Rehnquist's Legacy Praised by Pro-life Leader

WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPT. 4, 2005 ( The national director of Priests for Life remembered the late U.S. Chief Justice William Rehnquist as a «strong defender of the Constitution.»

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Rehnquist, 80, died of cancer on Saturday. He had spent 33 years on the Supreme Court.

Rehnquist wrote one of two dissenting opinions in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that helped to legalize abortion in the United States. He had long been seen as a hero of the pro-life movement.

Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, said in a statement: «Throughout his career, Chief Justice Rehnquist was a strong defender of the Constitution. He strictly applied the Constitution and exercised proper restraint by supporting the right of legislatures to settle political matters rather than abuse the power of the court by legislating his own personal beliefs.»

The priest added: «We are fully confident that the president will replace him on the court with someone who will live up to the high standards that he has set for judicial restraint and strict application of the Constitution.»

Rehnquist’s death opens a second vacancy on the nine-member court. The Senate’s confirmation hearings on John Roberts, nominated to replace Sandra Day O’Connor, are to begin Tuesday.

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