and a broad view of state power. He almost always voted "with the prosecution in criminal cases, with business in antitrust cases, with employers in labor cases, and with the government in speech cases."Bob Woodward & Scott Armstrong, ''The Brethren: Inside the Supreme Court''. 1979. Simon and Schuster. Page 221. Although Rehnquist was often a lone dissenter in cases early on, his views later often became the Court's majority view.


Federalism

For years, Rehnquist was determined to keep cases involving individual rights in state courts away from federal reach.Bob Woodward & Scott Armstrong, ''The Brethren: Inside the Supreme Court''. 1979. Simon and Schuster. Page 222. In '' National League of Cities v. Usery'' (1977), his majority opinion invalidated a federal law extending
minimum wage A minimum wage is the lowest remuneration Remuneration is the pay or other financial compensationFinancial compensation refers to the act of providing a person with money Image:National-Debt-Gillray.jpeg, In a 1786 James Gillray caricature, ...
and maximum hours provisions to state and local government employees.Friedman, Leon. ''The Justices of the United States Supreme Court: Their Lives and Major Opinions'', Volume V. Chelsea House Publishers. 1978. Page 114. Rehnquist wrote, "this exercise of congressional authority does not comport with the federal system of government embodied in the Constitution." As chief justice, Rehnquist presided over what law professor
Erwin Chemerinsky Erwin Chemerinsky (born May 14, 1953) is an American legal scholar known for his studies of United States constitutional law and federal civil procedure. He served as the founding Dean (education), dean of the University of California, Irvine Schoo ...
called a "federalist revolution", during which the Court limited federal power in cases such as ''
New York v. United States ''New York v. United States'', 505 U.S. 144 (1992), was a decision of the United States Supreme Court The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the Federal judiciary of the United States, federal judiciary of ...
'', '' United States v. Lopez'', '' Printz v. United States'', and '' United States v. Morrison''. Similarly,
Cato Institute The Cato Institute is an American libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. It was founded in 1977 by Ed Crane (political activist), Ed Crane, Murray Rothbard, and Charles Koch, chairman of the board and chief executive officer o ...

Cato Institute
scholar
Roger PilonRoger Pilon (born November 28, 1942) is Vice President for Legal Affairs for the Cato Institute The Cato Institute is an American libertarian think tank A think tank, or policy institute, is a research institute A research institute, research ...
has said that " e Rehnquist court has revived the doctrine of federalism . . . only at the edges and in very easy cases."


Equal protection, civil rights, and abortion

Rehnquist rejected a broad view of the Fourteenth Amendment. In 1952, while clerking for Jackson, Rehnquist wrote a memorandum concluding that "''
Plessy v. Ferguson ''Plessy v. Ferguson'', 163 U.S. 537 (1896), was a List of landmark court decisions in the United States, landmark decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that racial segregation laws did ...
'' was right and should be re-affirmed. If the Fourteenth Amendment did not enact Spencer's
Social Statics ''Social Statics, or The Conditions essential to Happiness specified, and the First of them Developed'' is an 1851 book by the British polymath Herbert Spencer. The book was published by John Chapman of London. In the book, he uses the term "fitnes ...
, it just as surely did not enact Myrddahl's American Dilemma" (''
An American Dilemma ''An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy'' is a 1944 study of race relations authored by Swedish Nobel-laureate economist An economist is a practitioner in the social sciences, social science discipline of economics. T ...
''), by which he meant that the Court should not "read its own sociological views into the Constitution." Rehnquist believed the Fourteenth Amendment was meant only as a solution to the problems of slavery, and was not to be applied to abortion rights or prisoner's rights.Bob Woodward & Scott Armstrong, ''The Brethren: Inside the Supreme Court''. 1979. Simon and Schuster. Page 411. He believed the Court "had no business reflecting society's changing and expanding values" and that this was Congress's domain. Rehnquist tried to weave his view of the Amendment into his opinion for ''Fitzpatrick v. Bitzer'', but the other justices rejected it. He later extended what he said he saw as the Amendment's scope, writing in ''Trimble v. Gordon'', "except in the area of the law in which the Framers obviously meant it to apply—classifications based on race or on national origin".''Trimble v. Gordon''
, 430 U.S. 762 (1977)
During the Burger Court's deliberations over '' Roe v. Wade'', Rehnquist promoted his view that courts' jurisdiction does not apply to
abortion Abortion is the ending of a pregnancy Pregnancy, also known as gestation, is the time during which one or more offspring In biology, offspring are the young born of living organism, organisms, produced either by a single organism ...

abortion
.Bob Woodward & Scott Armstrong, ''The Brethren: Inside the Supreme Court''. 1979. Simon and Schuster. Page 235. Rehnquist voted against the expansion of school
desegregation Desegregation is the process of ending the separation of two groups, usually referring to races. Desegregation is typically measured by the index of dissimilarity, allowing researchers to determine whether desegregation efforts are having impact on ...
plans and the establishment of legalized abortions, dissenting in ''Roe v. Wade''. He expressed his views about the
Equal Protection Clause The Equal Protection Clause is part of the first section of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution The Fourteenth Amendment (Amendment XIV) to the United States Constitution The Constitution of the United States is ...
in cases like ''Trimble v. Gordon'':


Other issues

Rehnquist consistently defended state-sanctioned prayer in public schools. He held a restrictive view of criminals' and prisoners' rights and believed
capital punishment Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ' ...

capital punishment
to be constitutional.Friedman, Leon. ''The Justices of the United States Supreme Court: Their Lives and Major Opinions'', Volume V. Chelsea House Publishers. 1978. Page 124. He supported the view that the Fourth Amendment permitted a warrantless search incident to a valid arrest.Friedman, Leon. ''The Justices of the United States Supreme Court: Their Lives and Major Opinions'', Volume V. Chelsea House Publishers. 1978. Page 122. In '' Nixon v. Administrator of General Services'' (1977), Rehnquist dissented from a decision upholding the constitutionality of an act that gave a federal agency administrator certain authority over former President Nixon's presidential papers and tape recordings.Friedman, Leon. ''The Justices of the United States Supreme Court: Their Lives and Major Opinions'', Volume V. Chelsea House Publishers. 1978. Page 113. He dissented solely on the ground that the law was "a clear violation of the constitutional principle of separation of powers". During oral argument in '' Duren v. Missouri'' (1978), the Court faced a challenge to laws and practices that made jury duty voluntary for women in that state. At the end of Ruth Bader Ginsburg's oral presentation, Rehnquist asked her, "You will not settle for putting Susan B. Anthony on the new dollar, then?" Rehnquist wrote the majority opinion in ''Diamond v. Diehr'', , which began a gradual trend toward overturning the ban on software patents in the United States first established in ''Parker v. Flook'', . In ''Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc.'', pertaining to video cassette recorders such as the Betamax system, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote an opinion providing a broad fair use doctrine while Rehnquist joined the dissent supporting stronger copyrights. In ''Eldred v. Ashcroft'', , Rehnquist was in the majority favoring the copyright holders, with Justices Stevens and Stephen Breyer dissenting in favor of a narrower construction of copyright law.


Rehnquist's view of the rational basis test

David Shapiro, professor of law at
Harvard University Harvard University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly t ...

Harvard University
, wrote that while Rehnquist was an associate justice, he disliked even minimal inquiries into legislative objectives except in the areas of race, national origin, and infringement of specific constitutional guarantees.Friedman, Leon. ''The Justices of the United States Supreme Court: Their Lives and Major Opinions'', Volume V. Chelsea House Publishers. 1978. Page 115. For Rehnquist, the Rational basis review, rational basis test was not a standard for weighing the interests of the government against the individual but a label to describe a preordained result. In 1978 Shapiro pointed out that Rehnquist had avoided joining rational basis determinations for years, except in one case, ''Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld''. In ''Trimble v. Gordon'', Rehnquist eschewed the majority's approach to equal protection, writing in dissent that the state's distinction should be sustained because it was not "mindless and patently irrational". (The Court struck down an Illinois law allowing illegitimate children to inherit by intestate succession only from their mothers.) Shapiro wrote that Rehnquist seemed content to find a sufficient relationship between a challenged classification and perceived governmental interests "no matter how tenuous or speculative that relationship might be".Friedman, Leon. ''The Justices of the United States Supreme Court: Their Lives and Major Opinions'', Volume V. Chelsea House Publishers. 1978. Page 116. A practical result of Rehnquist's view of rational basis can be seen in ''Cleveland Board of Education v. LaFleur'', wherein the Court's majority struck down a school board rule that required every pregnant teacher to take unpaid maternity leave beginning five months before the expected birth of her child. Justice Powell wrote an opinion resting on the ground that the school board rule was too inclusive to survive equal protection analysis. In dissent, Rehnquist attacked Powell's opinion, saying: Shapiro writes that Rehnquist's opinion implied: Rehnquist's dissent in ''United States Department of Agriculture v. Murry'' illuminates his view that a classification should pass muster under the rational basis test so long as that classification is not entirely counterproductive with respect to the purposes of the legislation in which it is contained.Friedman, Leon. ''The Justices of the United States Supreme Court: Their Lives and Major Opinions'', Volume V. Chelsea House Publishers. 1978. Pages 116–117. Shapiro alleges that Rehnquist's stance "makes rational basis a virtual nullity".


Relations on the Court

Rehnquist developed warm personal relations with his colleagues, even with ideological opposites. Justice William Brennan Jr. "startled one acquaintance by informing him that 'Bill Rehnquist is my best friend up here.'"David Garrow, "The Rehnquist Reins", ''New York Times'', October 6, 1996. Rehnquist and Justice bonded over a shared iconoclasm and love of the West.Undated 2003–04 ''Charlie Rose Show'' interview with Rehnquist. ''The Brethren'' claims that the Court's "liberals found it hard not to like the good-natured, thoughtful Rehnquist", despite finding his legal philosophy "extreme",Woodward & Armstrong, The Brethren 267 (2005) (1979 ed. at __). and that Justice Potter Stewart, Stewart regarded Rehnquist as "excellent" and "a "team player, a part of the group in the center of the court, even though he usually ended up in the conservative bloc".''The Brethren'', 2005 ed. at 498 (1979 ed. at ___). Since Rehnquist's first years on the Supreme Court, other justices criticized what they saw as his "willingness to cut corners to reach a conservative result", "gloss[ing] over inconsistencies of logic or fact" or distinguishing indistinct cases to reach their destination.''The Bretheren'', 2005 ed. at 268, 499 (1979 ed. at 407–8, __)Leon Friedman, ''The Justices of the United States Supreme Court: Their Lives and Major Opinions'' (1978), page 121. In ''Jefferson v. Hackney'', for example, Douglas and Justice Thurgood Marshall charged that Rehnquist's opinion "misrepresented the legislative history"''The Brethren'', 2005 ed. at 268 (1979 ed. at 222). of a federal welfare program. Rehnquist did not correct what ''The Brethren'' characterizes as an "outright misstatement, ... [and thus] publish[ed] an opinion that twisted the facts". His "misuse" of precedents in another case "shocked" Justice Stevens.''The Brethren'', 2005 ed. at __ (1979 ed. at 222, 408. For his part, Rehnquist was often "contemptuous of Brennan's opinions", seeing them as "bending the facts or law to suit his purposes".''The Brethren'', 2005 ed. at 499. Reluctant to compromise, Rehnquist was the most frequent sole dissenter during the Burger years, garnering the nickname "the Lone Ranger". He usually voted with Burger,''The Brethren'', 2005 ed. at __ (1979 ed. at 269). and—recognizing "the importance of his relationship with Burger"—often went along to get along, joining Burger's majority opinions even when he disagreed with them, and, in important cases, "tr[ying] to straighten him out".


Chief Justice

When Burger retired in 1986, President
Ronald Reagan Ronald Wilson Reagan ( ; February 6, 1911June 5, 2004) was an American politician who served as the 40th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the of ...

Ronald Reagan
nominated Rehnquist for Chief Justice. Although Rehnquist was to Burger's right,Eisler, Kim Isaac (1993). ''A Justice for All: William J. Brennan, Jr., and the decisions that transformed America''. p. 272. New York: Simon & Schuster. "his colleagues were unanimously pleased and supportive", even his "ideological opposites". The nomination "was met with 'genuine enthusiasm on the part of not only his colleagues on the Court but others who served the Court in a staff capacity and some of the relatively lowly paid individuals at the Court. There was almost a unanimous feeling of joy.'" Justice Thurgood Marshall later called him "a great chief justice". During confirmation hearings, Senator Ted Kennedy, Edward Kennedy challenged Rehnquist on his unwitting ownership of property that had a restrictive covenant against sale to JewsAlan S. Oser
"Unenforceable Covenants are in Many Deeds"
, ''New York Times'' (August 1, 1986).
Mr. Rehnquist has said he was unaware of discriminatory restrictions on properties he bought in Arizona and Vermont, and officials in those states said today that he had never even been required to sign the deeds that contained the restrictions.... He told the committee he would act quickly to get rid of the covenants. The restriction on the Vermont property prohibits the lease or sale of the property to "members of the Hebrew race" ... The discriminatory language appears on the first page of the single-spaced document in the middle of a long paragraph filled with unrelated language regarding sewers and the construction of a mailbox.
(such covenants were held to be unenforceable under the 1948 Supreme Court case ''Shelley v. Kraemer''). Despite this and other controversies, including concern over his membership in the Alfalfa Club (which at the time did not allow women to join), the
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...
confirmed his appointment, 65–33 (49–2 in the Senate Republican Conference, with
Barry Goldwater Barry Morris Goldwater (January 2, 1909 – May 29, 1998) was an American politician, statesman, businessman, United States Air Force officer, and author who was a five-term United States Senate, Senator from Arizona (1953–1965, 1969–19 ...

Barry Goldwater
and Jake Garn abstaining, and 16–31 in the Senate Democratic Caucus), and he took office on September 26. Rehnquist's seat as an associate justice was filled by newly appointed
Antonin Scalia Antonin Gregory Scalia (; March 11, 1936 – February 13, 2016) was an American jurist who served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1986 until his death in 2016. He was described as the intellectual ...
. Rehnquist was the first person since Harlan F. Stone to serve as both an associate justice and Chief Justice. Rehnquist had no prior experience as a judge upon his appointment to the Court. His only experience in presiding over a case at the trial level was in 1984, when Judge D. Dortch Warriner invited him to preside over a civil case, ''Julian D. Heislup, Sr. and Linda L. Dixon, Appellees, v. Town of Colonial Beach, Virginia, et al.'' Exercising the authority of a Supreme Court justice to preside over lower court proceedings, he oversaw the jury trial involving allegations that police department employees' civil rights were violated when they testified in a matter involving alleged police brutality against a teenage boy. Rehnquist ruled for the plaintiffs in a number of motions, allowing the case to go to the jury. When the jury found for the plaintiffs and awarded damages, the defendants appealed. The appeal was argued before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on June 4, 1986–16 days before Rehnquist was nominated as Chief Justice. Forty-three days after Rehnquist was sworn in as Chief Justice, the Fourth Circuit reversed the judgment, overruling Rehnquist, and concluding that there was insufficient evidence to have sent the matter to the jury. In 1999, Rehnquist became the second chief justice (after Salmon P. Chase) to preside over a presidential impeachment trial, during the proceedings against President
Bill Clinton William Jefferson Clinton ('' né'' Blythe III; born August 19, 1946) is an American politician and attorney who served as the 42nd president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and ...

Bill Clinton
. In 2000, he wrote a concurring opinion in '' Bush v. Gore'', the case that ended the U.S. presidential election, 2000#Florida election results, presidential election controversy in Florida, agreeing with four other justices that the
Equal Protection Clause The Equal Protection Clause is part of the first section of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution The Fourteenth Amendment (Amendment XIV) to the United States Constitution The Constitution of the United States is ...
barred a "standardless" manual recount of the votes as ordered by the Florida Supreme Court. In his capacity as chief justice, Rehnquist administered the Oath of office of the President of the United States, Oath of Office to the following presidents of the United States: * George H. W. Bush in 1989 *
Bill Clinton William Jefferson Clinton ('' né'' Blythe III; born August 19, 1946) is an American politician and attorney who served as the 42nd president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and ...

Bill Clinton
in 1993 and 1997 * George W. Bush in 2001 and 2005


Leadership of the Court

Rehnquist's predecessor as chief justice, Warren Burger, had floundered as a leader, alienating his colleagues with his overbearing manner, his inability to effectively manage the justices' conference sessions, and abuse of his seniority—in particular, his tendency to change his vote on important cases so that he could maintain control over opinion assignments. By contrast, Rehnquist won fellow justices over with his easygoing, humorous, and unpretentious personality. He also tightened up the justices' conferences, keeping justices from going too long or off track and not allowing any justice to speak twice until all had spoken once, and gained a reputation for scrupulous fairness in assigning opinions: Rehnquist assigned no justice (including himself) two opinions before everyone had been assigned one, and made no attempts to interfere with assignments for cases in which he was in the minority. Most significantly, he successfully lobbied Congress in 1988 to give the Court control of its own docket, cutting back on mandatory appeals and certiorari grants in general.Toobin, Jeffrey. ''The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court''. New York: Anchor Books, 2007. Rehnquist added four yellow stripes to the sleeves of his robe in 1995. A lifelong fan of Gilbert and Sullivan operas, he liked the Lord Chancellor's costume in a community theater production of ''Iolanthe'', and thereafter appeared in court with the same striped sleeves. (The Lord Chancellor was traditionally the senior member of the British judiciary.)Barrett, John Q
"A Rehnquist Ode on the Vinson Court"
''The Green Bag (1997), The Green Bag'', Second Series, vol. 11, no. 3, p. 289, Spring 2008.
His successor, Chief Justice John Roberts, chose not to continue the practice.McElroy, Lisa Tucker. ''John G. Roberts, Jr''. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications, 2007.


Federalism doctrine

Scholars expected Rehnquist to push the Supreme Court in a more conservative direction during his tenure. Many commentators expected to see the federal government's power limited and state governments' power increased. But legal reporter Jan Crawford has said that some of Rehnquist's victories toward the federalist goal of scaling back congressional power over the states had little practical impact.Crawford, Jan. ''Supreme Conflict: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Control of the United States Supreme Court''. 2007. Penguin Books. Page 29. Rehnquist voted with the majority in ''City of Boerne v. Flores'' (1997), and referred to that decision as precedent for requiring Congress to defer to the Court when interpreting the Fourteenth Amendment (including the Equal Protection Clause) in a number of cases. ''Boerne'' held that any statute that Congress enacted to enforce the Fourteenth Amendment (including the Equal Protection Clause) had to show "a congruence and proportionality between the injury to be prevented or remedied and the means adopted to that end". The Rehnquist Court's congruence and proportionality theory replaced the "ratchet" theory that had arguably been advanced in ''Katzenbach v. Morgan'' (1966). According to the ratchet theory, Congress could "ratchet up" civil rights beyond what the Court had recognized, but Congress could not "ratchet down" judicially recognized rights. According to the majority opinion of Justice Anthony Kennedy, which Rehnquist joined in ''Boerne'': The Rehnquist Court's congruence and proportionality standard made it easier to revive older precedents preventing Congress from going too far in enforcing equal protection of the laws. One of the Rehnquist Court's major developments involved reinforcing and extending the doctrine of sovereign immunity, which limits the ability of Congress to subject non-consenting states to lawsuits by individual citizens seeking money damages. In both ''Kimel v. Florida Board of Regents'' (2000) and ''Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama v. Garrett'' (2001), the Court held that Congress had exceeded its power to enforce the Equal Protection Clause. In both cases, Rehnquist was in the majority that held discrimination by states based upon age or disability (as opposed to race or gender) need satisfy only rational basis review as opposed to strict scrutiny. Though the Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution, Eleventh Amendment by its terms applies only to suits against a state by citizens of another state, the Rehnquist Court often extended this principle to suits by citizens against their own states. One such case was ''Alden v. Maine'' (1999), in which the Court held that the authority to subject states to private suits does not follow from any of the express enumerated powers in Article I of the Constitution, and therefore looked to the Necessary and Proper Clause to see whether it authorized Congress to subject the states to lawsuits by the state's own citizens. Rehnquist agreed with Kennedy's statement that such lawsuits were not "necessary and proper": Rehnquist also led the Court toward a more limited view of Congressional power under the
Commerce Clause The Commerce Clause describes an listed in the (). The clause states that the shall have power " regulate with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes." Courts and commentators have tended to discuss each of ...
. For example, he wrote for a 5-to-4 majority in '' United States v. Lopez'', , striking down a federal law as exceeding congressional power under the Clause. ''Lopez'' was followed by '' United States v. Morrison'', , in which Rehnquist wrote the Court's opinion striking down the civil damages portion of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 as regulating conduct that has no significant direct effect on interstate commerce. Rehnquist's majority opinion in ''Morrison'' also rejected an Equal Protection Clause, Equal Protection argument on the Act's behalf. All four dissenters disagreed with the Court's interpretation of the Commerce Clause, and two dissenters, Stevens and Breyer, also took issue with the Court's Equal Protection analysis. Justice David Souter asserted that the Court was improperly seeking to convert the judiciary into a "shield against the commerce power". Rehnquist's majority opinion in ''Morrison'' cited precedents limiting the Equal Protection Clause's scope, such as ''United States v. Cruikshank'' (1876), which held that the Fourteenth Amendment applied only to state actions, not private acts of violence. Breyer, joined by Stevens, agreed with the majority that it "is certainly so" that Congress may not "use the Fourteenth Amendment as a source of power to remedy the conduct of private persons", but took issue with another aspect of the ''Morrison'' Court's Equal Protection analysis, arguing that cases that the majority had cited (including ''United States v. Harris'' and the ''Civil Rights Cases'' regarding lynching and segregation respectively) did not consider "this kind of claim" in which state actors "failed to provide adequate (or any) state remedies". In response, the ''Morrison'' majority asserted that the Violence Against Women Act was "directed not at any State or state actor, but at individuals who have committed criminal acts motivated by gender bias". The federalist trend ''Lopez'' and ''Morrison'' set was seemingly halted by ''Gonzales v. Raich'' (2005), in which the Court broadly interpreted the Commerce Clause to allow Congress to prohibit the intrastate cultivation of medical cannabis, medicinal cannabis (drug), cannabis. Rehnquist, O'Connor and Justice
Clarence Thomas Clarence Thomas (born June 23, 1948) is an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States An associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States is any member of the Supreme Court of the United States The Supreme ...
dissented in ''Raich''. Rehnquist authored the majority opinion in ''South Dakota v. Dole'' (1987), upholding Congress's reduction of funds to states not complying with the national 21-year-old drinking age. Rehnquist's broad reading of Congress's spending power was also seen as a major limitation on the Rehnquist Court's push to redistribute power from the federal government to the states.


''Stare decisis''

Some commentators expected the Rehnquist Court to overrule several controversial decisions broadly interpreting the Bill of Rights. But the Rehnquist Court expressly declined to overrule ''Miranda v. Arizona'' in ''Dickerson v. United States''. Rehnquist believed that federal judges should not impose their personal views on the law or stray beyond the framers' intent by reading broad meaning into the Constitution; he saw himself as an "apostle of judicial restraint". Columbia Law School Professor Vincent Blasi said of Rehnquist in 1986 that "[n]obody since the 1930s has been so niggardly in interpreting the Bill of Rights, so blatant in simply ignoring years and years of precedent." In the same article, Rehnquist was quoted as retorting that "such attacks come from liberal academics and that 'on occasion, they write somewhat disingenuously about me'." Rehnquist disagreed with '' Roe v. Wade''. In 1992, ''Roe'' survived by a 5–4 vote in '' Planned Parenthood v. Casey'', which relied heavily on the doctrine of ''stare decisis''. Dissenting in ''Casey'', Rehnquist criticized the Court's "newly minted variation on ''stare decisis''", and asserted "that ''Roe'' was wrongly decided, and that it can and should be overruled consistently with our traditional approach to ''stare decisis'' in constitutional cases". The Court decided another abortion case, this time dealing with partial birth abortion, in ''Stenberg v. Carhart'' (2000). Again, the vote was 5–4, and again Rehnquist dissented, urging that ''stare decisis'' not be the sole consideration: "I did not join the joint opinion in ''Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey'', 505 U. S. 833 (1992), and continue to believe that case is wrongly decided."


LGBT rights

Rehnquist opposed homosexuality and, in a 1977 dissent, promoted the pseudoscientific notion that homosexuality is contagious. Among the many closely watched decisions during his tenure was ''Romer v. Evans'' (1996). Colorado had adopted an amendment to the state constitution ("Amendment 2") that the Court majority said would have prevented any city, town, or county in the state from taking any legislative, executive, or judicial action to protect citizens from discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation. Rehnquist joined Scalia's dissent, which argued that since the Constitution says nothing about this subject, "it is left to be resolved by normal democratic means". The dissent argued as follows (some punctuation omitted): The dissent mentioned the Court's then-existing precedent in ''Bowers v. Hardwick'' (1986), that "the Constitution does not prohibit what virtually all States had done from the founding of the Republic until very recent years—making homosexual conduct a crime." By analogy, the ''Romer'' dissent reasoned that: The dissent listed murder, polygamy, and cruelty to animals as behaviors that the Constitution allows states to be very hostile toward, and said, "the degree of hostility reflected by Amendment 2 is the smallest conceivable." It added: In ''Lawrence v. Texas'' (2003), the Supreme Court overruled ''Bowers''. Rehnquist again dissented, along with Scalia and Thomas. The Court's result in ''Romer'' had described the struck-down statute as "a status-based enactment divorced from any factual context from which we could discern a relationship to legitimate state interests". The sentiment behind that statute had led the Court to evaluate it with a "more searching" form of review. Similarly, in ''Lawrence'', "moral disapproval" was found to be an unconstitutional basis for condemning a group of people. The Court protected homosexual behavior in the name of liberty and autonomy. Rehnquist sometimes reached results favorable to homosexuals−for example, voting to allow a gay CIA employee to sue on the basis of constitutional law for improper personnel practices (although barring suit on the basis of administrative law in deference to a claim of national security reasons),''Webster v. Doe'', 486 U.S. 592 (1988). to allow same-sex sexual harassment claims to be adjudicated,''Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services, Inc.'', 523 US 75 (1998). and to allow the University of Wisconsin–Madison to require students to pay a mandatory fee that subsidized gay groups along with other student organizations.
Board of Regents v. Southworth
'', 529 U.S. 217 (2000).


Civil Rights Act

In ''Alexander v. Sandoval'' (2001), which involved the issue of whether a citizen could sue a state for not providing driver's license exams in languages other than English, Rehnquist voted with the majority in denying a private right to sue for discrimination based on race or national origin involving disparate impact under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. ''Sandoval'' cited ''Cannon v. University of Chicago'' (1979) as precedent. The Court ruled 5–4 that various facts (regarding disparate impact) mentioned in a footnote of ''Cannon'' were not part of the holding of ''Cannon''. The majority also viewed it as significant that §602 of Title VI did not repeat the rights-creating language (race, color, or national origin) in §601.


Religion clauses

In 1992, Rehnquist joined a dissenting opinion in ''Lee v. Weisman'' arguing that the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment only forbids government from preferring one particular religion over another. Souter wrote a separate concurrence specifically addressed to Rehnquist on this issue. Rehnquist also led the way in allowing greater state assistance to religious schools, writing another 5-to-4 majority opinion in ''Zelman v. Simmons-Harris'' that approved a school voucher program that aided church schools along with other private schools. In ''Van Orden v. Perry'' (2005), Rehnquist wrote the plurality opinion upholding the constitutionality of a display of the Ten Commandments at the Texas state capitol in Austin, Texas, Austin. He wrote: This opinion was joined by Scalia, Thomas, Breyer, and Kennedy.


First Amendment

University of Chicago Law School Professor Geoffrey Stone has written that Rehnquist was by an impressive margin the justice least likely to invalidate a law as violating "the freedom of speech, or of the press". Burger was 1.8 times more likely to vote in favor of the First Amendment; Scalia, 1.6 times; Thomas, 1.5 times. Excluding unanimous Court decisions, Rehnquist voted to reject First Amendment claims 92% of the time. In issues involving freedom of the press, he rejected First Amendment claims 100% of the time. Stone wrote: But, as he did in ''Bigelow v. Commonwealth of Virginia'', Rehnquist voted against freedom of advertising if an advertisement involved birth control or abortion.


Fourteenth Amendment

Rehnquist wrote a concurrence agreeing to strike down the male-only admissions policy of the Virginia Military Institute as violating the Equal Protection Clause,''United States v. Virginia''
, 518 U.S. 515 (1996)
but declined to join the majority opinion's basis for using the Fourteenth Amendment, writing: This rationale supported facilities separated on the basis of gender: Rehnquist remained skeptical about the Court's Equal Protection Clause jurisprudence; some of his opinions most favorable to equality resulted from statutory rather than constitutional interpretation. For example, in ''Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson'' (1986), Rehnquist established a hostile-environment sexual harassment cause of action under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, including protection against psychological aspects of harassment in the workplace.


Legacy

Jeffery Rosen has argued that Rehnquist's "tactical flexibility was more effective than the rigid purity of Scalia and Thomas." Rosen writes: In ''The Partisan: The Life of William Rehnquist'', biographer John A. Jenkins was critical of Rehnquist's history with racial discrimination. He noted that, as a private citizen, Rehnquist had protested '' Brown v. Board of Education'', and as a justice, consistently ruled against racial minorities in affirmative action cases. Only when white males began to make reverse discrimination claims did he become sympathetic to equal protection arguments. Charles Fried has described the Rehnquist Court's "project" as "to reverse not the course of history but the course of constitutional doctrine's abdication to politics". Legal reporter Jan Greenburg has said that conservative critics noted that the Rehnquist Court did little to overturn the left's successes in the lower courts, and in some cases actively furthered them.Greenburg, Jan Crawford. ''Supreme Conflict: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Control of the United States Supreme Court''. 2007. Penguin Books. p. 29. But in 2005, law professor John Yoo wrote, "It is telling to see how many of Rehnquist's views, considered outside the mainstream at the time by professors and commentators, the court has now adopted."


Personal health

After Rehnquist's death in 2005, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI honored a Freedom of Information Act (United States), Freedom of Information Act request detailing the Bureau's background investigation before Rehnquist's nomination as chief justice. The files reveal that for a period, Rehnquist had been addicted to Placidyl, a drug widely prescribed for insomnia. It was not until he was hospitalized that doctors learned of the extent of his dependency. Dr. Freeman Cary, a U.S. Capitol physician, prescribed Rehnquist Placidyl for insomnia and back pain from 1972 to 1981 in doses exceeding the recommended limits, but the FBI report concluded that Rehnquist was already taking the drug as early as 1970."Rehnquist FBI File Sheds New Light on Drug Dependence, Confirmation Battles"
. Tony Mauro. ''Legal Times''. January 4, 2007. Accessed January 4, 2007.
By the time he sought treatment, Rehnquist was taking three times the prescribed dose of the drug nightly.FBI releases Rehnquist drug problem records
, ''Associated Press''
On December 27, 1981, Rehnquist entered George Washington University Hospital for treatment of back pain and Placidyl dependency. There, he underwent a month-long Drug detoxification, detoxification process. While hospitalized, he had typical Drug withdrawal, withdrawal symptoms, including hallucinations and paranoia. For example, "One doctor said Rehnquist thought he heard voices outside his hospital room plotting against him and had 'bizarre ideas and outrageous thoughts', including imagining 'a CIA plot against him' and seeming to see the design patterns on the hospital curtains change configuration." For several weeks before his hospitalization, Rehnquist had slurred his words, but there were no indications he was otherwise impaired. Law professor Michael C. Dorf, Michael Dorf observed that "none of the Justices, law clerks or others who served with Rehnquist have so much as hinted that his Placidyl addiction affected his work, beyond its impact on his speech."Michael C. Dorf
"The Big News in the Rehnquist FBI File: There Is None"
, ''Findlaw's Writ'',_January_15,_2007.


Failing health and death

On October 26, 2004, the Supreme Court press office announced that Rehnquist had recently been diagnosed with anaplastic thyroid cancer. In the summer of 2004, Rehnquist traveled to England to teach a constitutional law class at Tulane University Law School's program abroad. After several months out of the public eye, Rehnquist administered the oath of office to President George W. Bush at his Second inauguration of George W. Bush, second inauguration on January 20, 2005, despite doubts over whether his health would permit it. He arrived using a cane, walked very slowly, and left immediately after the oath was administered. Rehnquist missed 44 oral arguments before the Court in late 2004 and early 2005, returning to the bench on March 21, 2005. But during his absence, he remained involved in Court business, participating in many decisions and deliberations. On July 1, 2005, Justice O'Connor announced her impending retirement from the Court, after consulting with Rehnquist and learning that he had no intention to retire. To a reporter who asked whether he would be retiring, Rehnquist replied, "That's for me to know and you to find out." Rehnquist died at his Arlington, Virginia, home on September 3, 2005, four weeks before his 81st birthday. He was the first justice to die in office since Robert H. Jackson in 1954 and the first chief justice to die in office since Fred M. Vinson in 1953. He was also the last serving justice appointed by Nixon. On September 6, 2005, eight of Rehnquist's former
law clerk A law clerk or a judicial clerk is an individual—generally an attorney Attorney may refer to: Roles * Attorney at law, an official title of lawyers in some jurisdictions * Attorney general, the principal legal officer of (or advisor to) a gover ...
s, including Judge John Roberts, his eventual successor, served as pallbearers as his casket was placed on the Lincoln catafalque, same catafalque that bore Abraham Lincoln's casket as he lying in state, lay in state in 1865. Rehnquist's body Lying in state#United States, lay in repose in the Great Hall of the United States Supreme Court Building until his funeral on September 7, a Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Lutheran service conducted at the Catholic Church, Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, D.C. President George W. Bush and Justice O'Connor eulogy, eulogized Rehnquist, as did members of his family. Rehnquist's funeral was the largest gathering of political dignitaries at the cathedral since President John F. Kennedy's funeral in 1963. It was followed by a private burial service, in which he was interred next to his wife, Nan, at Arlington National Cemetery.Arlington National Cemetery – Notable Graves
Christensen, George A., ''Journal of Supreme Court History'' Volume 33 Issue 1, pp. 17–41 (February 19, 2008), ''Here Lies the Supreme Court: Revisited'', University of Alabama.


Replacement as Chief Justice

Rehnquist's death, just over two months after O'Connor announced her impending retirement, left two vacancies for President Bush to fill. On September 5, 2005, Bush withdrew the nomination of Judge John Roberts of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to replace O'Connor as associate justice and instead nominated him to replace Rehnquist as chief justice. Roberts was confirmed by the U.S. Senate and sworn in as the new chief justice on September 29, 2005. He had List of Law Clerks of the Supreme Court of the United States#William Rehnquist 2, clerked for Rehnquist in 1980–81. O'Connor, who had made the effective date of her resignation the confirmation of her successor, continued to serve on the Court until Samuel Alito was confirmed and sworn in in January 2006. Eulogizing Rehnquist in the ''Harvard Law Review'', Roberts wrote that he was "direct, straightforward, utterly without pretense—and a patriot who loved and served his country. He was completely unaffected in manner."


Family life

Rehnquist's paternal grandparents immigrated separately from
Sweden Sweden ( sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that ...

Sweden
in 1880. His grandfather Olof Andersson, who changed his surname from the patronymic Andersson to the family name Rehnquist, was born in the province of Värmland; his grandmother was born Adolfina Ternberg in the Vreta Kloster, Vreta Kloster parish in Östergötland. Rehnquist is one of two chief justices of Swedish people, Swedish descent, the other being Earl Warren, who had Norwegian people, Norwegian and Swedish ancestry. Rehnquist married Natalie "Nan" Cornell on August 29, 1953. The daughter of a San Diego physician, she worked as an analyst on the CIA's Austria desk before their marriage. The couple had three children: James, a lawyer and college basketball star; Janet Rehnquist, Janet, a lawyer; and Nancy, an editor (including of her father's books) and homemaker. Nan Rehnquist died on October 17, 1991, aged 62, of ovarian cancer. Rehnquist was survived by nine grandchildren. Shortly after moving to Washington, D.C., the Rehnquists purchased a home in Greensboro, Vermont, where they spent many vacations.Obermayer, pp. 56–58


Books authored

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See also

* Demographics of the Supreme Court of the United States * List of justices of the Supreme Court of the United States * List of law clerks of the Supreme Court of the United States * List of United States chief justices by time in office * List of United States Supreme Court justices by time in office * List of United States Supreme Court cases by the Burger Court, United States Supreme Court cases during the Burger Court * List of United States Supreme Court cases by the Rehnquist Court, United States Supreme Court cases during the Rehnquist Court


References


Further reading

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External links

* *
Issue positions and quotes
at OnTheIssues * *
''Booknotes'' interview with David Savage on ''Turning Right: The Making of the Rehnquist Supreme Court'', June 28, 1992.
*
''Booknotes'' interview with Rehnquist on ''Grand Inquests: The Historic Impeachments of Justice Samuel Chase and President Andrew Johnson'', July 5, 1992.

Profile
at Answers.com * "In Memoriam: William H. Rehnquist"
119 Harvard Law Review 2005
(tributes to Rehnquist)
Original source William Rehnquist FBI file


* William Rehnquist's FBI files, hosted at the Internet Archive: *
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Part 6

Supreme Court Associate Justice Nomination Hearings on William Hubbs Rehnquist in November 1971
United States Government Publishing Office
Supreme Court Chief Justice Nomination Hearings on William Hubbs Rehnquist in July 1986
United States Government Publishing Office


Opinions



– ''The Washington Post''

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