Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist died Saturday evening of cancer, ending a long, 33-year tenure on the Supreme Court and leaving a concurrent second vacancy on the Court.
The only chief justice older than Rehnquist was Roger Taney, who presided over the court in the mid-1800s until his death at 87. Only four other justices served on the court 34 years or longer. Rehnquist was appointed to the Court by President Richard Nixon, and elevated to Chief Justice by President Reagan.
I violently disagree(d) with his politics, and particularly the court's shameful handling of the 2000 election. But liked him. He was extremely smart, and I dug the crazy gold stripes he adopted for the Chief Justice's robe. Even justices on the left admitted they liked him.
We all knew this would happen sooner or later. Some of us hoped that "later" would, in this case, mean "during the next president's term."