Last edited: December 08, 2004

Rehnquist’s Unlikely Pals

Washington Post, February 12, 2003

By Lloyd Grove

Chief Justice William Rehnquist has long been a harsh critic of gay rights measures. In "Courting Justice: Gay Men and Lesbians v. the Supreme Court," authors Joyce Murdoch and Deb Price document Rehnquist’s votes to uphold Georgia’s anti-sodomy law, to affirm the Boy Scouts’ right to exclude gay members and—in a notorious 1978 opinion involving the University of Missouri and a student group—his comparison of homosexuality to the measles.

So we were intrigued by a story in the upcoming issue of the Advocate concerning Rehnquist’s friendship with actor Richard Maloy and artist Tucker Bobst, his former neighbors in Arlington. Chris Bull writes: "Bobst and Maloy, who recently celebrated their 55th anniversary as a couple, quickly befriended Rehnquist and his wife, Nan [in 1986]. The couples . . . exchanged batches of holiday cookies and looked out for one another. One day while Rehnquist was in court, Maloy noticed that the chief justice had left his car unlocked and the lights on. . . . Maloy described the note he left on Rehnquist’s car: ‘There’ve been car thefts in the area. Hope to hell you have the keys ‘cause I’ve locked it and turned off the lights. Best mend your ways! Signed, Your neighbors, Sherlock and Watson.’

"A few months later, Maloy and Bobst put their home up for sale. ‘The day I put the . . . sale sign out, [Rehnquist] came over, threw his coat over the sign, and said, ‘You can’t move. Who’s going to tell me my car’s unlocked and the lights are on, and to mend my ways?’ "

Maloy told the magazine: "We hoped that by getting to know us, he would understand a little better the real-life implications of his opinions. He certainly didn’t want the police banging on our door, and neither did we."

No comment yesterday from Rehnquist, who along with his fellow justices will consider Texas’s sodomy laws on March 26.

[The column had other items that are unrelated. -Bob]

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