Saturday, September 03, 2005

William H. Rehnquist, 1924-2005

The Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court has died at the age of 80. His death, of course, was not entirely unexpected, and the canned eulogies and career retrospectives are no doubt beginning to pop up already. I don't have one, so I'll keep mine short:

Rehnquist was seldom as bad as liberals feared he might be (and sometimes accused him of being); he was also seldom as good as strict constructionists/original intent advocates hoped he might be (and sometimes claimed he was).

Thin soup? Maybe I'll expand on it later. His body is still warm and I am in no mood for an autopsy.

At this time, I have no real predictions as to whom President Bush will nominate as the next Chief Justice. I'd find it interesting if he'd nominate ... Sandra Day O'Connor. But I don't see that happening. Look for a relatively young jurist -- Bush is likely awakening to the high probability of a Democratic White House from at least 2009-2017, and a Democratic Senate with it or not far behind.

Now, more than ever, the Democrats need to save their ammo and quit kvetching about the relatively inoffensive John Roberts. The Roberts confirmation is mere prelude. The real battle is coming.

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