Chief Justice Rehnquist

Manila Bulletin, September 5, 2005 | Go to article overview

Chief Justice Rehnquist


Byline: FRANK FUHRIG

Washington (DPA) - US Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist died late Saturday outside Washington after battling advanced thyroid cancer for more than 10 months.

He served more than 33 years on the court, including nearly 19 years as the 16th chief justice in the court's 216-year history.

During his tenure on the court, Rehnquist presided over the 1999 Senate trial of former President Bill Clinton, who had been impeached by the House.

He voted with the 5-4 majority in December 2000 to end a contested recount in Florida, handing the presidential election to Bush over then Vice President Al Gore.

With the nominee to replace retiring Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor not yet confirmed by the US Senate, the court now has two openings for the first time since 1971. Rehnquist was appointed to one of those seats.

He was the only remaining justice to have heard the 1973 Roe vs. Wade abortion case, which gave women a constitutional right to end a pregnancy in the first several months. Rehnquist, a conservative who believed that state governments under the constitution had wide powers free from federal interference, voted against the majority in that case.

The son of Swedish immigrants, Rehnquist was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on October 1, 1924. He and his wife, who died in 1991, had three children and eight grandchildren.

He served in the US Army Air Forces during World War II.

Rehnquist earned bachelors and master's degrees from Stanford University in California and planned to teach philosophy before deciding on a legal career and graduating first in his law school class at Stanford. He also earned a master's degree from Harvard University. …

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