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William H. Rehnquist

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Virtually pristine Supreme Court card signed by the second-longest serving Chief Justice

William Hubbs Rehnquist, 1924–2005. Chief Justice of the United States, 1986–2005; Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the United States, 1972–1986. 3⅜" x 4½" Supreme Court card,  boldly signed William H. Rehnquist.  With original unaddressed envelope.

This is a beautiful card that Rehnquist has signed in black ballpoint pen.  The signature is 3¾" long. 

President Richard Nixon appointed Rehnquist, then an Assistant Attorney General, to the Supreme Court in 1971 to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice John Marshall Harlan.  Rehnquist had served as the law clerk to Justice Robert H. Jackson during the 1952–1953 term following his graduation at the top of his class at Stanford University Law School.  He then practiced law in Arizona but returned to Washington to join the Justice Department, as the top lawyer to Attorney General John Mitchell, when Nixon took office.  Nixon nominated him for a seat on the Supreme Court along with Lewis F. Powell, Jr., whom he nominated to fill the concurrent vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Hugo L. Black.  The Senate confirmed Rehnquistʼs appointment by a 68–26 vote on December 10, 1971, and Rehnquist took his seat as the junior Justice—Powell was confirmed first—on January 7, 1972. 

In 1986, when Chief Justice Warren E. Burger retired, President Ronald Reagan nominated the gregarious Rehnquist to be Chief Justice.  The Senate confirmed him by a similar vote, 65–33, and he became the nationʼs sixteenth Chief Justice.  He served until his death in 2005.

Rehnquist was a staunch conservative.  He dissented in Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), in which the Supreme Court held that the right to privacy includes the right of a woman to obtain an abortion under certain circumstances.  Rehnquistʼs view of federalism favored state power—applying the Tenth Amendment, which reserves to the states the powers not specifically conferred on the federal government.  Rehnquist wrote the decision in United States v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549 (1995), in which the Court, for the first time since the New Deal, invalided an a federal law on the ground that Congress had exceeded its power under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. 

In 1999, Rehnquist became only the second Chief Justice to preside over a presidential impeachment trial—a task that the Constitution confers on the Chief Justice—when he presided over the trial of President Bill Clinton.

All together, Rehnquist served on the Supreme Court more than 33 years, the eighth longest serving Justice in American History.  The last 19 years, he served as Chief Justice, the second longest term in history behind that of Chief Justice John Marshall.

This card is bright and in very fine condition.  Only a faint mark in the blank area above Rehnquistʼs last name keeps us from grading the card extra fine.  It comes with the original engraved Supreme Court envelope, which has never been sealed and is in extra fine condition.

Unframed.  Click here for information about custom framing this piece.

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