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Chief Justice Rehnquist and the US Supreme Court

CNN just reported that Chief Justice William Rehnquist has died.

Rehnquist was appointed to the Court in 1972 by Nixon, and named Chief Justice by Reagan in 1986.

This leaves the following seven justices (listed along with the presidents who appointed them and the year of appointment):

John Paul Stevens - Ford 1975
Antonin Scalia - Reagan 1986
Anthony Kennedy - Reagan 1988
David Souter - Bush 1990
Clarence Thomas - Bush 1991
Ruth Bader Ginsburg - Clinton 1993
Steven Breyer - Clinton 1994

Sandra Day O'Connor was appointed by Reagan in 1981. Since she's declared her retirement, she's unlikely to stay on the Court...but there was the proposed scenario that she would stay on the Court if named Chief Justice by Bush. Hmmm...


I wish she would stay on the court, but I just don't see Bush appointing her Chief Justice. Honestly, I'm going to go out on a limb and think perhaps Scalia. No real reason beyond gut feeling, but Scalia's enough of a conservative I can see it coming.
I'd rather see him appoint Thomas as CJ than Scalia. gnomi reminded me that they're ideologically equivalent, and the symbolism of the first African-American CJ would be significant. (Yes, I know he's not the kind of African-American CJ I'd like, but it'll make it easier for the next African-American to be appointed CJ.)
Everything I heard around the time Bush was choosing O'Connor's replacement was that he would like nothing better than to have either Scalia or Thomas as his replacement for Rehnquist when the time came. So now we see which choice he goes for.

The way I figure it, either way we're frelled.
Or fracked, take your pick.
They're actually not identical - Thomas is much more of an originalist than Scalia. Which is why I would very much like him to appoint Thomas. But that would mean three nomination fights instead of two, so he's more likely to nominate for Chief either Roberts or whoever he nominates to fill the new vacancy. My very first guess is McConnell.

Now he could nominate Janice Rogers Brown...
Yet another time I find myself wishing we had President Bartlett. The "nominate two very intelligent jurists, one from each side of the spectrum, and let them intellectually fight it out to get good jurisprudence" solution is one I have no hope whatsoever of getting from the current president.
I loved the way Bartlet did that. And the actors they got to play the jurists were superb.

Unfortunately for my political leanings, John Roberts is actually a pretty good jurist from what I've been able to glean. I can't imagine him not getting appointed.
I wish they'd have run Bartlet (or Santos) in the actual 2000 or 2004 elections. I'd have gladly voted for either of them over the candidates we were left with, and I think a lot of other Americans would have to. Imagine the message that would ahve sent to the two stranglehold "major" parties...

I've been displaying a Santos-McGarry bumper sticker on my car for the last few months, to try to send that message. *sigh*

December 2016

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