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Glossary

On the nomination and confirmation hearings of William Rehnquist

Transcript
Sometimes the nomination hearings for a new justice on the Court, or indeed for a Chief Justice, can get pretty difficult, challenging, bruising, if you will. We've seen some in recent years that are evidence of that. When William Rehnquist was first nominated to go on the Court it was in the wake of two nominations by President Richard Nixon for positions on the Court that had been rejected. And it was getting a little challenging for the president to put someone on the Court. And William Rehnquist had been working in the office of legal council for the president and the president decided to name him for the Court. He was not well known by the country generally. And when he was nominated opponents quickly found things from Arizona that they could complain about. William Rehnquist, when he lived and practiced law in the state of Arizona had been active in the Republican Party, first as a young Republican, then as an adult Republican. And he had been active at election time being a poll worker and so forth. And so there were people quite willing to testify against him at the nomination hearing. And indeed there was testimony against him. After all, he had worked in the administration of Richard Nixon who, at the end of his days, was not in high repute around the country. So it isn't surprising that there was considerable controversy. But that controversy at the hearings ended with the confirmation of Justice Rehnquist. He never looked back. He didn't let that controversy bother him in the least. William Rehnquist was a man who was very comfortable in his own skin and in his own intellectual capacity and beliefs. He was comfortable. He didn't he was not a self-doubter nor did he think he had to impose his views on the rest of the world. He just set out what he believed and he thought it was persuasive and if people agreed with him well and good. If they didn't, that was alright too.


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