New Look at an Old Memo Casts More Doubt on Rehnquist
...“I realize it is an unpopular and unhumanitarian position, for which I have been excoriated by ‘liberal’ colleagues,” Mr. [William] Rehnquist wrote [in a 1952 memo], “but I think Plessy v. Ferguson was right and should be reaffirmed.”...
In a new article in The Boston College Law Review, two scholars reconstruct and analyze another letter by Mr. Rehnquist, this one to Justice Felix Frankfurter in 1955, and they draw some stinging conclusions....
The new law review article makes the case that “Rehnquist’s disappointment with Brown provides the most plausible motivation for his harsh 1955 letter about [the justice for whom he clerked, Robert H.] Jackson.” The article supports this theory by, among other things, reviewing Mr. Rehnquist’s letters to Justice Jackson, which were admiring and supportive until Brown and ceased after the decision was issued.
The article also contends that the 1955 letter from Mr. Rehnquist to Justice Frankfurter “would have been a bombshell” had it been revealed at the 1971 or 1986 confirmation hearings.
Perhaps. But the new evidence only buttresses information available at the time that undermined the account offered by the future chief justice....
comments powered by Disqus
- Ronald Suny says historians have shied away from exploring the roots of the Armenian genocide for fear of taking attention away from the victims
- Columbia University professors Eric Foner, Alan Brinkley, and Alice Kessler-Harris to retire
- A powerhouse appropriations subcommittee is now headed by a historian: Republican Rep. Tom Cole (OK)
- Slavic scholars divided over a scholarship sponsored (and withdrawn) by Stephen F. Cohen
- Claire Strom to Step Down as Editor of Agricultural History