'We Owe Him a Debt of Gratutude'

J$P Instant Transcript! Comments on the passing of Chief Justice Rehnquist from Greta van Susteren, Alan Dershowitz, Mark Levin, Susan Estrich, Judge Andrew Napolitano, Brian Wilson, and more.

From Fox News Special Coverage, September 4 2005:

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN [FOX NEWS]: He's a little bit different than the other Justices on the Supreme Court... He was not elevated to the Supreme Court from the Court of Appeals to the US Supreme Court.... He came straight from the Justice Department.... The one thing that I have always heard about Chief Justice Rehnquist, and we lawyers never agree totally with the Supreme Court but frankly they get the last word and we do not, is that people who worked with him really loved him. I know a lot of his former law clerks. They said he was a really good guy, that he's a very nice guy. He's a very warm guy, and he had a long history of being very popular on the court.... He certainly shifted the court in a conservative direction, I think that's undisputable.

SUSAN ESTRICH [FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR]: Here was this guy who made unbelievably important decisions. He, unlike Chief Justice Berger, knew how to pull a court together and knew how to get five votes. And that's a real skill. I don't think the President's going to elevate Scalia because Scalia has contempt for his colleagues half the time, and he shows it, and that's no way to get five votes.... We now do our politics using judicial battles. That began with Bork and it continues to this day. And the proof of it is that my friends can even find something with Roberts. And Rehnquist, who had a strong ideology, nobody knows because nobody fought a battle over him.

MARK LEVIN [AUTHOR, "MEN IN BLACK"]: He was an outstanding person. He was a patriot. He was committed to the constitution. He was respectful of representative government.... He was a real, old-time statesman. And that's missing a lot.... We have enough politicians on the court. They've never actually stood for office, but they certainly have issued a number of political decisions in my view.... [Scalia] is one of the best-liked Justices on the Supreme Court. In fact he's best friends with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the families socialize together, and she's the most left-wing Justice on the Court. So I'm not buying that urban myth at all.

LISE WIEHL [FOX NEWS ANALYST]: The prosecutors and law enforcement in this country have lost a great friend tonight in Rehnquist. He was pro-search warrant, he was pro a lot of things that helped law enforcement over the years. Maybe to the detriment of the constitution in some cases I would say.

BRIAN WILSON [FOX NEWS]: I found the man to be incredibly interesting and a real bright and inquisitive guy.... One of the things that I learned about him was that he had a great base of knowledge about weather trivia of all things, having worked in the Army Weather Corps at one point. But the real story here is, this changes the dynamic of what is happening on the Supreme Court.

ESTRICH: I just remembered something fascinating. Remember, the runner-up for this job was said to be Edith Clement, remember? And remember where's she's from? New Orleans, Louisiana. So I'm going with the early money saying you move John Roberts up to Chief Justice and you put Judge Clement on the Court.

DAVID ASMAN [FOX NEWS]: He died with his boots on. There's a lot of questions as to why he stayed on beyond the time which a lot of people thought he would retire. Certainly the most dramatic moment in recent history was during the inauguration...which was just such an incredible moment of strength and courage for him to walk down those steps on that cold January day for the inauguration.... It spoke a lot about the determination and the character of the man, and perhaps was reflected in some of his decisions. Another thing about him, he was a great diplomat...he handled himself very cooly, very calmly, very collectedly.... Rehnquist was a man who had never shied from his conservative views but at the same time was very diplomatic about the way he presented them.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: He was a judicial activist in every sense of that term. He struck down more federal statutes than almost any other sitting judge.... He had written for 30 years that the equal protection clause only applied in racial matters.... Then comes along Bush v Gore and he joins the decision, striking down the Florida count on the ground that it denied equal protection.... The decisions of Justice Rehnquist are not taught in law schools as great decisions. He'll be remembered primarily for his votes rather than the content or quality of his decisions.... He started his career by being a kind of Republican thug who pushed and shoved to keep African-American and Hispanic voters from voting. He had a restrictive covenant in his own lease which precluded the sale to Jews. There were so many things in his background that were extremely right-wing.

LEVIN: On a night like this Professor Dershowitz has proven himself to be the disgrace that I've always thought he was. He brings up all this stuff about the deed on his home and all the rest. They regurgitated this stuff before and the Senate still approved him. An activist isn't a Justice who overturns Congressional legislation. If Congressional legislation violates the constitution, the job of the Justice is to apply the constitution.... When the court struck down the partial-birth abortion ban several months ago, I don't remember all the leftists like Harvard Professors and the rest of them jumping up and down complaining about judicial activism.... An activist is somebody who writes something into the Constitution that doesn't exist. I want to say this: the nation, other than the halls of academia, the nation is grateful for Chief Justice Rehnquist, who is a statesman, who showed fidelity for the constitution. And for this jerk to come on here tonight and spew what he spewed is just outrageous.

NAPOLITANO: The legacy will be debated, but like him or dislike him, he gave 33 years of service on the Supreme Court.... He was absolutely faithful to the constitution. For Professor Dershowitz to come on here and call him a republican thug is absolutely outrageous.... Look: the whole purpose of an independent judiciary is to be antidemocratic, to preserve the rights that are in the constitution. And if the Congress writes legislation that the constitution doesn't authorize it to write, it is the duty and the obligation of the court to strike it down. And William Rehnquist never flinched from that duty or obligation. And for that we owe him a debt of gratitude.

posted: Sun - September 4, 2005 at 02:36 AM       j$p  send 

I loved Mark Levin's retort of Alan Dershowitz. And the latter's comment is another example of why Dershowitz basically vanished from the airwaves following the aftermath of the 2000 election.
September 4, 2005, 1:07:48 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Tell me something, you tell tvn "fnc stuck with the story until 1am." when all fnc really did was rerun previous coverage of the story...you distort and hide really well.
September 4, 2005, 1:18:15 PM EDT – Like – Reply

johnny dollar
Sorry anon, but you are the one who is distorting. FNC DID stick with the story until 1:00 am. From 1:00 am to 2:00 am is when the rerun aired. See Inside Cable News for the complete chronology.
Why do people who post as "anonymous" so often get things wrong?
September 4, 2005, 1:50:55 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Because, like all good liberals, they don't have facts to back up their claims, so by posting as anon, they can simply pretend it wasn't them that made a fool of themselves.
Chickens always peck and run, but never stick around to give their name!
September 15, 2005, 2:55:15 PM EDT – Like – Reply