Saturday, September 03, 2005

A new era begins

With Chief Justice Rehnquist's passing, we enter a difficult time on the Supreme Court. Now a hard-right President gets to replace two justices in a span of only a few months - the key question here is whether he tacks a little towards the center with his next pick. If he announces a centrist appointment this week, it makes it all the more likely that Roberts sails through.

The big question is this: Sandra Day O'Connor turned into a pretty centrist justice during her 24 years on the Court. Slighly right-of-center, but generally supportive of precedent, supportive of individual rights, and supportive of privacy rights. Roberts is generally seen as more conservative than O'Connor was (based on what's known about him so far), but may not quite be the reliable right-wing vote that Rehnquist was. A Rehnquist court with Roberts on it probably breaks 5-4 in the other direction more often than it has, but if Rehnquist's replacement is more centrist than who knows?

Of course, knowing Bush, he'll probably appoint one of the far-right judges that didn't make the cut for the first vacancy. Or he'll hold off on an appointment until after the Roberts hearings are over. Because our President is not exactly known for making conciliatory centrist gestures now, is he?

On that note, it's sleep time - I've got a 40 mile bike ride waiting for me in the morning...

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