Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

FBI Files: Rehnquist Had Hallucinations (AP Barf Alert)
AP News ^ | 01/04/2006 | MARK SHERMAN and PETE YOST

Posted on 01/04/2007 11:15:05 AM PST by SES1066

As found on Drudge Report ...

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The FBI's file on former Chief Justice William Rehnquist _ made public more than a year after his death _ indicates the Nixon and Reagan administrations enlisted its help in blunting criticism of him during confirmation hearings.

The file also offers insight into the hallucinations and other symptoms of withdrawal that Rehnquist suffered when he was taken off a prescription painkiller in 1981. A doctor was cited as saying that Rehnquist, an associate justice of the Supreme Court at the time, tried to escape the hospital in his pajamas and imagined that the CIA was plotting against him.

The FBI on Wednesday released 1,561 pages of documents on Rehnquist to The Associated Press, other news organizations and scholars in response to requests made under the Freedom of Information Act following Rehnquist's death in September 2005. An additional 207 pages were withheld under the federal disclosure law, and the FBI said an entire section of his file could not be found.

Much of the FBI's file on Rehnquist appears to have been compiled almost exclusively for his two Senate confirmations _ his initial nomination to the court by President Nixon in 1971 and his nomination as chief justice by President Reagan in 1986. Administration officials apparently hoped to prevent any surprises from sinking his nominations.

In 1971, Deputy Attorney General Richard Kleindienst directed the FBI to conduct investigations of witnesses who were planning to testify at a Senate hearing against Rehnquist's confirmation. Fifteen years later during the Reagan administration, the FBI was enlisted to conduct background checks on witnesses who were scheduled to testify against Rehnquist's nomination to become chief justice.

The late Sen. Strom Thurmond, R-S.C., was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1986 when Rehnquist was nominated to be chief justice. John Bolton, who resigned in December as President Bush's U.N. ambassador, was an assistant attorney general under Reagan.

"Thurmond just gave these names to Bolton they will testify for the Democrats and we want to know what they are going to say," a Justice Department official told a counterpart at the FBI, according to a memo in Rehnquist's file.

Alexander Charns, a Durham, N.C., lawyer who received the file and has extensively researched the FBI's relationship with the court, said the new disclosures show the two administrations went to some lengths to discredit Rehnquist opponents.

"In many ways, I guess it's the same old story of the political use of the FBI," Charns said.

The documents show that the FBI was aware in 1971 that Rehnquist had owned a home in Phoenix with a deed that allowed him to sell only to whites. The restrictive covenant was not disclosed until his 1986 confirmation hearings, at which Rehnquist said he became aware of the clause only days earlier.

Also detailed in the declassified file was Rehnquist's 1981 hospital stay for treatment of back pain and his dependence on powerful prescription pain-relief medication.

The FBI investigated his dependence on 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 trying to escape the facility and discerning changes in the patterns on the hospital curtains. The justice also thought he heard voices outside his room discussing various plots against him.

The doctor said Placidyl is a highly toxic drug and that she could not understand why anyone would prescribe it, especially for long periods.

Prior to his hospitalization, Rehnquist occasionally slurred his speech in his questions to lawyers at Supreme Court arguments. Those problems ceased when he changed medications, the doctor said.

Charns said some of the censored documents provide intriguing hints of what else Rehnquist's file might contain.

In one previously secret memo from 1971, an FBI official wrote, "No persons interviewed during our current or 1969 investigation furnished information bearing adversely on Rehnquist's morals or professional integrity; however ..." The next third of the page is blacked out, under the disclosure law's exception for matters of national security.

"It would be nice to know what is still classified, three decades later," Charns said.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Extended News; US: North Carolina
KEYWORDS: journalism; mediabias; rehnquist; scotus
I'm citing this as a case of possible media bias in that I find it interesting that there is no background cited as to how other Supreme Court Nominations were handled. I have a vague recollection of similar use of the FBI by LBJ during the Fortas Chief Justice fight and I regard a lack of background in a non-breaking news article to be bad journalism at best.

Also the use of a single non-journalist commentator, "Alexander Charns, a Durham, N.C., lawyer" to be rather one-sided. Quick research shows this gentleman to be an active trial lawyer and author of a 1992 book "Cloak and Gavel" about use of the FBI in various Court and Legal cases. From my perusal of the Amazon info on the book, I'd put him on the liberal side of the poltical spectrum. Maybe some of our Tarheel Freepers can add to this impression.

Thus my inclusion of this as a Free Republic entry is because it (to my view) seeks to discredit Rehnquist, Nixon, Reagan and Bolton as using atypical, even unique tactics in the two confirmations of Rehnquist and uses what appears to be a biased source as confirmation.

I'm deliberately not adding criticism of the headline versus the article because that was most probably an anonymous editor choosing his own view of the article.

1 posted on 01/04/2007 11:15:09 AM PST by SES1066
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: SES1066

Yeah, well then I guess I can't wait until Bill Clinton dies so we can finally find out what the hell was going on in the 90's and why the White House doctors had to be gagged. And maybe we can finally find out how Craig Livingston got hired.


2 posted on 01/04/2007 11:21:26 AM PST by bpjam (Never Give Up, Never Surrender (Unless James Baker gives you permission))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SES1066
And I am to believe John Paul Stevens hasn't been hallucinating since on the bench?
3 posted on 01/04/2007 11:22:01 AM PST by frogjerk (REUTERS: We give smoke and mirrors a bad name)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SES1066

If President Bush hadn't betrayed his base, the Liberal Media would be one step closer to irrelevant.


4 posted on 01/04/2007 11:22:17 AM PST by Stallone (War and Politics: When the Enemy begins to feel pain, they change their behavior to avoid it.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: bpjam
Yeah, well then I guess I can't wait until Bill Clinton dies so we can finally find out what the hell was going on in the 90's and why the White House doctors had to be gagged. And maybe we can finally find out how Craig Livingston got hired.

Didn't BJ Clinton's brother say that BJ had a nose like a vacuum cleaner?

5 posted on 01/04/2007 11:22:54 AM PST by frogjerk (REUTERS: We give smoke and mirrors a bad name)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: SES1066
imagined that the CIA was plotting against him

He might have been right about that, knowing how much they love conservatives.

But gosh, how come a liberal who thinks the CIA is conspiring against him isn't suspected of being off in the head.

Overall, this is the tamest stuff I've ever seen.

6 posted on 01/04/2007 11:23:27 AM PST by SamuraiScot
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SES1066
The documents show that the FBI was aware in 1971 that Rehnquist had owned a home in Phoenix with a deed that allowed him to sell only to whites. The restrictive covenant was not disclosed until his 1986 confirmation hearings, at which Rehnquist said he became aware of the clause only days earlier.

Those clauses were quite common years ago. When I helped my parents sell their house in the suburbs of Philadelphia in the late 70s, I (and they) were surprised to see such a clause in their deed. I wondered what the title company would do with it, particularly since the couple buying their house was Black. When I got the title report there was a simple notation to the effect that the clause (referenced only by number) was no longer legally enforceable.

7 posted on 01/04/2007 11:28:57 AM PST by blau993
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SES1066
Uberfuehrer Hillary and your "white boys Praetorian Guards".......leave Judge Rehnquist alone.

He's not running for president against you. Confine yourself to slashing and burning your opponents, not someone who's dead.

Leni

8 posted on 01/04/2007 11:29:43 AM PST by MinuteGal (The Left takes power only through deception.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SES1066

The headline is a bit inflammatory, but that's what newspapers do to get someone to read their nonsense. He hallucinated for a week while he was being weaned from a narcotic. No big deal. Lots of folks have the same thing happen. Anyone who has taken heavy pain meds for more than a few weeks could have the same thing happen.


The WH is not the only entity that uses FBI files for SC nominees and witnesses. The Senate judiciary committee has been known to leak the very same files.


9 posted on 01/04/2007 11:32:03 AM PST by petitfour
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: bpjam
And maybe we can finally find out how Craig Livingston got hired.

I've got the answer to that:


10 posted on 01/04/2007 11:33:11 AM PST by Howlin (Not voting GOP was like being thirsty but not drinking since the glass is only 75% full ~~SoCalPol)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: SES1066
The doctor said Placidyl is a highly toxic drug and that she could not understand why anyone would prescribe it, especially for long periods.

My father took Placidyl for many years; I think it was for chronic insomnia. I never noticed any negative effects.

11 posted on 01/04/2007 11:45:34 AM PST by wideminded
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SES1066
The FBI file, citing one of his physicians, said Rehnquist experienced withdrawal symptoms that included trying to escape the facility and discerning changes in the patterns on the hospital curtains.

I had a similar episode of withdrawal from pain medication when I was still in my late teens. I had only taken the stuff (I can't recall what it was) for a week or so and decided to stop on my own. After I stopped taking it, I would wake up in the middle of the night not in pain so much but in shear terror. I had horrible feeling of impending doom and it took most of the next week before I returned to normal.

That experience lead me to avoid taking any pain medications if at all possible ever since. I'd far prefer to endure some pain than those horrible feeling I had from whatever that crap they gave me was.

12 posted on 01/04/2007 11:49:07 AM PST by Ditto
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SES1066
imagined that the CIA was plotting against him

Yeah. He MUST have been delusional.

< / s >

13 posted on 01/04/2007 11:52:43 AM PST by M. Thatcher
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SES1066

The making of a new urban myth, i.e., that Rehnquist was hallucinating throughout his tenure. Watch the Dems take off with this one. Someone will say that all the decisions he took part in should be thrown out.


14 posted on 01/04/2007 11:53:18 AM PST by popdonnelly
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SES1066
the FBI said an entire section of his file could not be found

Did they check Hillary's 900 files ?

15 posted on 01/04/2007 11:53:37 AM PST by cinives (On some planets what I do is considered normal.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blau993

The restrictive covenant thing was essentially meaningless anyway, because the Supreme Court had already ruled in 1948 that government enforcement of racially restrictive covenants is unconstitutional.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shelley_v._Kraemer


16 posted on 01/04/2007 12:55:15 PM PST by blitzgig
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: SES1066
...imagined that the CIA was plotting against him...

...when it was actually the FBI.

Common mistake.

17 posted on 01/04/2007 12:56:37 PM PST by BibChr ("...behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, so what wisdom is in them?" [Jer. 8:9])
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SES1066
I'm citing this as a case of possible media bias in that I find it interesting that there is no background cited as to how other Supreme Court Nominations were handled. I have a vague recollection of similar use of the FBI by LBJ during the Fortas Chief Justice fight and I regard a lack of background in a non-breaking news article to be bad journalism at best.

I can't tell you the SOP for nominations to the SCOTUS. I can say with 100% certainty that the FBI conducts an extensive background check on nominees to the Federal District Court (both Article III District Court judges and magistrate-judges) and to the United States Attorney's office.

18 posted on 01/04/2007 1:08:30 PM PST by Labyrinthos
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SES1066
There is no provision in our laws for SCOTUS members to be mentally competent. Ditto for Senators and Representatives.

Basically, the existent policies protect the afflicted at the expense of public knowledge and action.

It was a disgrace he was turning up in SCOTUS meetings stoned on Placidyl and even more a disgrace when he had a withdrawal psychosis.

Presently, we face an analogous, not similar, problem with Senator Johnson. No real actionable information given to the public. Senator protected and the public be damned. No one protests and if they do they are labeled as insensitive and worse.

They want to play the game but don't want to require the players have a full deck. What a problem!
19 posted on 01/04/2007 3:03:14 PM PST by shrinkermd
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SES1066
... while Ruth "buZZZZZy" Ginsburgh sleeps through oral arguments.

No telling what was running through her dreams/nightmares that day on the bench.

20 posted on 01/04/2007 3:08:14 PM PST by Trajan88 (www.bullittclub.com)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Trajan88

21 posted on 01/04/2007 3:10:05 PM PST by dfwgator
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: dfwgator
Cui Bono (who benefits) ... that will tell you why this story is out there.
22 posted on 01/04/2007 3:47:20 PM PST by One_who_hopes_to_know
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: SES1066

Journalists are getting awfully lazy these days...a quick check of the of PDR would show Placidyl isn't a pain killer at all but a sedative hypnotic used to induce sleep similar to Quaaludes. Neither can be sold in the US anymore. They were supposed to be used for a month or less. It seems Justice Rehnquist had been taking them for over a decade.


23 posted on 01/04/2007 4:59:41 PM PST by tomcorn
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blitzgig

Yes, that was what I said.


24 posted on 01/04/2007 7:34:12 PM PST by blau993
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: SES1066
The file also offers insight into the hallucinations and other symptoms of withdrawal that Rehnquist suffered when he was taken off a prescription painkiller in 1981.

This is extremely common. The FBI are idiots. It is disgusting how they pile loads of bullshit into these files along with actual facts.

25 posted on 01/04/2007 7:36:09 PM PST by montag813
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: popdonnelly

>>The making of a new urban myth, i.e., that Rehnquist was hallucinating throughout his tenure. Watch the Dems take off with this one.

I already am, on a neutral forum I'm on. Idiots.


26 posted on 01/05/2007 7:33:04 AM PST by FreedomPoster (Guns themselves are fairly robust; their chief enemies are rust and politicians) (NRA)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Howlin

Dude, nice find! I'ver never seen that referenced anywhere, ever. And I'm pretty much a news junkie and this still managed to escape my notice. Was there anything else linking Craig the Bouncer to Gore or the DNC prior to Hillary showing up?


27 posted on 01/07/2007 2:10:38 PM PST by bpjam (Never Give Up, Never Surrender (Unless James Baker gives you permission))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: bpjam

No, other than that picture, I've never seen it mentioned before!

Other than that, I remember hearing that the deal Clinton made with Gore -- so Gore would stop running and be his VP candidate -- was that Gore got to do the White House hiring on a LOT of positions!

Amazing, isn't it?


28 posted on 01/07/2007 2:13:14 PM PST by Howlin (Not voting GOP was like being thirsty but not drinking since the glass is only 75% full ~~SoCalPol)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: bpjam

BTW, I am a "dudette."


29 posted on 01/07/2007 2:13:27 PM PST by Howlin (Not voting GOP was like being thirsty but not drinking since the glass is only 75% full ~~SoCalPol)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: Howlin

I am no less impressed..... If you got anything else on the pre-1992 Livingstone, I'd love to see it.


30 posted on 01/07/2007 3:05:21 PM PST by bpjam (Never Give Up, Never Surrender (Unless James Baker gives you permission))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: SES1066

Was he channeling Eleanor Roosevelt?


31 posted on 01/07/2007 3:10:53 PM PST by steveo (ADVERTISEMENT)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson