Birth and Death:
October 1, 1924 - September 3, 2005
Chief Justice Rehnquist died on Sept. 3, 2005 in an Arlington, Virginia, hospital. Rehnquist was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in October 2004 and had been receiving radiation and chemotherapy treatments on an outpatient basis. At the time of his death, Rehnquist was with his three children, James, Janet, and Nancy.
William Rehnquist was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Richard Nixon, taking his seat as an Associate Justice on Jan. 7, 1972. He was nominated as Chief Justice by President Ronald Reagan and assumed that office on September 26, 1986. Rehnquist is now the longest serving Chief Justice since Melville Fuller, who died in office in 1910.
Rehnquist was affirmed as Associate Justice by a 68-26 Senate vote on October 21, 1971, and as Chief Justice by a 65-33 vote on Sept. 25, 1986
Growing Up - Military Service:
Rehnquist was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Oct. 1, 1924. After graduating from high school, he attended Kenyon College for one year before enlisting in the U.S. Army Air Force. Rehnquist served as a weather observer in North Africa during World War II. He married Natalie Cornell (now deceased) in 1953 and has three children James, Janet, and Nancy.
Legal Education - Experience:
Rehnquist received a B.A., M.A., and LL.B. from Stanford University and an M.A. from Harvard University. He served as a law clerk for Justice Robert H. Jackson of the Supreme Court of the United States during the 1951 and 1952 terms, and practiced law in Phoenix, Arizona from 19531969. He served as Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel from 19691971. While working for Justice Jackson, Rehnquist wrote a memorandum arguing against the integration of white schools during the Supreme Court's deliberations in the landmark civil rights case of Brown v. Board of Education. Rehnquist has since consistently claimed that the memo was written at the direction of Justice Jackson and expressed Jackson's opinions rather than his own.
As an Associate Justice, Rehnquist served under Chief Justice Warren Burger and established himself as a conservative justice. During his service on the Burger Court, Rehnquist voted against women's abortion rights in Roe v. Wade and programs to expand school desegregation, while voting in favor of school prayer, capital punishment and states' rights.
Rehnquist was elevated to Chief Justice by President Reagan in 1986, following the resignation of Chief Justice Berger. Despite a controversial Senate hearing, he was confirmed by a vote of 65-33 and took office on Sept. 25, 1986.
In 1999, Rehnquist became only the second Chief Justice in history to preside over a presidential impeachment hearing during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.
William Hubbs Rehnquist died of thyroid cancer on September 3, 2005.