Statement on the Senate Confirmation of William H. Rehnquist as Chief Justice and Antonin Scalia as Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court

September 17, 1986

I am very pleased that the Senate has voted to confirm my nominations of William Rehnquist to be Chief Justice of the United States and Antonin Scalia as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. William Rehnquist has served with great distinction as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court for the last 15 years. Known as an extraordinary legal mind from his early years in law, Justice Rehnquist earned renown in the Court for the brilliance of his reason and the clarity and craftsmanship of his opinions. I have no doubt that William Rehnquist will prove to be a Chief Justice of historic stature. Judge Scalia is also widely regarded in his profession as a first-class intellect, a persuasive jurist, and a warm, caring person. He will make a superb addition to the Court.

This vote in the full Senate is a bipartisan rejection of the political posturing that marred the confirmation hearings. It's clear to all now that the extraordinary controversy surrounding the hearings had little to do with Justice Rehnquist's record or character -- both are unassailable and unimpeachable. The attacks came from those whose ideology runs contrary to his profound and unshakable belief in the proper constitutional role of the judiciary in this country. Justice Rehnquist believes, as I do, that our Founding Fathers did not create the Supreme Court as a kind of supralegislature; that judges should interpret the law, not make it; and that victims of crime are due at least as much consideration from our judicial system as criminal offenders. Both Chief Justice Rehnquist and Associate Justice Scalia will be strong and eloquent voices for the proper role of the judiciary and the rights of victims, and I am confident that they will both serve the Court and their country very well indeed.