The Rehnquist Court is Dead. Long Live the Court.

Chief Justice William Rehnquist, 80, died this weekend. He held on to his position as Supreme Court Justice until the end, refusing to resign when his health was bad. He was a hardline conservative, but not of the evangenlical fundamental variety. And the evangelical fundamental variety is starting to make all the old traditional just conservatives seem not so bad in retrospect. After all, his main cause, states rights, has become something much more of a nonpartisan civil liberties issue in these days of Homeland Security.

Over the past thirty years, the Supreme Court has inched, rather than ran, to the right. With the election of a new Chief Justice that could change for the worse, but it seems unlikely. (Scalia is the Justice that seems to me most like Bush himself and the most likely, but that doesn't make it any more palatable for those of us who are fans of separation of Church and State.)

Given the million plus refugees from Hurricane Katrina and the bloody mess of Iraq, it seems unlikely that Bush would appoint someone who will incite a huge confirmation battle. My guess is that most people in this country have had enough unnecessary fighting to last us a lifetime. (But give me a real fight by the Democrats and the people around the country to get us out of Iraq and into New Orleans, I'm up for that.)


Here's my requests to a President who doesn't take them: take care of America's refugees. For real. Now. Figure out how to get us out of Iraq. Then we can think about the Supreme Court and give us a nominee who fights for law, justice, and truth. It doesn't sound like you have any qualified candidates on the list right now, but don't worry. The Supreme Court can go without a justice or two for a while. We've got some things take care of.

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