The flags flew at half staff as “The Chief,” William H. Rehnquist in his flag draped coffin made one final trip down the long marble steps of the United States Supreme Court where he presided for nearly two decades. So many were present to pay their respects, his colleagues, staff and former law clerks, and so many more.
It was a journey that lasted only minutes, yet few gathered in the morning crowd outside the Supreme Court missed the most telling moments: when John G. Roberts Jr., the man nominated to succeed Rehnquist, walked solemnly with the other pallbearers toward the hearse bearing his body, and when an emotional Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, on the eve of her own planned farewell, wiped away tears as the plain white pine coffin passed and entered the building’s Great Hall.
“Rest here now, child of God, William Hubbs Rehnquist,” intoned the Rev. George W. Evans Jr., pastor of Lutheran Church of the Holy Redeemer in McLean, which Rehnquist attended for many years. “Rest here in the halls you know so well.” In those usually calm, reasoned halls — where Rehnquist had been known simply as “the Chief” since President Ronald Reagan elevated him to the post in 1986 — feelings flowed freely. Roberts, one of those former clerks, seemed to struggle to keep his composure. Justice Antonin Scalia brushed a tear from his eye.
William H. Rehnquist will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery after a funeral service at 2 p.m. today at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Northwest Washington. God Bless you Chief Justice Rehnquist and may the peace of the Lord be with you.
CBS News; Supreme Sorrow. A rather nice reminder of what makes all of us human.
The late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist’s final act at the Court was to remind the nation and the world of the human frailty of the men and women whose orders and decisions cut like steel into the fabric of American life.
MSNBC; Washington honors Rehnquist at funeral. Service for late chief justice held in historic D.C. cathedral
William H. Rehnquist was praised Wednesday for steering the Supreme Court with a steady hand as President Bush and former court colleague Sandra Day O’Connor led a national farewell for the 16th chief justice. After prayers at the high court, Rehnquist’s casket was carried down the steps in front of the building where he had served for 33 years and brought to historic St. Matthew’s Cathedral in downtown Washington for a private funeral. Burial was set for Arlington National Cemetery in a grave not far from where several other justices are interred.
Fox News: Funeral Services to Be Held for Rehnquist
The nation’s 16th chief justice, who died Saturday night from complications of thyroid cancer, was being buried at Arlington National Cemetery, where the Web site listed him as William H. Rehnquist, Sgt. USA, a reference to his Army rank during World War II. From the gravesite, where his wife was interred upon her death in 1991, the Capitol is visible. Rehnquist will be buried in the older section of the cemetery, not far from where former justices Warren Burger, Harry Blackmun and William Brennan, are interred. The gravesite will have a tombstone chosen by the family rather than a government-issued marker, said Lori Calvillo, a public affairs officer at Arlington.