Over the past 230 years, the United States has had forty-three Presidents but just seventeen Chief Justices. For thirty-three years, fourteen years as an Associate Justice and nineteen as Chief Justice, William Hubbs Rehnquist changed the landscape of American law. As Chief, he was the leader of a Court majority that often adopted positions that he had staked out in dissenting opinions as an Associate Justice.

Most public figures in Washington closely read the daily newspapers in search of their names. Not William Rehnquist. When I clerked for the Chief during the 1988 Term, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times wrote opposing editorials about one of his opinions. I went to his office and asked him if he wanted to read the editorials. His response was telling: "Reading the newspapers to grade Supreme Court opinions is like predicting who will win a baseball game in the first inning."...

 

Read the full article.