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Sept. 4, 2005

Chief Justice Rehnquist dies

by Merlyn Deng, Online Editor-in-Chief
This is not original reporting. All Information has been compiled from The New York Times article "Chief Justice Rehnquist Dies at 80" by Linda Greenhouse and The Washington Post article "Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist Dies" by Charles Lane. Silver Chips Online posts these news summaries to provide readers with a forum for discussion.

William Hubbs Rehnquist, who had been the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court for nearly two decades, passed away last night in his Arlington home after a yearlong bout with thyroid cancer. He was 80.

His death was preceded by "a precipitous decline in his health in the last couple days," according to Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg.

Although Rehnquist had been battling thyroid cancer since last October, he managed to finish the court's term in June and denied any intentions to retire.

Rehnquist's death opens up a second vacancy in the Supreme Court, following the resignation of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor this past July. Currently, the Senate is preparing to begin confirmation hearings for John G. Roberts Jr., President Bush's nominee to replace O'Connor.

Although President Bush and the Senate were aware of Rehnquist's fragile condition, his death is likely to cause political unrest throughout the government. Even if Roberts is confirmed before the court assembles on October 3, the Supreme Court will be operating with only eight justices for part of the term.

The only other instance in U.S. history when there were two vacancies in the Supreme Court was in 1972; this was when President Richard M. Nixon nominated Rehnquist to fill one of the positions.

After his confirmation, Rehnquist, one of the only conservatives on the court bench, was faced with a left-wing majority. That minority, however, later changed into a five-person majority. In 1986, President Ronald Regan promoted Rehnquist to the post of chief justice.

Following an important era of change under Chief Justice Earl Warren's court, the Rehnquist court left a lasting impression on America. For 33 years, Rehnquist fought for states' rights, the importance of religion in public life and prohibition for abortion.



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  • wenjie on September 4, 2005 at 9:12 PM
    a loverly article merlie xD

    i think Bush is quite lucky to have this opportunity to appoint TWO members of the Supreme Court

    woot. first to comment. im such a loser ^^'
  • bob on September 4, 2005 at 9:30 PM
    oh no if only he could have hung on for just a couple more years.

    ;_;
  • ::O_o:: on September 4, 2005 at 10:05 PM
    nice story merleen
  • The Constitution on September 5, 2005 at 12:18 AM
    Clerence Thomas for Chief Justice! Now more than ever we need a constructionist to keep the courts sane.
  • uhoh on September 5, 2005 at 8:59 AM
    Well boys get ready for a right wing Supreme Court
  • Anonymous on September 5, 2005 at 12:49 PM
    uh, not to take anything away from Merlyn, but to all those congratulating her on the good story:

    "This is not original reporting. All Information has been compiled from The New York Times article "Chief Justice Rehnquist Dies at 80" by Linda Greenhouse and The Washington Post article "Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist Dies" by Charles Lane."
  • abdullah jamaal on September 5, 2005 at 2:32 PM
    This is certainly an important article, but how come Silver Chips was able to quickly get this article up, when there still is no Hurricane Katrina article?
  • mag03 on September 5, 2005 at 3:57 PM
    hey uhoh if you knew anything you'd know that justices dont get anymore right wing than rehnquist. he singlehandedly lead the conservative revolution on the court.

    Bush would be hard pressed to find someone as conservative as rehnquist these days who wouldnt get destroyed in congress.

    Objectively (of course i dont wish death upon supreme court justices) this was the best thing that could happened if one was worried about a right wing court, esp. since it looks like oconnor is gonna be around for a while longer since roberts is the new nominee for chief.
  • Hurricane victim supporter on September 5, 2005 at 4:00 PM
    this is ridiculous, there is a story on the death of a supreme court justice right after it happens. Yet after a week, there is nothing on the deaths of hundreds of people hit by hurricane Katrina. Step it up SCO, you're falling behind.
  • frank on September 5, 2005 at 4:51 PM
    ding dong the witch is dead - woohoo
    of course now this means an even more evil conservative will come to take his place... so really i cant see the benefit of celebrating
  • Jeff on September 5, 2005 at 9:12 PM
    MERLYN IS MY HERO. I LOVE YOU MERLYN. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!!

    ...nice article by the way
  • Dumb Democrats= on September 6, 2005 at 9:45 PM
    I knew Bush would straighten things out. Clarence Thomas is _sweet_.
  • abc on September 6, 2005 at 10:31 PM
    RIP rehnquist, he was a good judge and a levelheaded man from what I hear.
  • The court aint shifting right on September 7, 2005 at 7:45 PM
    Renquist was a supporter of "seperate but equal" and decided in favor of allowing Bob Jones U to keep african american students out of the university. He would always have the more conservative view, no matter how awful it was and how many people opposed him.

    His death is gonna cause a leftward shift in the supreme court no matter who Bush picks in his place. Rehnquist was the type of person where you could say being more conservative than somebody else meant being closer to Rehnquist. He's as conservative as you get, conservative even amongst the republican side of the court.
  • To The Court aint shifting rig on September 8, 2005 at 10:00 PM
    What's bad about chosing who to admit to a private university? If it's a public college that gets government money, then keeping blacks out is wrong. But if they want to start a PRIVATE school that only allows a certain race in that's fine just as no one gets mad at you because you choose to have most friends of one color. This isn't nearly as bad as government-sponsored discrimination, cleverly named as Affirmative Action.
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