Rehnquist, Scalia Sworn in, Taking U.S. Supreme Court into New Era

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON (AP) - A new Supreme Court era began Friday as William H. Rehnquist became the nation's 16th chief justice and Antonin Scalia joined the high court as its 103rd member.

Swearing to ""do equal right to the poor and the rich,'' both men took their judicial oaths in the Supreme Court's stately courtroom.

Rehnquist's predecessor, Warren E. Burger, administered the oath to Rehnquist as Scalia sat nearby on a chair used by Chief Justice John Marshall in the early 19th century.

Rehnquist, as the new chief justice, then administered the oath to Scalia.

Just before the ceremony, Rehnquist and Scalia were joined by their families in posing for photographers and television cameras outside the court building.

Earlier in the day, both men had traveled to the White House where, in President Reagan's presence, they swore to uphold the Constitution. Burger administered that oath, taken by federal employees,to both men.

At the White House ceremony, Reagan called the day's events ""one of those moments of passage and renewal that has kept our republic alive and strong.''

The president said the Constitution's framers ""agreed on the importance of judicial restraint,'' adding that he had picked Rehnquist and Scalia ""with this principle very much in mind. The issue is not liberal or conservative. The question is, will we have government by the people?''

After taking the oath, Rehnquist said, ""I pray that God will grant me the patience, the wisdom and the fortitude to worthily follow in the footsteps of my predecessors.''

Scalia said he has come to know his fellow justices and said, ""I have an enormous personal regard for each of them. I look forward to working with them in our common enterprise for years to come. …