William Rehnquist

William Hubbs Rehnquist (/ˈrɛnkwɪst/ REN-kwist; October 1, 1924 – September 3, 2005) was an American lawyer and jurist who served on the Supreme Court of the United States for 33 years, as an associate justice from 1972 to 1986 and as the 16th chief justice from 1986 until his death in 2005. Considered a conservative, Rehnquist favored a conception of federalism 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.

William Rehnquist
16th Chief Justice of the United States
In office
September 26, 1986[1]  September 3, 2005
Nominated byRonald Reagan
Preceded byWarren E. Burger
Succeeded byJohn Roberts
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
In office
January 7, 1972[1]  September 26, 1986
Nominated byRichard Nixon
Preceded byJohn Harlan
Succeeded byAntonin Scalia
United States Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel
In office
January 29, 1969  December 1971
PresidentRichard Nixon
Preceded byFrank Wozencraft
Succeeded byRalph Erickson
Personal details
Born
William Donald Rehnquist

(1924-10-01)October 1, 1924
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
DiedSeptember 3, 2005(2005-09-03) (aged 80)
Arlington, Virginia, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)
Nan Cornell
(m. 1953; died 1991)
Children3
EducationStanford University (BA, MA, LLB)
Harvard University (MA)
Signature
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service U.S. Army Air Force
Years of service1943–1946
Rank Sergeant

Rehnquist grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and served in the U.S. Army Air Forces during the final years of World War II. After the war's end in 1945, he studied political science at Stanford University and Harvard University, then graduated from Stanford Law School. He clerked for Associate Justice Robert H. Jackson during the Supreme Court's 1952–53 term, then entered private practice in Phoenix, Arizona. Rehnquist served as a legal adviser for Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater in the 1964 election, and in 1969 President Richard Nixon appointed him Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Legal Counsel. In 1971, Nixon nominated Rehnquist to succeed Associate Justice John Marshall Harlan II, and the U.S. Senate confirmed him that year. Rehnquist quickly established himself as the Burger Court's most conservative member. In 1986, President Ronald Reagan nominated Rehnquist to succeed retiring Chief Justice Warren Burger, 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 and Clarence Thomas were often regarded as more conservative. As Chief Justice, Rehnquist presided over the impeachment trial of President 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 in the 2000 presidential election.