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Volume 58, Issue 6


Looking Backward, Looking Forward

The Legacy of Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justice O'Connor
by  Michelle Skinner

The 2006 Stanford Law Review Symposium, "Looking Backward, Looking Forward: The Legacy of Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justice O'Connor," explores the ways in which two of the Law Review's most distinguished alumni left their mark on the Supreme Court and considers how the Court might continue to evolve in the coming years. By focusing on…


William Rehnquist and Sandra Day O’Connor

An Expression of Appreciation
by  Anthony M. Kennedy

Thank you for the invitation to be here to honor Sandra O'Connor and the memory of the late William Rehnquist. We meet at Stanford, the place that did so much to shape their lives and careers. The years at Stanford gave them their skills as scholars and professionals. Those years, too, helped them find their…



by  Sandra Day O'Connor

It is not fair to have to follow a speaker as eloquent as Justice Kennedy. And I am not going to try to bend your ears for long. I am very touched by his comments. It was wonderful that you had a chance to hear him talk about our former colleague, William Rehnquist, as well…


A Tribute to Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist

by  Robert J. Giuffra, Jr.

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…


For the Chief

by  Brian Morris

By the summer of 1992, I had interviewed with numerous prospective employers, including partners in law firms, career prosecutors, and federal appellate judges. Each interview generally included a moment when the interviewer would ask something along the lines of "What do you want to do in your legal career?" I occasionally stumbled over my response…


The Chief as Teacher

by  James E. Ryan

I interviewed for a clerkship with the Chief during the summer after I graduated from law school in 1992, and by that time I was pretty sure I wanted to become a law professor. I was still a bit shy about saying so, not because I thought it a bad job, but because I wasn't…


Learning Life’s Lessons

by  Ronald J. Tenpas

Halfway through my clerkship with the Chief Justice, I committed a significant blunder. In an opinion for the Court authored by the Chief and for which I had prepared a draft of the section on procedural history, I had made an error. In describing the lower court's holding (on a matter not at issue when…


Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist

Prizing People, Place, and History
by  Barton H. Thompson

Which two Civil War battles were fought west of the Mississippi River? Chief Justice William Rehnquist knew the answer, as he knew a myriad of often obscure (but never unimportant) historical and geographical facts, salting many of them into his Supreme Court opinions and books and using others in informal wagers with friends, family, and…


Justice Sandra Day O’Connor

No Insurmountable Hurdles
by  Scott Bales

Sandra Day O'Connor has often said that, as "a cowgirl from Eastern Arizona," she was as surprised as anyone when President Ronald Reagan nominated her in 1981 as the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States. Her surprise reflects her unassuming, down-to-earth manner. But O'Connor's experiences as a cowgirl from…


Speeding Up to Smell the Roses

by  Stuart Banner

They say SO'C is retiring. I don't believe a word of it. Not deciding cases any more - I'll accept that. But not retiring. This is a woman who packs more activity into her life than anyone I have ever known. My strongest memories from clerking all involve trying to keep up with her. I…


A Wise Justice, and a Great Boss

by  Michelle T. Friedland

"Thank you very much for coming," Justice O'Connor said as I entered her chambers to interview for a clerkship. "I'm so sorry to have asked you to make the trip all the way out here from Stanford." Apparently Justice O'Connor didn't realize that this was the most exciting moment of my life, one for which…



by  John K. Setear

It is 1985. Ronald Reagan is battling the Evil Empire. Joe Gibbs has just taken the Washington Redskins to two Super Bowls. Michael Jackson, resculpted but not yet freakish, leads a huge chorus in "We Are the World." Sandra Day O'Connor has been the First Woman on the U.S. Supreme Court for four years and,…


Lessons from Working for Sandra Day O’Connor

by  Kent D. Syverud

Justice O'Connor doesn't like footnotes in her opinions. That was a bracing lesson for a young lawyer fresh from a law review where a legion of footnotes, packed with authorities and afterthoughts, marched halfway up almost every page. Holding my first memo, she started right in on teaching: "If you have something to say, just…


William Rehnquist, the Separation of Powers, and the Riddle of the Sphinx

by  Jay S. Bybee & Tuan N. Samahon

William Rehnquist's tenure on the Supreme Court presents a Sphinx-like riddle for students of the separation of powers: "What animal is that which in  the morning goes on four, at noon on two, and in the evening on three feet?" One might well answer: "Rehnquist's separation of powers jurisprudence, as it is a difficult creature…


The Assumptions of Federalism

by  Erwin Chemerinsky

When historians look back at the Rehnquist Court, without a doubt they will say that its greatest changes in constitutional law were in the area of federalism. Over the past decade, the Supreme Court has limited the scope of Congress's powers and has greatly expanded the protection of state sovereign immunity. In 1995, for the…


The Federalism Decisions of Justices Rehnquist and O’Connor

Is Half a Loaf Enough?
by  Richard A. Epstein

In many ways the basic structure of constitutional law circa 2006 - which features a strong national government of unlimited authority and weak protection of economic liberties and property rights - derives from the New Deal synthesis circa 1937. That synthesis insists that an extensive national role in the regulation of economic affairs is an…


Young Mr. Rehnquist’s Theory of Moral Rights–Mostly Observed

by  Douglas W. Kmiec

William Rehnquist had so long and effectively played the role of fair-minded Chief Justice - his ideological opposite William Brennan calling him "the best chief under whom [he] served" - that sometimes his substantive legacy is overlooked. It should not be. Coming to the Court in 1972 from the Office of Legal Counsel, he began…


You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby

Rehnquist's New Approach to Pregnancy Discrimination in Hibbs
by  Reva B. Siegel

Over the years I have written more in criticism of Chief Justice Rehnquist's Fourteenth Amendment opinions than in praise of them. This Article marks a departure. It offers an appreciation of Rehnquist's last sex discrimination opinion, Nevada Department of Human Resources v. Hibbs. In titling the Article "You've Come a Long Way, Baby," I refer…


Problems with Minimalism

by  Cass R. Sunstein

Much of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's work on the Supreme Court embodies a commitment to judicial minimalism, understood as a preference for narrow rulings, closely attuned to particular facts. In many contexts, however, that commitment is hard to justify, simply because it imposes severe decisionmaking burdens on others and may well create more, rather than…


Freedom of Expressive Association and Government Subsidies

by  Eugene Volokh

The government provides vast subsidies to expressive associations. Universities and cities let groups use government property. Universities fund student groups' meetings and publications. The federal and state governments provide tax exemptions, which are tantamount to a matching grant. Many of these programs are available to a broad range of groups that meet certain objective criteria…


The Rehnquist Court at Twilight

The Lures and Perils of Split-the-Difference Jurisprudence
by  J. Harvie Wilkinson III

The departures of Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor from the Supreme Court constitute an event of singular importance for that institution. Rehnquist and O'Connor were by any reckoning highly consequential Justices. Although differing in important respects, each Justice was a public servant of the highest integrity and dedication; each was…

From the Stanford Archives

Contemporary Theories of Rights

by  William Hubbs Rehnquist

We often experience disappointment upon reaching the conclusion of a treatise on political philosophy. Too frequently the vigorous, forthright style and logic which an author employs during the first chapters in criticizing the "fatal errors" of preceding doctrines on his subject give way in the conclusion of the book to exactly the same type of…