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January 7th, 2017

book cover - tpbol

Supreme Court: William H. Rehnquist and Lewis F. Powell

In late 1971, there were two openings on the Supreme Court: Hugo Black, who'd been an Associate Justice since 1939, retired eight days before his death in September 1971. John Marshall Harlan II, who'd been an Associate Justice since 1955, retired six days after Black, and three months before his own death.

Thus, Richard Nixon had two vacancies to fill at once. The men he chose were 47-year-old William H. Rehnquist and 64-year-old Lewis Franklin Powell, Jr. Both took their seats on this date in 1972.

In 1986, Ronald Reagan made Rehnquist the 16th Chief Justice, the fourth to have been elevated from Associate Justice. Rehnquist died in office on September 3, 2005, having been a member of the Court for 33 years, 239 days (the seventh longest tenure on the Court).

Powell was the third-oldest person to join the Court: he was 64 years, 110 days old on January 7, 1972. Powell retired from the Court in June 1987, and died in August 1998.
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First Lady Lou Hoover

On this date in 1944, former First Lady Louise "Lou" Henry Hoover died at the age of 69. Born in Waterloo, Iowa, in March 1874, she met Herbert Hoover at Stanford University (she was the only female geology major), and they married in February 1899. The Hoovers had two sons who both became engineers. Lou was First Lady from 1929 to 1933, and upon her death, was buried in California. Following her husband's death in 1964, she was reburied with him in West Branch, Iowa (the site of his Presidential museum).
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President Millard Fillmore

On this date in 1800, Millard Fillmore was born in the Finger Lakes region of New York. He represented New York in the House of Representatives from 1833 to 1835, and again from 1837 to 1843. In 1848, he ran on the second (and last) successful Whig ticket, for Vice President, serving in that post until July 9, 1850, when Zachary Taylor became the second President to die in office, and Fillmore succeeded him. Fillmore wasn't nominated for his own term in 1852, but in 1856, the new American (or Know-Nothing) Party nominated him for the job, and then the remnants of the Whigs also picked him. He came in third in that election. Fillmore died in March 1874.