1. why fucked? the replacement will probably be a textualist and vote the same as Rehnquist, so whether he stayed a few more years doesn’t is kinda irrelevant.

  2. I’m with Derrick. This isn’t nearly as big as Sandra Day O’Connor retiring so that Bush could appoint someone far more conservative than her. THAT fucked us over. This, not so much. It’ll be about the same.

  3. Bush just announced he’s going ahead and nominating Roberts for Chief Justice. This is probably for the best – O’Connor has said she will stay until a replacement is found – so assuming Roberts sails through like everyone expects there shouldn’t be any interference with the court hearing cases this year.
    Chief Justice is mostly a symbolic honour. They can choose what to hear in the case of a 4/4 split and they can write for the majority when part of it; but there is not a great deal more power than what an Associate Justice has. Of course the real question now is who his second nominee will be.
    Isn’t it strange that things have gone so far to the Right that people are worried Bush won’t put up someone as “liberal” as right-leaning, Reagan nominee O’Connor? Of course, O’Connor has been on the more liberal side when it comes to the right of privacy/Roe, but I don’t think in the mid 80’s anyone conceived that overturning Roe would have ever been a realistic possibility.

  4. As creepy as his judicial philosophy was, Rehnquist did a good job in the CJ’s “other” position, as chief court administrator — which is why the liberal justices liked him, a lot better than they (or even the rightwing nuts) liked his predecessor, the vain and pompous and incompetent Warren Burger (see “Becoming Justice Blackmun” if you want to know about that horrible person — even if Burger was on the good side (yes, even conservatives supported abortion rights back in the day) of Roe v. Wade).

  5. Also, Rehnquist was a surprisingly good writer. The best portions of his Supreme Court histoy are a brief memoir of graduating Stanford and driving out to Washington, where he’d never been before, to become a clerk for Justice Jackson and his description of living in a boarding house and the job of a Supreme Court law clerk. I hope he’s left a longer memoir somewhere.

    Justice O’Connor’s book with her brother about growing up on the ranch is another decent memoir by a SC justice.

    At least Roberts seems like he can write. His memos and letters show that he’s actually very careful about word choice and a stickler for grammar. As CJ, he’ll probably have to repress his sarcasm (still, it’s a lot gentler than Scalia’s stylistic cudgel).

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