[JURIST] President Bush Sunday paid personal tribute to Chief Justice William Rehnquist [JURIST news archive], who died Saturday evening at the age of 80 [JURIST report]. Speaking in the Roosevelt Room at the White House, he said of the late jurist:
He was extremely well respected for his powerful intellect. He was respected for his deep commitment to the rule of law and his profound devotion to duty. He provided superb leadership for the federal court system, improving the delivery of justice for the American people, and earning the admiration of his colleagues throughout the judiciary.Bush said he would "choose in a timely manner a highly qualified nominee" to replace Rehnquist as Chief Justice. Read the full transcript of the President's remarks.
Even during a period of illness, Chief Justice Rehnquist stayed on the job to complete the work of his final Supreme Court term. I was honored and I was deeply touched when he came to the Capitol for the swearing-in last January. He was a man of character and dedication. His departure represents a great loss for the Court and for our country....
More than half a century has passed since William H. Rehnquist first came to the Supreme Court as a young law clerk. All of his years William Rehnquist revered the Constitution and laws of the United States. He led the judicial branch of government with tremendous wisdom and skill. He honored America with a lifetime of service, and America will honor his memory.
Meanwhile other political leaders have joined in with tributes of their own. Senator Arelen Specter, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Rehnquist had left a "deep imprint on American law." Judiciary Committee Ranking Democrat Patrick Leahy praised his "tenacious fight to preserve the integrity and independence of our federal courts", while fellow Democratic Senator Charles Schumer acknowledged that "People of all philosophies and viewpoints greatly respected Justice Rehnquist and will miss him." AP has more.