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Scholars cast more doubt on controversial Rehnquist memo

New Boston College Law Review article adds fuel to argument that the former Chief Justice lied to gain Supreme Court nominations

Written in 1952, dredged up in 1971 and again in 1986, and now resurrected again in 2012—the specter of the memo former Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote for Justice Robert Jackson about segregation cases has haunted Rehnquist for 60 years. And now, a pair of scholars has penned an article revisiting the letter, and cast further doubt on whether or not Rehnquist lied about his intent to gain nomination to the high court and again for chief justice.

Rehnquist wrote his memo at the time the high court was considering the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case. Given the question of whether to overrule the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision affirming the constitutionality of state laws requiring racial segregation in public facilities and the “separate but equal” doctrine, Rehnquist wrote the following controversial line:

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