Sunday, September 04, 2005

Rehnquist passes on

This evening, AU Yellow Dog called me from a football game to pass on the news that Chief Justice William Rehnquist has died. Before the career autopsy begins, followed by prognostications about the future, a moment of appreciation for a longtime public servant.

Note to "anonymous" #2 comment, September 21: Well, each of us is our own person, so my colleagues and I don't have to agree all the time. In general, I certainly don't appreciate that Rehnquist's stances on a multitude of issues were not friendly to mine, to say the least. But, at the moment of his death, I stepped back enough to recognize that, despite that difference, the position that he held was an incredibly difficult one for any person to do. That admission does not validate his positions, but as the top administrator of the court, he was recognized even by those who vehemently disagreed with those positions as able to hold together a court staffed by widely divergent thinkers and to keep it functioning. If you've ever managed a group of strong-willed individuals who need to somehow work together toward a common good, you know how difficult this is.

At any rate, that moment has passed.