William Rehnquist’s rise to the Supreme Court
John A. Jenkins examines the life of the chief justice
- Duration 6:02
- Date Oct 5, 2012
John A. Jenkins examines the life of the chief justice
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Back to the foxhole episode ten.
We have a fascinating book to bring you now this is the first cradle to grave biography of a profoundly influential figure in American life in the twentieth and 21 centuries.
The book is called the partisan the wife of William Rehnquist by John -- Jenkins the author joins us in studio here in the fox hole.
Now John thanks for joining us thank -- -- -- -- -- Just for the sake of younger viewers tell us in the years when that -- -- this was the Chief Justice of the United States' Chief Justice from 1986.
Okay and done he died correct -- died died in 2005 open at that time but he had been on the Supreme Court since 1970 -- -- 170 when he came in was supported by Richard Nixon right and he last on the court until 2005 right.
In broad terms.
Describe his legacy.
Well Rehnquist the title of the book is the partisan.
And that was what Rehnquist himself said he was he called himself a partisan.
His legacy is that he really was the first Chief Justice.
That politicized in a very very important way the Supreme Court.
You wouldn't say that of Warren -- his predecessor I wouldn't I wouldn't take him out of the book the brethren which was the sort of first.
Behind the veil look at the Supreme Court and the inner workings and then using.
The clerks as sources and so forth which is co authored by Bob Woodward and publish what around 1979 -- so probably better.
Didn't seem to portray Warren burger in those terms.
Warren burger well the book is about rent a suburb but -- -- -- but Warren -- I think.
Where some thought he would be that way he was -- he was a politician.
But really really what burger I think the difference -- burger and Rehnquist Berger actually led.
To the center he he was able to coalesce some very important opinions actually in 290.
Opinions like brown.
Rehnquist on the other hand Rehnquist began and ended his career and really everything that he did.
As an extreme partisan -- further for the regionalism theory and conservatism.
And that was really how he led the court to -- -- hard how hard it is to think of him leading the court to the center he was always on the right.
To describe for our viewers original isn't is a way of interpreting laws -- judges.
Including Supreme Court justices sure that conservatives believe in in regionalism says in essence.
You've got the statute of a -- the congress or legislature passed.
We shouldn't take anything into account except the text of that law not the intent -- the -- or the testimony about it but just the text of the statute.
Hard to be a true original list.
What -- given given that the history that we've had and and the way the law I think is necessarily a ball but Rehnquist was.
Huge -- that in a way that that no justice no certainly no chief justice and have only been seventeen chief justices Rehnquist was number sixteen and 44 president's sixteen at that time chief justices.
Okay I want to play for our viewers and for you a clip from my interview with William Rehnquist from the spring of 2001 let's -- Is there a single rock and roll record you like.
When did rock and roll stars from 1955.
Is the general store and -- Chuck Berry Elvis the peoples of central.
Why -- members.
Some songs from the sixty.
And Henry the eighth when -- British invasion -- well.
To fix them have a family dog -- of the British invasion.
What television shows do you watch.
I watch the weather channel.
That's from prayer session here on your your day's notice a warm days of the year there -- -- where there's a I watch your par roll.
On the in the I launch.
Diagnosis murder sometimes I like mysteries very much.
Build those are about the only things I watch regularly there's suspense you don't know what's gonna happen finally.
Do you find it the Butler did it or whoever did it.
Amazingly more than a decade later I look exactly the same John Jenkins.
You've got to interview.
Chief Justice Rehnquist what kind of guy wasn't well listening to this the excerpt I would say he was a real hipster.
-- -- -- William Rehnquist in person was and this this is a very good really glad you played this -- he is a really interest being.
Guy with a lot going on in his mind.
He was a very very fascinating man who wanted to do much more than just -- on the court.
Thirty seconds of what was his most influential opinion that he personally authored.
Were authored the majority opinion I think that it's actually.
He would say none of the above I have to say.
And Rehnquist really stood for -- probably the notable opinion in his in his entire ten year.
Is bush V gore but that's really not even -- Rehnquist opinion so Rehnquist really was a person.
Who who led in a very different way but not by writing influential opinion to just didn't happen again very -- -- I think -- home.
A Supreme Court justice telling stories about the late William Brennan.
And how Brendan in his chambers used to just two other justices with particularly those who do we -- -- just hold his hand.
This is to say 55.
Votes on a given case is -- -- need.
Weren't they all pull aren't they -- to -- some political animals fifteen cents.
I think that they they are in a way all political animals Rehnquist simply -- what Rehnquist did that no Chief Justice had done before.
Was he made it acceptable.
To be blatantly.
Political and that's exactly what he did.
Johnny Jenkins he's the author of the partisan the wife of William Rehnquist the first cradle to grave biography of this profoundly influential figure -- pick it up.
That's it for the foxhole thanks.