Stanford Law Review Publishes William H. Rehnquist’s 1948 Master’s Thesis

In tribute to the late William H.Rehnquist ’52 (BA/MA ’48), the Stanford Law Review published his 1948 master’s thesis “Contemporary Theories of Rights.” Rehnquist, who served 33 years on the Supreme Court of the United States, including 19 years as chief justice, submitted his master’s thesis to the Stanford University Department of Political Science in August 1948. Until now the only two copies of this work were held in unpublished form in the Stanford University Archives. Rehnquist passed away in September 2005.

“One sees in Chief Justice Rehnquist’s youthful scholarship the seeds of his later jurisprudence and the source of his core commitments as a lawyer and a judge,”said Larry Kramer,RichardE. Lang Professor of Law and Dean.

The Law Review decided to publish the late chief justice’s thesis, with permission from the university and the Rehnquist family, as part of a special tribute issue on Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor ’52 (BA ’50). To view Rehnquist’s thesis in Volume 58 (Issue 6) of the Stanford Law Review online, go to