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The New York Times is currently reporting on their website that Chief Justice William Rehnquist has died. I'll put up a link when they have a permanent story. My condolences to his family and friends.

(UPDATE: Story here.)

With one retiree and the passing of the Chief, the Court seems headed for interesting times.


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"interesting times"? More like "hell in a handbasket."
Oh, I don't know, Katherine. Who knows, it might all work out for the best. In someone's opinion, anyway.
Interesting times indeed. I can't imagine how fascinating the next few months are going to be.
Yeah, so Roberts is an ok replacement for Rhenquist; now we need some sort of moderate for O'Connor. Or we could go the hell in a handbasket route.... (Looks like comments are working just fine now.)
It continually astonishes me this quest for "balance" on the Supreme Court. Supposing Kerry had won the election in 2004, would one really suspect that Democrats would be pushing for a "moderate" rather than another liberal?
Anthony, the rationale is really quite simple: anyone who doesn't believe that the Constitution guarantees an unfettered right to abortion is an "extremist;" anyone who thinks that equal-protection calls into question the Constitutional fitness of affirmative action wants to roll back the clock on civil rights; anyone who thinks that the Commerce Clause was part of a scheme meant to limit the power of the federal government to certain enumerated powers, rather than a flexible e-z-pass to federal power on any old road you like, wants to undo the New Deal, promote child labor, and destroy the environment and ESPECIALLY endangered toads. There are not "liberals"--there are "moderates"--reasonable people who agree with the NYTimes Editorial Page vision of America, and there are extremists, radicals, extreme radicals and radical extremists. Once you have that taxonomy down, you can easily understand why it is necessary, proper, just and meet that President Bush put a moderate on the Court--it's what the Framers would have wanted. And short of it, they would want endless hearings and demands for documents to make sure the Senate minority got the nominee it wanted--that must be what advice and consent means. T.
I want to destroy the environment and endanger toads? Cool.
That's funny, T. Because people -- even those dratted New York Times editorials -- say O'Connor was a moderate, despite her votes in Lopez and Morrison. And, for that matter, SWANCC.
T. More, Once you have that taxonomy down, you can easily understand why it is necessary, proper, just and meet that President Bush put a moderate on the Court--it's what the Framers would have wanted. You may be getting the conservative conception of things -- "it's what the Framers would have wanted" -- muddled with what non-originalists think. As for the New Deal, how much of it as an enactment of federal power (as opposed to the aspects that most states now would mimic to retain the status quo) would remain without an expanded Commerce Clause power and the dump of economic substantive due process? You can love endangered migratory birds (as toads were unmentioned in SWANCC) tremendously, but if you don't think the federal government should have the power to enforce a national policy for their protection, then they're out of luck under your reading of the Constitution. To paint those who worry about that as somehow hysterical about the actual effect of conservative jurisprudence is an unfortunate failure to make the case for the view that preserving the real meaning of the Constitution is more important than temporary policy concerns.

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