For nearly 20 years, William Hubbs Rehnquist served as the 16th Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. During these two decades, the Court issued major decisions involving federalism, abortion, affirmative action, civil rights, privacy, and the 2000 presidential election. Throughout his tenure, Justice Rehnquist was conventionally perceived as a conservative, partly for the anti-civil rights memos he had written earlier in his career. He became a lightning rod for controversy during his confirmation hearings in 1972 for Associate Justice and again in 1986 when he became Chief Justice. Surprisingly, however, Hudson's balanced, nonpartisan examination of the Rehnquist Court and its personalities shows that Rehnquist's conservatism is quite mild compared to that of the ideological purity of Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, and that Rehnquist did an admirable job of playing moderator as Chief Justice, exhibiting sensitivity toward his colleagues.
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About the Author
DAVID L. HUDSON JR. is a research attorney with the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University. Hudson also teaches classes at the Nashville School of Law and Middle Tennessee State University. He serves as a First Amendment contributing editor to the American Bar Association's Preview of United States Supreme Court Cases. He has written about the First Amendment jurisprudence of a number of Supreme Court Justices, including Clarence Thomas, William Brennan, John Paul Stevens, David Souter, and Samuel Alito. He is the author or co-author of 15 books.