Last November, the first segment of the extensive collection of the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist’s papers became public at the Hoover Institution Archives at Stanford University. It was a small batch, limited by Rehnquist’s stipulation that no files about specific cases be released during the lifetime of any other justice serving at the time. With Justice John Paul Stevens, who joined the Court in 1975, still alive, that meant only the case files from Rehnquist’s arrival at the Court in 1972 until 1975 could be released.
But within the last few weeks, and without fanfare, the archives allowed public access to the next batch — no case files, but an extensive compilation of Rehnquist’s correspondence with justices and with others as recently as 2005, the year he died in office. The material offers a glimpse at the inner workings of the Court and of Rehnquist’s own dealings with other justices as an associate and then chief justice.
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