Wednesday, November 03, 2004

 

Presidents come and go, but...

...a Supreme Court is forever.

Well, not quite exactly forever, but near enough as makes no difference. William Rehnquist, for example, has been on the Court since January 1972 - almost 33 years!

Barring some sort of miraculous reversal, George W. Bush is going to have the opportunity over the next four years to make at least one appointment to the Court - Rehnquist, certainly, will have to be replaced very soon. Bush will not only get to name a new Justice, but also a new Chief Justice (probably the loathesome Antonin Scalia). Bush may also get to appoint several more Justices - Stevens will be 85 soon, O'Connor will be 75 soon. Should Bush appoint relatively young Justices, that would and will be an influence and a legacy outweighing most of whatever else he will do, bad or good, in his second term. Given the nature of many of his judicial appointments during his first term, and the fact that the Senate is now even more firmly Republican, I fear the worst.

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