William Rehnquist

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William Rehnquist
William Rehnquist.jpg
Court Information:
Supreme Court of the United States
Title:   Former Chief Justice
Position:   Seat #1
Appointed by:   Ronald Reagan
Active:   9/25/1986-9/3/2005
Chief:   9/25/1986-9/3/2005
Preceded by:   Warren Burger
Succeeded by:   John G. Roberts
Past post:   Supreme Court, Associate Justice
Past term:   12/15/1971-9/26/1986
Personal History
Born:   October 1, 1924
Hometown:   Milwaukee, WI
Deceased:   September 3, 2005
Undergraduate:   Stanford, 1948
Law School:   Stanford Law, 1952
Grad. School:   Stanford, 1948
Harvard, M.A., 1949
Military service:   U.S. Army, 1943-1946

William Hubbs Rehnquist was the sixteenth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. President Ronald Reagan nominated Justice Rehnquist to the position of Chief Justice after the retirement of Warren Burger, and he was confirmed in 1986. At the time of his nomination, Rehnquist was an Associate Justice on the court. He joined the court in 1971 after a nomination from President Richard Nixon. He served as Chief Justice until his death on September 3, 2005.[1]


Rehnquist earned a B.A. and M.A. from Stanford University, in addition to receiving his LL.B. from Stanford Law School. He also attended Harvard University for a second master's degree.[1]

Military service

World War II erupted before Rehnquist had a chance to complete his education and the future Chief Justice enlisted in the Air Force branch of the army as a weather observer. He served in North Africa from 1943 to 1946.[2]

Professional career

Judicial career

Supreme Court of the United States

Chief Justice

Rehnquist was nominated to the position of Chief Justice by Ronald Reagan on June 20, 1986, to a seat vacated by Warren Burger. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on September 17, 1986 and received commission on September 25, 1986. He served as Chief Justice until his death on September 3, 2005.[1] He was succeeded to this post by Chief Justice John G. Roberts.

Associate Justice

Rehnquist was nominated to an Associate Justice position on the Supreme Court by President Richard Nixon on October 22, 1971, to fill the seat vacated by Justice John Marshall Harlan. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on December 10, 1971, and received commission on December 15, 1971. He served until he was elevated to chief justice in 1986.[1] He was succeeded to this post by Justice Antonin Scalia.

Notable cases

Author: William Rehnquist

Vote Count: 5-4

Majority Justices: O'Connor, Scalia, Kennedy

Concurring Justice: Thomas

Dissenting Justices: Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer

The State, not the federal government, should provide a remedy (2000)

While enrolled at Virginia Tech in 1994, Christy Brzonkala accused varsity Virginia Tech football players, Antonio Morrison and James Crawford, of raping her. In 1995, she filed a complaint through Virginia Tech's Sexual Assault Policy. Morrison was found guilty and began serving a two semester suspension. Nothing happened to Crawford. A second hearing found Morrison guilty, but eventually his sentence was decreased because it was determined that it was excessive. Brzonkala dropped out of Virginia Tech and sued the school and both men in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia. She cited the violation of 42 USC section 13981, part of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA), which gives civil remedy for gender-motivated crimes.

On May 15, 2000, the Supreme Court determined that Congress lacked the power to enact this civil remedy as part of the Commerce Clause or the Fourteenth Amendment because it did not regulate interstate trade or address harm to the state. Rehnquist argued that it was not the federal government that should provide justice for Brzonkala, but the State of Virginia that should.[3]

See also

External links


Political offices
Preceded by:
John Harlan II
Supreme Court
Succeeded by:
Antonin Scalia
Preceded by:
Warren Burger
Supreme Court
Seat #1
Succeeded by:
John G. Roberts