Supreme Court Justice: William Rehnquist
William Rehnquist was an American jurist, political figure, and lawyer who served as a Justice on the United States Supreme Court as well as the 16th Chief Justice. Justice William Rehnquist’s views often promoted federalism and conservatism that strongly preserved the Reservation of Powers to the States under the Tenth Amendment. He served as Chief Justice for almost 19 years.
William Rehnquist was born on October 1, 1924 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He graduated in 1942 from Shorewood High School in 1942 and went on to attend Kenyon College for one quarter, but then entered the United States Army Air Forces. Rehnquist served in World War II. After the end of the war, William Rehnquist attended Stanford University under the provisions of the G.I. Bill. and received both a B.A and a M.A. degree in political science in 1948. Two years later, Rehnquist attended Harvard University, where he earned a M.A. government. After, he attended Stanford Law School where he graduated and received his Law Degree.
Gonzales v. Raich (2005): A decision made by the U.S. Supreme Court which ruled that the United States Congress could criminalize the use and production of home-grown cannabis even in states which had laws that approved its use for medicinal purposes. Congress could do this with the power given to them from the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Chief Justice William Rehnquist joined Justice O’Connor’s dissent, which explained that federalism promoted innovation in the country by allowing one state the freedom to try different social or economic experiments that would not risk the rest of the country. The dissent also explained that the federal ban was overreaching and despite personal opinions, the medical marijuana ballot initiated was voted in and the Compassionate Use Act had been passed in California, so the state should have the right to continue their social and economic experiment.
Lawrence v. Texas (2003): A landmark Supreme Court case that struck down a sodomy law in Texas by a 6-3 ruling. In the previous case Bowers v. Hardwick (1986), the court had upheld a Georgia statute and claimed that there was no protection of sexual privacy in the constitution. The new ruling held that the previous case looked at liberty interest too narrowly. Justice Scalia wrote a dissent, which was Chief Justice William Rehnquist. The dissent objected to the Supreme Court’s decision to look at Bowers v. Hardwick and discussed that there were many subsequent decisions based on Bowers that came out of lower courts which could now be open to doubts. The dissent also noted that the rationale used to overturn the previous could just as easily be applied to overturn other court decisions such as Roe v. Wade, which had been recently used to hold up Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992): A Supreme Court Case that looked at the constitutionality of numerous Pennsylvania state regulations that involved abortion. The plurality opinion of the court upheld the constitutional right to have an abortion. However, the court also examined many restrictions of the right and upheld certain portions while invalidating others. Chief Justice William Rehnquist was a part of the plurality opinion which stated that their opinion was upholding the essential precedent of Roe V. Wade, meaning that the right to abortion was a fundamental part of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause. However, Chief Justice William Rehnquist along with Justice Scalia dissented from the plurality’s decision by upholding Roe v. Wade while striking down the spousal notification law.