In Memoriam: Guild Leader Jennie Rhine

The following is adapted from an article published in the chapter’s 2004 Testimonial Dinner journal honoring Jennie Rhine and Tom Meyer.

Longtime Guild-member Jennie Rhine passed away this May. A graduate of UC Hastings School of Law, Jennie graduated first in her class of 1969. She went on to take a number of activist cases and to organize with the National Lawyers Guild. After some years in private practice, she was elected judge and sat on the Alameda County bench for more than 20 years.

In the late 1960’s Jennie was instrumental in opening the Bay Area office of the NLG, helping to set a new activist agenda for the chapter. In the early 70’s, Rhine worked out of the Guild office in San Francisco representing witnesses subpoenaed by federal grand juries investigating the anti-war movement. Jennie was a founding member of the Bay Area Wounded Knee Support Committee, which was launched following the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee. She traveled to South Dakota to provide legal support to the American Indian Movement and recruited other lawyers and law students to support as well. She was president of the National Lawyers Guild SF Bay Area Chapter in 1974, and a leader of the women’s caucus at the Guild’s Boulder convention, which defined a new direction for the Guild.

The chapter honored her and her partner, Tom Meyer (another long-time Guild member) at our 2004 Testimonial Dinner. She remained a Guild member and was active with the chapter until illness made involvement too difficult. She will be greatly missed.