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William Rehnquist has passed away

according to CNN.

Todd Kincannon (mail):
Rest in peace, Chief Justice Rehnquist.
9.4.2005 1:12am
Jay (mail) (www):
I respect him so much for not retiring and sticking out till the end.
9.4.2005 1:21am
Brian G (mail) (www):
May God Bless his soul. He served our country well. I thought the Dickerson epitomized his greatness as a Chief Justice, going against his beliefs and feelings and thinking of the larger picture, a responsibility that comes with being the Chief. He served the position with honor.
9.4.2005 1:36am
Russell Wardlow (mail) (www):
I sort of think Rehnquist's decision to hang on was a little irresponsible. Better to let people know when the vacancy is coming so filling the vacancy can be prepared for.
9.4.2005 1:40am
Zed Pobre (mail) (www):
Likewise. For all the decisions of his that I have cursed, I respected his thinking, and for the most part his integrity.
9.4.2005 1:40am
Meredith (mail):

I sort of think Rehnquist's decision to hang on was a little irresponsible. Better to let people know when the vacancy is coming so filling the vacancy can be prepared for.


All due respect, but tt will be a circus regardless.

The man was in control of his faculties. These days, I doubt it's possible to prepare.

My condelences to Rhenquist's family, his staff and clerks, past and present, and everybody else. Rhenquist was a leader on the court for a long long time. He led majorities and he had sole dissents.

What a year we're having! So much loss.
9.4.2005 1:50am
Jaquque (mail):
So, I guess we won't hear of a successor until Roberts is (I assume) confirmed?

It's going to be a time of unprecedented attention on the court.
9.4.2005 1:55am
Gene Vilensky (mail) (www):
Jaquque,

As callous as this may be, let me talk about Bush Admin strategy. I actually think that they would be well-served by naming an appointment now as to distract from the Roberts hearings and distract the Democrats to attack someone else. In the end, I think that Rehnquist's replacement will be confirmed since the Left won't see this as a net loss (whereas, mistakenly, I think, they see O'Connor as a loss of someone who was at least sympathetic). My guess is that the front-runner is Michael McConnell. On the other hand, it would, in my opinion, be brilliant strategy to appoint someone like Edith Clement or Edith Jones. The left will have a hard time opposing the first female Chief.
9.4.2005 2:01am
Jaquque (mail):
"the left" seems to fight pretty hard against minority (or women) conservatives, for whatever reason.

I didn't mean to be callous (you didn't call me that, but I can see how it can seem that way).

Rhenquist leaves shoes to be filled. huge.
9.4.2005 2:04am
Stephen Aslett (mail):
.
9.4.2005 2:10am
Jeremy (mail):
The smart thing to do is immediately double-nominate Roberts as CJ. Roberts is a sure thing, so that kills two birds with one stone. Then put Luttig or Jones or Clement or Garza or etc. in the vacant AJ spot.
9.4.2005 2:22am
Anderson (mail) (www):
I say look for the 1st female Chief ... Edith "so your counsel was sleeping, big deal" Jones!
9.4.2005 2:34am
Jaquque (mail):

Stephen Aslett (mail):
.


Yes Stephen, everything, utlimately, the entire universe, is a monad, and so, the concept of Rhenquist, lives on as a monadic concept, but also as everything else.
9.4.2005 3:54am
Falconetti:
Although I wasn't always a fan, I thought Rehnquist was a powerful and disciplined jurist whom I respected (ignoring Bush v. Gore...).

Also, it would be a smart move to nominate Roberts for CJ. That way there would be only two confirmation hearings rather than three.
9.4.2005 3:57am
Dustin (mail):
Falcon, there will only be two if he nominates anybody not on the USSC right now (I guess you already know that)

I like Roberts, and I guess if Bush thought he was the most qualified before he might as well make him CJ. But I think Bush should wait wait wait until Roberts is confirmed to name a successor.

There is just too much going on right now. If Roberts passes and the hearings show bloviation over it, perhaps that will be a major pr success for this admin. That might make things easier for the next go around, what with the same predictable bloviation discarded as what politicans do nomatter what.

Bush can say that until the Judiciary committee is still unable to vote on Roberts, they can't proceed with the CJ spot, giving pressure for an up or down vote and pressuring against a filibuster.

I just don't see as much upside to nominating two people at the same time.
9.4.2005 4:14am
Stephen Aslett (mail):
Jaquque,

I like your Leibniz reference, but the "." is a symbol (near universal, I thought) used on message boards to express condolences. See, e.g., metafilter and slashdot.
9.4.2005 4:34am
jgshapiro (mail):
O'Connor commented a while back that she did not think Bush would nominate a woman to be CJ if Rehnquist stepped down.

I doubt Bush can count on a third vacancy happening in the next three years (or the next two if you assume that a vacancy in an election year would not be able to be filled until the following year, after Bush is gone). I also doubt Bush wants the only woman on the court to be a Democratic appointee.

So -- assuming O'Connor was right -- his best play might be to move Roberts over to CJ, and pick a woman to fill O'Connor's spot. O'Connor said in her resignation letter that she would stay until her successor was confirmed, so this would allow the court to remain at 9 justices without interruption. Nominating anyone else for CJ -- unless it is done through a recess appointment -- would ensure that there are only 8 justices for at least half of the upcoming term.
9.4.2005 5:09am
jgshapiro (mail):
BTW, maybe this is the wrong place to say this, or the wrong time, but I have to agree with Mr. Wardlaw: if Rehnquist was sick enough in June for it to be life-ending in September, he really should have called it a day in June (or earlier) and allowed for the possibility for him to be replaced by October.

It is one thing for him to stick out the term when he got ill last fall -- after all, his replacement would not have been confirmed until too late in 2005 to be of any use last term. But it is another thing to keep going past the end of the term, unless he was no longer significantly ill.

Now, barring a recess appointment or Bush moving Roberts over to CJ and O'Connor staying around, it is unlikely that his spot could be filled before December at the earliest.
9.4.2005 5:19am
magoo (mail):
May his soul rest in peace.

Regarding his decision not to resign, the papers report that his health declined precipitously in recent days. He might well have fully intended to serve out another Term. I wouldn't be too hard on him for failing to anticipate his death.

Are any of those on the short list Catholic? Along with Justices Scalia, Kennedy, and Thomas and Judge Roberts, we could have the first Catholic majority in the court's history.

Have PFAW and Alliance opposed his replacement yet, or do they normally wait until after the nomination?
9.4.2005 9:10am
Eugene Volokh (www):
Folks: Let's please keep this from turning into a partisan fight for at least a few days. Not that there's anything inherently wrong with partisan fights, if conducted politely and substantively -- but they seem to me a bit out of place in the hours after a man's death.

Eugene
9.4.2005 9:18am
Penta:
May he Rest In Peace.

He did a lot, for what its worth, for making the court a truly collegial institution, and keeping it such despite the divisive differences. Not merely 9 justices, but 9 friends. Which is probably best for the country.

If there are any of his clerks here...My condolences.
9.4.2005 9:25am
Clint:
To be extraordinarily cynical...

How long before someone on the left seriously proposes filibustering to confirm NO NEW JUSTICES for the next three years?

(One death and one resignation leave us with currently a Court of three liberals, two moderates, and two conservatives -- with a liberal (Stevens) as acting Chief. The 5-4 Kelo majority is now 5-2.)
9.4.2005 11:12am
Jaquque (mail):

Jaquque,

I like your Leibniz reference, but the "." is a symbol (near universal, I thought) used on message boards to express condolences. See, e.g., metafilter and slashdot.


Huh. I did not know that.

To Mr. Volokh, I'm sorry that I strayed from the intent of your website in talking about the succession process. Of course we oughta respect this loss in and of itself. Just hard not to look at the bigger picture that obviously can wait.
9.4.2005 12:01pm
Mark Brady:
This is not a partisan point although it is about the succession procedure.
Gene Vilensky writes:
"In the end, I think that Rehnquist's replacement will be confirmed since the Left won't see this as a net loss (whereas, mistakenly, I think, they see O'Connor as a loss of someone who was at least sympathetic)."

Does it make sense for people making the case for or against current candidates for that vacancy to take into account the characteristics of the previous occupant?

And aren't vacancies "fungible" in so far as the person confirmed for any vacancy has one vote? I appreciate that the Chief Justice has a lead role in deliberations of the Supreme Court but this consideration would be nugatory if Bush were to nominate an existing member of the court to be Chief Justice and another outsider to be Associate Justice.
9.4.2005 4:38pm