R.I.P. Rhenquist

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The Chief Justice has passed.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist died Saturday evening of cancer, ending a 33-year Supreme Court career during which he oversaw the court’s conservative shift, presided over an impeachment trial and helped decide a presidential election. His death creates a rare second vacancy on the nation’s highest court.

Rehnquist, 80, was surrounded by his three children when he died at his home in suburban Arlington. His wife died in 1991.

“The Chief Justice battled thyroid cancer since being diagnosed last October and continued to perform his duties on the court until a precipitous decline in his health the last couple of days,” said court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg.

Rehnquist was appointed to the Supreme Court as an associate justice in 1971 by President Nixon and took his seat on Jan. 7, 1972. He was elevated to chief justice by President Reagan in 1986.

Let’s worry about politics later. For now, let’s respect the man’s family and wait a few days.

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