Con: His tenure curtailed essential freedoms

His tenure curtailed essential freedoms

Few Supreme Court Justices have had such a devastating effect on civil liberties and civil rights as William Rehnquist. While his quest to limit federal power has got the most attention, his assault on individual rights has been particularly effective in fraying constitutional protections for criminal defendants. Not only has Rehnquist been a consistent advocate for the death penalty but he also authored an astounding opinion that the Constitution is not violated when a state executes an innocent person.

From the time he was a law clerk, Rehnquist has advocated limiting the ability of state prisoners to argue in federal...

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