Chief Justice Rehnquist’s Health Declining Quickly

The New York Post’s Vincent Morris has a SHOCKING LOOK AT AILING REHNQUIST

One of the most powerful men in America, cancer-stricken Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist, looked very, very ill yesterday. I say that because I unexpectedly came face to face with the 80-year-old, wheelchair-bound Rehnquist as his aides pushed him down an endless series of basement corridors in the Capitol.

The longtime chief justice hasn’t been seen in public in several months and it was clear to me why. Rehnquist was hunched over in his wheelchair, an old hunting cap pulled down low over his ears to cover up his blotchy skin and near baldness, possibly the result of the aggressive treatment he’s getting for his thyroid cancer. His eyes looked sunken and lifeless. A plastic collar was wrapped tightly around his neck, where his throat had been opened recently for a tracheotomy. I tried to make eye contact and wanted to offer a word of encouragement. Our eyes never met.

Rehnquist, who has not been appearing at Supreme Court sessions this year, had arranged for a private view of the platform outside the Capitol, where on Thursday he’ll swear in President Bush to a second term. At the Capitol yesterday, Rehnquist struggled to get out of his wheelchair for a view, as police kept onlookers back and people averted their eyes to spare him embarrassment.

Truly sad. Rehnquist has served the country admirably for 30-odd years now. It’s a shame to see him go out this way.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Jim Heckman says:

    The world will truly miss a legal giant at his passing. I pray that he will not suffer long.

  2. bryan says:

    I’ve got news. Rehnquist wasn’t looking too hot *before* the cancer treatments began. He’s 80! And another one who is looking very frail is Sandra Day O’Connor.

  3. McGehee says:

    Rehnquist wasn’t looking too hot before the cancer treatments began.

    Untreated cancer isn’t exactly a picnic…