William Rehnquist (Supreme Court Justice)

William Rehnquist

William Hubbs Rehnquist was an American lawyer and jurist who served on the Supreme Court of the United States for 33 years, first as an Associate Justice from 1972 to 1986 and then as Chief Justice from 1986 until his death in 2005. Considered a conservative, Rehnquist favored a conception of federalism that emphasized the Tenth Amendment’s reservation of powers to the states. Under this view of federalism, the court, for the first time since the 1930s, struck down an act of Congress as exceeding its power under the Commerce Clause. Rehnquist grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and served in the U.S. Army Air Forces during the final years of World War II. After the war’s end in 1945, Rehnquist studied political science at Stanford University and Harvard University, then earned a law degree from the Stanford Law School. He clerked for Associate Justice Robert H. Jackson during the Supreme Court’s 1952–1953 term, then entered private practice in Phoenix, Arizona.

Born: William Donald Rehnquist, October 1, 1924, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
Died: September 3, 2005, Arlington, Virginia, U.S.
Political party: Republican
Children: 3
Education: Stanford University (BA, MA, LLB), Harvard University (MA)
Preceded by: Warren E. Burger
Succeeded by: John Roberts

About William Rehnquist

United States Chief Justice appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the Supreme Court. Prior to becoming Chief Justice in 1986, he had served under the Nixon administration as an Associate Supreme Court Justice.

Before Fame

He served in the United States Army Air Forces for three years.


He served for nineteen years as the Chief Justice, making him, at the time, the fourth-longest- serving Chief Justice in history.

Family Life

He was married to Nan Cornell from 1953 until her death in 1991.


He and fellow Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor both graduated from Stanford Law School and even briefly dated.

Information related to William Rehnquist

  • Demographics of the Supreme Court of the United States – The demographics of the Supreme Court of the United States encompass the gender, ethnicity, and religious, geographic, and economic backgrounds of the 114 people who have been appointed and confirmed as justices to the Supreme Court.
  • Chief Justices of the United States
  • United States federal judges appointed by Richard Nixon
  • Lawyers from Phoenix, Arizona
  • Barry Goldwater
  • Tulane University Law School faculty
  • Writers from Phoenix, Arizona
  • United States federal judges appointed by Ronald Reagan
  • Denison University alumni
  • Writers from Milwaukee
  • Kenyon College alumni
  • Stanford Law School alumni
  • American legal writers
  • Writers from Virginia
  • Arizona Republicans
  • United States Army Air Forces soldiers
  • Virginia Republicans
  • Law clerks of the Supreme Court of the United States
  • American Lutherans

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