Skip to comments.FBI Files: Rehnquist Had Hallucinations (AP Barf Alert)
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.
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.
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.
If President Bush hadn't betrayed his base, the Liberal Media would be one step closer to irrelevant.
Didn't BJ Clinton's brother say that BJ had a nose like a vacuum cleaner?
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.
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.
He's not running for president against you. Confine yourself to slashing and burning your opponents, not someone who's dead.
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.
I've got the answer to that:
My father took Placidyl for many years; I think it was for chronic insomnia. I never noticed any negative effects.
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.
Yeah. He MUST have been delusional.
< / s >
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.
Did they check Hillary's 900 files ?
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.
...when it was actually the FBI.
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.
No telling what was running through her dreams/nightmares that day on the bench.
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