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The late Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who died nine months ago, was remembered last week by a host of legal luminaries at a Supreme Court Bar meeting and a special session of the Court. “He was the only person I have ever witnessed lie down on his stomach to line up a shot in croquet,” Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. told a packed courtroom, which included all eight associate justices. He was, Roberts added, using a characterization repeated by every speaker, “utterly without pretense.” Rehnquist’s elevation of states’ rights and his efforts to rein in the commerce clause were also frequently mentioned. Statistics were plentiful. Rehnquist served with 16 other justices, wrote 458 opinions as well as four books, and, with a total of 34 years under his belt as both associate and chief, had the seventh-longest tenure of any member of the Court. “He had a giant intellect but lacked all pretense,” said Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, who then quoted Rehnquist after he was appointed chief: ” �I wouldn’t call it the culmination of a dream, but it’s not every day at 61 years old you get a chance to have a new job.’ “
T.R. Goldman can be contacted at [email protected].

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