Former U.S. Senator Warren Rudman, who played a key role in the confirmation of retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter, died Monday of complications from lymphoma, the Associated Press has reported. He was 82.
Rudman, a Republican, was attorney general for New Hampshire before being elected to represent the state in the Senate in 1980. It was 10 years later that, Souter, his longtime friend and former deputy in the state attorney general’s office, would be nominated to the Supreme Court.
Soon after Souter was nominated in 1990, scattered rumors appeared in print that the lifelong bachelor was gay. Souter was so outraged that he tried to phone President George H.W. Bush and have his name withdrawn, according to a National Law Journal account. Rudman had to physically restrain and settle Souter down with a scotch before he agreed to stay on. Women he had dated came forward, and the rumor receded.
Rudman would later recall in a book he wrote about Souter that he had to speak for five hours with Souter, a private man portrayed as odd because he was 50, single and lived in a little farmhouse crammed with books, the Associated Press reports.
On Tuesday, Souter said Rudman was like a brother to him and that he was incomparably lucky to have a friend like Rudman, the Associated Press reports. He said Rudman stood for what the founders of the American republic staked its future on.
Rudman was a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in Washington from 1993 until 2002, when he became of counsel, a position he still held.
A statement from the firm said that Rudman oversaw the conduct of major internal investigations of substantial corporations, and advised the boards of many companies, "in all of which his reputation as a person of unwavering integrity, uncommon wisdom, impeccable judgment, and unquestioned credibility produced results beyond reproach."
"Warren was a joy to work with, always collegial, warm and supportive," the firm stated. "We and the country will miss him."