Wednesday, February 23, 2005

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Supreme Court Vacancy Part 1

Mr. Chief Justice Rehnquist is expected to announce his retirement from the Court in the near future. This news surprises no one, and the guesses as to who will become the new Chief Justice are pretty pat as well: Mr. Justice Scalia or Mr. Justice Thomas. These are the justices that Bush has said so often he most admires and agrees with constitutionally. I don't think he will choose Mr. Justice Thomas, his record is too thin, he hasn't stood on his own enough on the Court and his original contentious confirmation hearing before the Senate will probably be enough to keep Bush from nominating him. Mr. Justice Scalia will be the more likely choice, and less controversial. Yes, there is a movement to keep Scalia from becoming Chief Justice, because of his "originalism" and through it his blatant judicial activism.
It just does not seem likely to me that it will go very far, because for all of Mr. Justice Scalia's flaws, and they are normally found in the beginning of his arguments, he is a brilliant man and a well versed with a pen. That coupled with his previous unanimous confirmation to the Court by the Senate should be enough to get him through the Senate as the Chief Justice.

Now if by some chance wild horses fly and some sense is kicked into the President's head by an errant flying equine, then we might see a Mr. Chief Justice Souter. Mr. Justice Souter was appointed by Bush's father just like Mr. Justice Thomas but has been a much more moderate voice on the Court, it would provide some balance to what is sure to be a conservative to very conservative appointment to fill the empty seat.

The real fun begins when we start trying to guess who will fill the empty seat, there have been a few lists floated for over a year now and on every list(a fellow Texan Serprize serprize)has been his honorable Michael Luttig of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. I had hoped to write about him this evening, but decided that it was necessary to play guess the Chief first.