March 4, 2004

The Chief, myself, and maiden names. Chief Justice Rehnquist once passed this note, along the Supreme Court bench, and revealed a long-held secret:
"I was once William D. (Donald) until I changed my middle name in high school to H (Hubbs — my grandmother's maiden name)"

Hmm... I once toyed with the idea of going back several generations to a maternal line surname as a feminist statement, in recognition of all the maternal names that get lost along the way when people marry and don't choose to keep their maiden names. Althouse is my maiden name, but my father's name, unsurprisingly. (In fact, even my middle name is my father's middle name, for reasons I could explain, but won't pause to do here.) One of the benefits of going back along the maternal line is that I planned to stop at the one that I just liked best as a name. I ended with a choice of Battersea and Holocker!

So, I wonder what the Chief's motivation was. Is there a feminist angle or, more likely, a beloved grandmother, or just a distaste for the name Donald?

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