William Rehnquist, who steered the high court through groundbreaking
legal and political disputes as well as guided it through a docket-full
of potentially pivotal and controversial cases in recent court
terms, died on Sept. 3, 2005 at his home in Arlington, Va. at
the age of 80 from thyroid cancer.
Word of the
chief justice's battle with thyroid cancer came out soon after
he entered the National Naval Medical Center at Bethesda, Md.,
on Oct. 22, 2004 to undergo a tracheotomy. Cancer experts said
his treatment indicated he likely had the most serious form of
the disease, although neither Rehnquist nor his doctors revealed
details about the extent of his illness at the time.
1, 1924, Rehnquist grew up in Shorewood, a wealthy Milwaukee suburb,
where his father William Benjamin was a wholesale paper salesman
and his mother Margery Peck Rehnquist, a housewife and civic activist
fluent in five languages, worked freelance as a translator for
local companies. Early on he embraced his family's respect for
such Republican Party leaders as Herbert Hoover and Robert Taft.