This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 4, 2005 12:10 AM. The previous post in this blog was Devolution. The next post in this blog is Poll. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Sunday, September 4, 2005

Farewell to the Chief

When he was first named to the Supreme Court by President Nixon, William Rehnquist was seen by the liberals of the day as a grave threat to civil liberties. Then-Chief Justice Burger and Justice Blackmun, the "Minnesota Twins" whom Tricky Dick had previously appointed, were also scary to those who had revered the Warren Court. But Rehnquist was young, he was smart, and it looked as though he would take no prisoners advancing right-wing causes. Some predicted that he would eventually damage the Court itself.

As I recall, the suspicions about him were heightened when it was revealed in one of the Watergate tapes that Nixon had wished out loud to his aides that that nice fellow "Renchburg" down at the Justice Department might throw cold water on some aspect or other of the investigation that eventually led to Nixon's resignation. I'm sure "Renchburg" had known nothing about the President's desires for him at the time, but that sort of White House "recognition" did nothing to quell the fears.

The worriers may have been quite right about his political leanings, but they were wrong in their assessment of Rehnquist as an institutional threat. Regardless of whether one agrees or disagrees with his opinions -- Bush v. Gore was just one of many that were a little hard for some of us to swallow -- he did a good job as a justice, and a good job as the chief. There was a quiet dignity about him, even a playful side at times, and he seemed quite cognizant of the respect and dignity that everyone deserves. He was very human. He battled an addiction to painkillers at one point, and he held on to his position at the Court to the very end despite an awful terminal illness that would have pushed a less dedicated soul into a hasty retirement.

Now we face a future in which the new justices coming on board will likely make the late Chief look moderate. May God rest his soul, and help the rest of us.

Comments (6)

Amen & be afraid

And along with Justice O'Connor, that's two fewer Stanford Law grads on the High Court. Bad news.

Guessing you're not on the short list...

So Ted Olson, being a Berkley grad, wouldn't be high on your list?

At first blush, Paul Cassell scares the crap out of me. But if there's a Stanford seat on the court, he would be the logical choice. Hang 'em high!

So, if conservatives who got named to the High Court later unaccountably turned way liberal, does that mean Pres. Bush should (attempt) to appoint a liberal?

I'm not a lawyer or a judge, but I am a mother. It seems to me that the same thing happens to justices who get on the High Court that happens to mothers while their kids are babies, i.e., their brains turn to mush.

Seriously, where did Marc Abrams get his degree? Stanford or? He seems like that rare animal - an intelligent, rational liberal.

Jack would be good, too, for the same reasons.

Or better yet, how about a non-lawyer? What are the precedents for that?


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Farewell to the Chief:

» Led Supreme Court for 19 years from Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator
Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who had battled thyroid cancer since 2004, has died at age 80. Rehn [Read More]

Clicky Web Analytics