WASHINGTON – The White House said late Saturday the death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist (search) was "a tremendous loss for our nation" and issued a statement of condolence on behalf of President Bush.
Bush was notified about Rehnquist's death shortly before 11 p.m. It will be up to the president to nominate Rehnquist's successor on the Supreme Court.
"President Bush and Mrs. Bush are deeply saddened by the news" of Rehnquist's death, White House counselor Dan Bartlett (search) said. "It's a tremendous loss for our nation."
The president, after attending church services on Sunday, will make a statement about Rehnquist, presidential spokesman Scott McClellan said.
Sen. Charles Schumer (search), D-N.Y., a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee (search), which will consider Bush's nominee as Rehnquist's replacement, said the chief justice "served his country with honor, dignity and distinction for over 30 years. He was grounded in his beliefs and was a staunch defender of an independent judiciary. People of all philosophies and viewpoints greatly respected Justice Rehnquist and will miss him."