In one of the Watergate tapes, Nixon was recording as referring to "that group of clowns" at the Justice Department, "Renchburg and that group." According to an account by John W. Dean, Nixon's White House counsel, Nixon stopped by briefly at a meeting that Mr. Rehnquist was running and later summoned his counsel to ask: "John, who the hell is that clown?"
"I beg your pardon?" Mr. Dean replied.
"The guy dressed like a clown, who's running the meeting," the president said in an evident reference to Mr. Rehnquist's pink shirt and clashing psychedelic necktie.
Nonetheless, Nixon nominated him...
September 4, 2005
Here is Linda Greenhouse's obituary for William H. Rehnquist. It is suitably long. The first substantive legal topic she discusses is federalism. Here's the most colorful passage: