The 'wall of separation between church and state' is a metaphor based on bad history, a metaphor which has proved useless as a guide to judging. It should be frankly and explicitly abandoned.

— William Rehnquist

The most uplifting William Rehnquist quotes that are life-changing and eye-opening

I realize that it is an unpopular and unhumanitarian position, for which I have been excoriated by 'liberal' colleagues, but I think Plessy v. Ferguson was right and should be re-affirmed.


What many of those who oppose the use of juries in civil trials seem to ignore is that the founders of our Nation considered the right of trial by jury in civil cases an important bulwark against tyranny and corruption, a safeguard too precious to be left to the whim of the sovereign, or, it might be added, to that of the judiciary.


It is always possible for the court to overreach its proper bounds and perhaps declare a lot of laws unconstitutional and frustrate the will of the majority in a way that it ought not be frustrated.


The Equal Rights Amendment would "turn holy wedlock into holy deadlock."


Somewhere "out there," beyond the walls of the courthouse, run currents and tides of public opinion which lap at the courtroom door.


The Constitution requires that Congress treat similarly situated persons similarly, not that it engages in gestures of superficial equality.


In any civilized society the most important task is achieving a proper balance between freedom and order. In wartime, reason and history both suggest that this balance shifts in favor... of the government's ability to deal with conditions that threaten the national well-being.


The "wall of separation between church and State" is a metaphor based on bad history.


If you could say of any one individual that the court as an institution is the length and shadow of that individual, surely it would be John Marshall.


Perhaps you should say there should be mandatory retirement even of members of the court, members of the federal judiciary. I'm sure there can be questions about whether one does as good work when you get into your - you know, I'm 67.


Pregnancy is of course confined to women, but it is in other ways significantly different from the typical covered disease or disability.


The laws will not be silent in time of war but they'll speak with a somewhat different voice.


About William Rehnquist

Quotes 19 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Judge
Birthday October 16

We start with first principles. The Constitution creates a Federal Government of enumerated powers.


I may not be able to define pornography but I know it when I see it.


Conservatives are those who worship dead radicals.


It is impossible to build sound constitutional doctrine upon a mistaken understanding of Constitutional history... The establishment clause has been expressly freighted with Jefferson's misleading metaphor for nearly forty years... There is simply no historical foundation for the proposition that the framers intended to build a wall of separation... The recent court decisions are in no way based on either the language or intent of the framers.


[I]f we assume a liberty interest but nevertheless say that, even assuming a liberty interest, a state can prohibit it entirely, that would be rather a conundrum.


A father's interest in having a child--perhaps his only child--may be unmatched by any other interest in his life. It is truly surprising that the state must assign a greater value to a mother's decision to cut off a potential human life by abortion than to a father's decision to let it mature into a live child.