This should be interesting

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Chief Justice Rehnquist has died. This creates an interesting tactical situation for both the Republicans and the Democrats, especially since it means that Bush only has limited flexibility (as a practical matter) as to when to appoint a new Chief.

UPDATE: 9/2/05 It's Roberts for Chief. Thanks to Chris Walsh for the heads-up. Now, does this increase or decrease the chance that the new Associate will be extremely conservative? How about that the Dems will seriously oppose Roberts?

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4 Comments

Hopefully, the International Arabian Horse Association still has some top-flight talent looking to take the next step. Failing that, perhaps this is a time when interlocking directorates among Republican and yachting organizations can help cut search costs.

Less snarkily, one would like to think that this endgame has been thought out by the administration as well as its adversaries. Are bets being taken on this by overseas booking agents, or is there a futures market set up? It'd be intriguing to check into what others are predicting as far as the Chief spot goes.

If the squeeze is on any party, it will be the Dems. The Whitehouse already has a list of candidates, they just need to pick one. But any delay caused by the Dems (such as swatting down a nominee) will be seen as obstruction given the short time before the next court session.

Whoa. I wouldn't have guessed Roberts. I figured he was part of a longer-term plan.

I don't think of Bush and Company as being great at forward planning, but if anyone in the game wasn't planning on the 81 year old guy with advanced thyroid cancer dying pretty soon, they win the lack-of-foresight award. So you have to assume that Bush and Co. had planned to nominate Roberts as chief justice all along if the opportunity came up. (They may have hoped to have him already on the court when it happened, though.)

--John

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