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EDVA TRIVIA: Once the Fourth Circuit Overturned Justice Rehnquist!

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While serving as an Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice William Rehnquist presided over a trial in the Eastern District of Virginia, Richmond Division.  The case, Heislup v. Town of Colonial Beach, involved accusations that the plaintiff was suspended as a police officer for several days after making a public statement regarding police misconduct by a fellow officer.  Judge Rehnquist denied a motion for a directed verdict, and the jury found in favor of the Plaintiff.  In a reversal of roles, the Fourth Circuit reviewed Justice Rehnquist’s order on the directed verdict, and reversed on appeal.  It is one of the few times a panel of Circuit Court judges were able to overrule a Supreme Court Justice.  But, perhaps intentionally, that ruling was not a published decision.  It is worth a read just for the novelty of Justice Rehnquist sitting by designation.

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