Monday, September 05, 2005

Remembering William H. Rehnquist.:

About 10 years later, I showed up at the court for my clerkship interview with the chief, sweating horribly from the combined effects of Washington, D.C.'s June humidity and my one wool lawyer suit. I can only imagine how obviously disheveled, in both appearance and mind, I seemed to his assistants, Janet and Laverne, as I waited. Right on time, the chief came into the waiting room, in casual clothes, shook my hand, and said, "Hi, I'm Bill Rehnquist."

During my clerkship year, the chief, my co-clerks, and I played tennis together weekly at a public, outdoor court near Capitol Hill. (We played on the same day that the week's "cert memos," analyzing petitions filed by those seeking review of their cases, were due, so—more than a few times—clerks played without having slept.) We took turns driving and buying a new can of balls. I was the chief's doubles partner that year, and I several times beaned him with my hopelessly chaotic serves. One day, I am ashamed to admit, after yet another double-fault, I slammed my racket to the ground and yelled an extremely unattractive expletive. My co-clerks looked across the net at me in horror. The chief, though, didn't turn around. He just slowly bent over, put his hands on his knees, and started laughing.

3:46 PM