Chief Justice Rehnquist’s Papers Donated to Stanford

The papers of the late William H. Rehnquist ’52 (BA/MA ’48), chief justice of the united States Supreme Court from 1986 to 2005, have returned to the institution where his extraordinary legal career began. Donated to Stanford’s Hoover Institution Archives in October, the collection includes case-related materials, speeches, personal correspondence, notes on books Rehnquist wrote, and in-chambers correspondence among the justices. “We are pleased to donate our father’s papers to Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. Stanford is where our parents met as college students, and though they spent their last decades in Washington, their hearts were always in the West,” said members of the Rehnquist family in a statement. Rehnquist was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Richard Nixon and took his seat as an associate justice on January 7, 1972. President Ronald Reagan nominated Rehnquist to be chief justice in 1986, a position he held until his death in 2005. “One of Chief Justice Rehnquist’s favorite aphorisms was Justice Holmes’s comment that ‘a page of history is worth a volume of logic,'” says barton H. “Buzz” Thompson Jr., JD/MBA ’76 (BA ’72), Robert E. Paradise Professor of Natural Resources Law and Perry L. McCarty Director, Woods Institute for the Environment, who served as Rehnquist’s law clerk in 1977-78. “Working in the Chief’s chambers, you quickly realized that he expected you to be as knowledgeable on history as on the law; daily quizzes on history were common. It is thus particularly meaningful that his papers will now be at Stanford where historians can use them to help inform the resolution of future challenges.” Currently, the papers from the 1972 and 1973 Supreme Court terms and Rehnquist’s correspondence files from 1972 through 2005 are available to researchers. Other portions of the collection will remain closed until processed by Hoover archivists.