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Reform Jewish Leader Responds to Passing of Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist
On occasion of Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist’s passing, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center (RAC), issued the following statement, "We salute Chief Justice Rehnquist for his service and his commitment to the Court and the country. … In nominating and confirming any candidate, President Bush and Senators should work together to ensure that he or she possesses the qualities necessary to ensure the Court’s legitimacy in the eyes of all Americans."

Saperstein: We salute Chief Justice Rehnquist for his service and his commitment to the Court and the country. … In nominating and confirming any candidate, President Bush and Senators should work together to ensure that he or she possesses the qualities necessary to ensure the Court’s legitimacy in the eyes of all Americans.

 Contact: Alexis Rice or Barbara Weinstein: 202.387.2800

Washington, September 4, 2005- On occasion of Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist’s passing, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center (RAC), issued the following statement:  

For more than three decades, William Rehnquist was a devoted public servant.  We salute Chief Justice Rehnquist for his service and his commitment to the Court and the country.   Even as he fought against illness, he never wavered in his dedication to the Court. Our thoughts and prayers are now with his family and friends.

Chief Justice Rehnquist death reminds us anew of the power of those who sit on our highest court to shape our nation. For 33 years, an associate and ultimately Chief Justice Rehnquist guided the courts work in cases that affected all aspects of our national life. His tenure as Chief Justice saw the court shift in direction, in deep and profound ways, among them sharply cutting back on the number of cases the Court accepted, leaving many more cases to be resolved at the circuit court level, and cutting back the role of the federal government in relations to state powers.

Chief Justice Rehnquist’s successor will, by virtue of his or her position as first among equals, shape the Court’s tenor and tone for a generation or more.  In nominating and confirming any candidate, President Bush and Senators should work together to ensure that he or she possesses the qualities necessary to ensure the Court’s legitimacy in the eyes of all Americans.  A Chief Justice, in particular, must have all the qualities of an outstanding Associate Justice as well as a personal style which will allow him or her manage the Court as effectively as did Chief Justice Rehnquist.

We look forward to the confirmation of a Justice of great ability and wisdom who will administer the law fairly and bring credit to our nation’s highest court.

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1800 Reform rabbis.



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