Hail to the Chief

1 October marks the birthday of William Rehnquist in 1924 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Rehnquist served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for nearly 19 years, making him the fourth-longest-serving Chief Justice.

With the assistance of the G.I. Bill, Rehnquist attended Stanford Law School, graduating first in his class. In 1952, as a Law Clerk for Justice Robert Jackson, he wrote a memo in support of the ‘separate but equal’ doctrine used in the Jim Crow South.

Rehnquist got his feet wet in politics as a legal advisor to the Presidential campaign of Senator Barry M. Goldwater, the 1964 Republican nominee for President. He would later deny that as a poll watcher in Arizona he attempted to deny access to the polls by minorities. When the Republicans regained the White House in 1969, Rehnquist secured an appointment as an Assistant Attorney General.

In 1971 he was named by President Nixon as a nominee to the Supreme Court and was confirmed by the Senate in December of that year by a vote of 68 to 26.

In his capacity as Chief Justice he swore in three Presidents, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush. He died in 2005.