Looking Backward, Looking Forward: The Legacy of Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justice O'Connor

Article excerpt


The 2006 Stanford Law Review Symposium, "Looking Backward, Looking Forward: The Legacy of Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justice O'Connor," explores the ways in which two of the Law Review's most distinguished alumni left their mark on the Supreme Court and considers how the Court might continue to evolve in the coming years. By focusing on three general themes--judicial philosophy, (1) federalism, (2) and individual rights (3)--we endeavored to provide a forum for one of the first substantive discussions on the jurisprudence of Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor after their departures from the Court. In addition, we wanted to recognize the Justices' exceptional personal qualities by publishing tributes from former Rehnquist and O'Connor clerks. (4)

The live event accompanying the following articles took place on the Stanford campus on March 17 and 18, 2006. In addition to many of the authors published in this Issue, Judge Marsha Berzon, Professor Charles Fried, Marcia Greenberger, Judge Karen Nelson Moore, and Professor Mark Tushnet provided their perspectives on the past and future of the Court during three panel discussions, moderated by the law school's own Jane Schacter, Pamela Karlan, and Dean Larry Kramer. Former Stanford Law School Dean Kathleen Sullivan closed the Symposium by offering her recollections of the two Justices, with whom she worked closely during her tenure as dean. Lastly, we were fortunate to have both Justice O'Connor and Justice Anthony M. Kennedy at the event; the remarks they delivered at the keynote are also published in this Issue. (5)

In addition to the Justices' keynote remarks, the law clerk tributes, and the substantive articles, Chief Justice Rehnquist's previously unpublished master's thesis--entitled "Contemporary Theories of Rights" and submitted to the Stanford Political Science Department in August 1948--is printed in this Issue with permission from and thanks to the Rehnquist family and the Stanford University Library and Archives. (6)

As in past years, the Symposium's success is owed in large part to financial support from several generous donors, including patrons Day Casebeer, Davis Polk and Wardwell, and Paul Hastings. It would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of the Editorial Board of the Stanford Law Review and the members of the Symposium Committee: Kevin Clune, Aron Goetzl, Heather Mitchell, Megan Nelson, and Lisa Saltzburg. I would also like to personally thank Jillian Del Pozo and Christina Stembel for going far beyond the scope of their ordinary law school responsibilities to assist with the live event, and Aparna Sridhar for her invaluable advice and constant support. …