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Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist has another degree — and what presumably is his first connection to rocker Alice Cooper. The 80-year-old Rehnquist was awarded an honorary doctorate in political science from Grand Canyon University, a Christian liberal arts college in Phoenix. Rehnquist, who has academic degrees from Stanford and Harvard, practiced law in Arizona’s capital city from 1953-69. Last spring, Grand Canyon University honored Cooper, a born-again Christian once known for shocking concert audiences with guillotines, fake blood and decapitated baby dolls. Rehnquist, a Lutheran, also has some musical talent, albeit of a much lower-key nature: He leads Christmas carols at the court each year. About 15,000 attended the college’s May 7 commencement and saw a videotaped greeting from the chief justice. Rehnquist was diagnosed last fall with thyroid cancer and speaks with some difficulty because of a trachea tube inserted as part of his treatment. “I want to say it’s a great honor to receive this honorary degree from Grand Canyon University,” he said in the video that was taped at the court a few days before the commencement. “I lived in Phoenix for 15 years. And I know what good work the university does. I shall always be honored for having received the degree and I thank you for it.” Rehnquist did not mention his health or his future plans, which have been the subject of much speculation. Others receiving honorary Grand Canyon University degrees this year were radio host Dr. Laura Schlessinger and performer Naomi Judd. Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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