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Rehnquist hospitalized- contemplating resignation?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Keirador, Jul 13, 2005.

  1. Keirador

    Keirador Deity

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    Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court William Rehnquist, long known as a leading conservative voice on the court, has been hospitalized with complications due to thyroid cancer. He has previously been admitted in October of 2004, but later returned to active duty. With this latest hospitilization, the 81 year old Chief Justice is expected to announce a resignation, assuming he lives through the experience. Either way, it opens up a second seat on the nine-person Supreme Court- these openings will be filled by appointments from Mr. Bush.

    Unfortunately for Mr. Bush, Mr. Rehnquist is known as a consistent and hardline conservative, so even assuming Mr. Bush places a highly conservative judge on the court, it will do little to alter the court's make up. In fact, due to the fact that Presidential Supreme Court appointments must receive Senate confirmation, a staunch resistance by minority Democrats could result in a more moderate or center-right Justice being placed on the Supreme Court. This is the same situation the Republicans face with Mrs. O'Connor: though more of a moderate conservative, she is mostly thought of as a center-right voter, and therefore her replacement with a conservative may not significantly alter the Supreme Court's composition.

    The possible resignation of Mr. Rehnquist differs in one major way form the resignation of Mrs. O'Connor: Mrs. O'Connor opened up a seat as an Associate Justice, Mr. Rehnquist must be replaced first as a Justice, and second as Chief Justice. One of the current Justices must be named by President Bush to be the new Chief Justice. It was commonly thought that Mrs. O'Connor would assume the role of Chief Justice eventually; due to her leadership qualities she usually presided over the Court in Mr. Rehnquist's abscence. With her resignation, it is likely that Mr. Bush will appoint conservative Justice Mr. Clarence Thomas. Mr. Antonin Scalia is the only hard-line conservative on the Court, but he is so drastically to the right that it is likely that a Democratic minority in the Senate would block his nomination. Furthermore, Mr. Thomas' relative youth would mean he would continue to be a powerful conservative voice for many years to come. The nation could receive quite a shock, however, if the Democrats truly made their presence felt and brought about the appointment of Associate Justice Kennedy, a moderate center-left swing voter.

    Next Justice expected to vacate a seat? The staunchly liberal Associate Justice Mr. John Paul Stevens, at a sprightly 85 years old. Due to his political views, it is expected that he will attempt to forestall his retirement until a more liberal President, to forestall his replacement with a conservative. If, however, Mr. Stevens comes to the end of his lofty life, or health concerns force him to retire, before the end of Mr. Bush's term in office, we shall truly see some fighting in the nation's capital. Mr. Steven's replacement with a conservative could truly alter the composition of the court on a fundamental level, giving hard-line conservatives a five-person majority.
     
  2. A'AbarachAmadan

    A'AbarachAmadan Deity

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    But still, a conservative and a centrist are the two so far. If a liberal resigns, etc. then we will get to see some real fun in DC.
     
  3. Yom

    Yom Re-ese Mekwanint

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    I heard about this 12 hours ago. I'm surprised that he hasn't resigned yet. Well, not really. That's an exaggeration, but I do fully expect him to resign this year.
     
  4. Keirador

    Keirador Deity

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    Is there already a thread on it?
     
  5. Yom

    Yom Re-ese Mekwanint

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    Not that I know of. I saw it while passing a TV.
     
  6. Damnyankee

    Damnyankee Honest Abe

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    Is there any doubt that a Rogue Liberal faction of congress authorized Antrax being poured into his ensure? Link coming
     
  7. blindside

    blindside formerly god

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    Who becomes the next chief justice? Does the oldest or does congress/president select one?
     
  8. Keirador

    Keirador Deity

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    The President appoints a current Associate Justice (EDIT: or anyone at all, as it turns out) to be elevated to the rank of Chief Justice. The Senate must confirm this nomination.
     
  9. Sims2789

    Sims2789 Fool me once...

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    I hope he resigns. If only O'Conner does, the Far Right will be able to place a hardline conservative on the Court, whereas if two seats are vacant, they'll have to put both a hardliner and a more moderate conservative on the bench.
     
  10. Keirador

    Keirador Deity

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    Why would they have to put a hardliner and a more moderate conservative on the Court? There's no law saying Bush can't place two hardliners on the Court.
     
  11. Elrohir

    Elrohir RELATIONAL VALORIZATION

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    I hope he resigns, as well as Steven's and Ginsburg. If Bush could replace four seats on the Supreme Court with young Conservatives, we'd have a 6-2-1 majority.

    But if wishes for horses, ever beggar would ride. So I'll hope and pray, but I won't hold my breath. And if Bush tries to nominate his pal Gonzales to the court I'll be royally pissed.
     
  12. blindside

    blindside formerly god

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    I'd prefer it if O'Connor is replaced by someone similar to her and Rehnquist by someone just slightly more centrist. Better to have a balance than anything.
     
  13. Keirador

    Keirador Deity

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    If O'Connor, Stevens, and Ginsburg are all replaced with Scaliaesque conservatives, Roe v. Wade gets stricken down 5-4.
    I think it possible that Stevens will get replaced by Bush, but I'd imagine Ginsburg will remain on the court after 2008. She's "only" 72 (not that old when you realize Stevens is 85 and has not announced plans for retirement) and appears to be in perfect health.

    It appears that Mr. Bush will merely be able to balance out the Court, creating a 4-4-1 liberal-conservative-moderate composition to replace the 4-3-2 composition we have now. Our next president will likely be able to replace Ginsburg, Stevens, Scalia, and Kennedy, possibly even Souter or Breyer. Now that will be a significant presidency. I hope it's McCain.
     
  14. Keirador

    Keirador Deity

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    I agree, and that's why I hope O'Connor and Rehnquist are both replaced by conservatives. It will even out the Court a bit, though the liberals will still have a slight advantage. Right now, Breyer, Souter, Stevens, and Ginsburg are all dedicated liberals. Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas are dedicated conservatives. O'Connor is a center-right swing voter, and Kennedy is a center-left swing voter. The replacement of Rehnquist with a conservative changes nothing. The replacement of O'Connor with a conservative makes the court 4-4-1, so it's a bit more even, though the swing voter still leans to the left.
     
  15. amadeus

    amadeus めっちゃしんどい

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    Post 13,000! :D

    Actually, the President doesn't have to appoint an Associate Justice to be the Chief Justice. Anyone can be the Chief Justice regardless of whether they've served on the SCOTUS or not.
     
  16. Keirador

    Keirador Deity

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    Right you are. I was acquainted only with how Rehnquist became Chief Justice.
     
  17. A'AbarachAmadan

    A'AbarachAmadan Deity

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    I completely agree. I'd love to see McCain become President. Don't think we'll see it happen unless their becomes a truely powerful centrist coalition that supports him, but that doesn't seem economically feasible under our current political construct. Can you image if the 14 centrists in the Senate formed a new party out of the blue? That is my dream!! Nothing could be passed or filibustered without them.
     
  18. eyrei

    eyrei Deity Retired Moderator

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    As long as it isn't an avowed neo-con, Bush should have no problem replacing Rehnquist with whoever he likes, especially if he nominates someone moderate to fill O'conner's position. Would probably be a good idea to appoint a religious conservative to appease the evangelicals, though.
     
  19. eyrei

    eyrei Deity Retired Moderator

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    I've always wondered if they ever actually discuss that. The problem probably lies in fundraising, but a period of extreme partisanship seems a likely time to try something like that. Much of my generation seems rather disillusioned with our politics, at any rate.
     
  20. downtown

    downtown Crafternoon Delight

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    I just read a great book on the subject that you folks might be interested in. its called Independent Nation, by John P. Avlon. It basically comes to a similar conclusion that Eyrei did. While the votes would be there, there isnt enough money or special interest support to create a national party. It could work on a local level.

    ironically enough, the man who has the most to do with that is John McCain himself. McCain-Fiengold really shot the chances to create a viable 3rd party in the near future to hell
     

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