The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a pair of statements on the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass. -- one from Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., and the other from Justice Stephen Breyer, who worked for Kennedy 30 years ago as chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Kennedy pushed for Breyer's nomination to the high court in the early 1990s, and opposed Roberts' nomination in 2005.
Said Roberts: "I am very saddened by Senator Kennedy's passing. He was -- all his life -- a sincere, dedicated, and tireless public servant."
Breyer's statement: "The country has lost a great senator. We who worked for him remember and will always cherish his practical wisdom, his sense of humor, his determination, and his love of his country and its history. He was dedicated to helping others. Our hearts go out to Vicki and to his family. Senator Kennedy was a great American."
KENNEDY'S NOTE TO REHNQUIST
Many of the appraisals of Kennedy, who died Tuesday night, make the point that Kennedy was adept at making alliances and extending courtesies across the aisle and with adversaries. One example can be found in the papers of the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist, recently opened at the Hoover Institution Archives at Stanford University.
Kennedy was a leader of the opposition to Rehnquist's confirmation as chief justice in 1986, but that did not stop him from wishing Rehnquist well in his battle with thyroid cancer in 2004 and 2005. Soon after Rehnquist's diagnosis was announced, Kennedy sent him a handwritten note: "Dear Mr. Chief Justice -- I was saddened to hear about your illness -- I wish you a speedy recovery -- Best Wishes, Ted Kennedy."
This article first appeared on The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times.
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