Nixon White House Counsel John Dean to Tell Inside Story of Rehnquist Appointment

April 23, 2012

John Dean, who served as White House counsel under President Richard Nixon, will deliver the 14th Henry J. Abraham Distinguished Lecture at the University of Virginia School of Law.

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John Dean

Dean's talk, "Unraveling the Rehnquist Choice," will be held at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 27 in Caplin Auditorium.

"Given Henry Abraham's extraordinary record of scholarship on the Supreme Court, it is not surprising that many of the past speakers in the lecture series that bears his name chose to address issues related to the high court," said J. Joshua Wheeler, director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, which sponsors the lecture. "As White House counsel to President Nixon, John Dean was in a position to see first-hand the process by which William Rehnquist was appointed to the court. Given that Chief Justice Rehnquist delivered the Abraham lecture in 2003, we thought it especially fitting that we learn the inside story of his appointment."

Dean, who was White House counsel to from July 1970 to April 1973, has authored a number of books, including "The Rehnquist Choice: The Untold Story of the Nixon Appointment that Redefined the Supreme Court" in 2001. Dean previously recounted his time in the Nixon administration and the Watergate scandal in two earlier books, "Blind Ambition" and "Lost Honor."

Dean's talk is free and open to the public. Parking will be available in the Law School's D-2 lots. Copies of Dean's book on the Rehnquist appointment will be available for sale at the event, and he will sign copies.

For more information or questions about the lecture, contact Amy McClung at 434-295-4784 or

Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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