Thursday, January 04, 2007

I'm Your Doctor When in Need

I'm your mama, I'm your daddy, I'm that...Chief Justice in the alley?

A recently declassified FBI dossier on former Chief Justice William Rehnquist has some, er, eye popping factoids. For example:

Also detailed in the declassified [FBI] file was Rehnquist's 1981 hospital stay for treatment of back pain and his dependence on powerful prescription pain-relief medication.... Placidyl, which Rehnquist had taken for at least 10 years, according to a summary of a 1970 medical examination. When Rehnquist checked into a hospital in 1981 for a weeklong stay, doctors stopped administering the drug, causing what a hospital spokesman at the time said was a "disturbance in mental clarity."

The FBI file, citing one of his physicians, said Rehnquist experienced withdrawal symptoms that included going to the hospital lobby in his pajamas in a bid to escape. He imagined that there was a Central Intelligence Agency plot against him, and he also seemed to discern changes in the patterns on the hospital curtains. Rehnquist thought he heard voices outside his room discussing various plots against him.
Brad Delong observed:

Wow: William Rehnquist hopped up on 1500 mg a day of jelly-bellies, inducing hallucinations and paranoia, with his pusher--Capitol physician Freeman Cary--giving Rehnquist a three-month perscription every month.
Now that's health care. While I came across this story initially via Brad (and Blake), Scott Lemiuex gets in the snark of the day:

In fairness, being all hopped up on goofballs would at least explain his Bush v. Gore concurrence, although I don't know what excuse Scalia and Thomas have for joining it...
Lemiuex also makes a John Bolton sighting (man, this guy is everywhere) with touching reminders of a racist past, and the familiar misuse of power:

In July 1986, when President Ronald Reagan nominated Rehnquist to be chief justice, the Justice Department asked the FBI to interview witnesses who were preparing to testify that Rehnquist had intimidated minority voters as a Republican Party official in Arizona in the early 1960s. According to a memo in the Rehnquist file, an unnamed FBI official cautioned that the department "should be sensitive to the possibility that Democrats could charge the Republicans of misusing the FBI and intimidating the Democrats' witnesses." But then-Assistant Attorney General John Bolton -- who more recently served as ambassador to the United Nations -- signed off on the request and said he would "accept responsibility should concerns be raised about the role of the FBI." It is unclear whether the FBI ever interviewed the witnesses.
The UN will miss him sorely I'm sure.

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