WHEN WILLIAM REHNQUIST WAS CONFIRMED
as the 16th Chief Justice of the U.S. in 1986, TIME noted that he "received only grudging approval from the U.S. Senate." Almost twenty years later, as he neared the end of his career, we wrote, "the court he led is likely to be remembered as one of the most influential in American history." Some highlights from our coverage of Rehnquist's years on the U.S. Supreme Court:
At a time when President Nixon's nominations for the Supreme Court were still totally unknown, somebody asked Assistant Attorney General William Rehnquist whether he thought he had any chance of getting the job. None at all, Rehnquist said with a smile, 'because I'm not from the South, I'm not a woman, and I'm not mediocre.'
From The President's Two Nominees
Nov. 1, 1971
When William Rehnquist was appointed to the Supreme Court by Richard Nixon in 1971, he believed that the court was 'heeling' to the left and felt obliged, as he later put it, 'to lean the other way.'
From Reagan's Mr. Right
By Evan Thomas
Jun. 30, 1986
Rehnquist and Scalia, though no banner carriers for strict construction or intent, stand foursquare for judicial restraint. In fact, Rehnquist has written that the concentration of power in the Supreme Court strikes him as 'basically unhealthy,' a usurping of the legislative process.
From Radicals in Conservative Garb
By Ezra Bowen
Aug. 11, 1986
Last week's confirmation hearings must have seemed an all-too-familiar nightmare to William Rehnquist, President Reagan's nominee to be Chief Justice, who first went through this particular mill in 1971 when he was initially nominated to the Supreme Court.
From Through the Wringer
By Amy Wilentz
Aug. 11, 1986
The new majority, led by Chief Justice William Rehnquist, has been building in slow motion. In the early 1970s, during Rehnquist's first few terms on what was still a liberal-leaning bench, he was so isolated that his clerks took to calling him the Lone Ranger.
From Justice Right Face!
By Richard Lacayo
Jul. 1, 1991
Whenever Rehnquist departs, he can do it in the knowledge that the court he led is likely to be remembered as one of the most influential in American history--and not just because of the 5-4 ruling in Gore v. Bush that effectively gave the 2000 election to the man who lost the popular vote.
From How Rehnquist Changed America
By Richard Lacayo and Viveca Novak
Jun. 30, 2003
Gallery: The Rehnquist Court's Biggest Decisions
Rehnquist—who missed five months of the term while being treated for thyroid cancer—gaveled the courtroom closed until early October without mentioning a word about the retirement that many court-watchers had been expecting.
From Rehnquist Throws Down The Gavel, But Not The Towel
By Viveca Novak
Jun. 27, 2005
His spare and often brilliant reasoning didn't ignite the conservative revolution that some predicted, but with the help of a new crop of like-minded colleagues, it did bring a generation of liberal activism on the court to an end.
From William Rehnquist: 1924-2005
By John Cloud
Sep. 04, 2005