Loony Rehnquist?

Ken AshfordSupreme CourtLeave a Comment


The FBI’s file on former Chief Justice William Rehnquist — made public more than a year after his death — offers insight into hallucinations and other symptoms of withdrawal that Rehnquist suffered when he was taken off a prescription painkiller in 1981.

A doctor was cited as saying that Rehnquist, an associate justice of the Supreme Court at the time, tried to escape the hospital in his pajamas and imagined that the CIA was plotting against him.

Now, to be fair, this was a brief period in Rehnquist’s life when he was suffering from withdrawal from pain medication.  There’s no serious allegation that Rehnquist, while serving on the nation’s highest court, was unfit for his duties.

Or was there?

In one previously secret memo from 1971, an FBI official wrote, "No persons interviewed during our current or 1969 investigation furnished information bearing adversely on Rehnquist’s morals or professional integrity; however …" The next third of the page is blacked out, under the disclosure law’s exception for matters of national security.

However what?

RELATED SUPREME COURT HISTORY NEWS:  Harriet Miers resigns.  Presumably, to spend more time admiring Bush’s family.