Chief Justice William Rehnquist Funeral
Chief Justice William Rehnquist was warmly remembered at funeral services this morning.
President Bush led the nation in a final tribute to William H. Rehnquist on Wednesday, remembering the 16th chief justice as the Supreme Court’s steady presence and a man of lifetime integrity. The president told hundreds assembled at Rehnquist’s private funeral Ã¢€” family, former clerks, lawmakers and Cabinet members Ã¢€” that the justice was a kind soul who accomplished much in a life that included 33 years on the high court. “We remember the integrity and the sense of duty that he brought to every task before him,” Bush told the audience at historic St. Matthew’s Cathedral. Rehnquist was a steady, guiding presence on the court, Bush said. Despite battling thyroid cancer, Rehnquist managed to attend Bush’s second inauguration in January and administer the oath of office to the president Ã¢€” a gesture Bush recalled with appreciation.
Justice Sandra Day O’Connor fondly remembered a bright, witty and persuasive Rehnquist, a man she met at Stanford Law School more than half a century ago. “He was clearly the brightest student in our class,” she said, and she spoke respectfully of his ability on the high court. “He never twisted arms to get votes,” she said, but relied on the power of his arguments.
Family members portrayed Rehnquist as a man who balanced career and family. “No one smelled more roses than my dad,” said James Rehnquist.
Burial was set for Arlington National Cemetery in a grave not far from where several other justices are interred.
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, in a welcome to those assembled in the Roman Catholic church, praised Rehnquist as a “loving father and husband, an outstanding legal scholar, a tireless champion of life and a true lover of the law: in every sense, a great American.”