With the Senate now in Republican hands, expect Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist to retire this summer.
A fall like this one should convince him.
Now — anyone want to make a wager on who will replace him?
Eugene Volokh. (Hey, I can dream, can’t I?)
Scalia most likely for Chief Justice. As for the empty seat, I have no clue.
I would be very surprised if Scalia became Chief Justice. My dream is that Randy Barnett would get a nomination to the empty seat. As for chief, either the new guy will be nominated as chief or Kennedy will get the nod.
Scalia could get moved up, with Michael Luttig from the Fifth Circuit replacing Scalia’s seat.
In the event that dark horse candidates are needed, let me point out that I am an attorney . . .
Appointing Scalia as chief justice would just set the Democrats all aflutter and would bring on the very filibusters they’ve threatened. That would be greatly amusing but the Bush admin isn’t going to do that. I suspect we’d see Kennedy moved up and Estrada appointed as a justice. Or the next likely scenario is Estrada appointed as CJ.
Viet Dihn, Deputy Asst. Attorney General [same job Rehnquist had in the Nixon DOJ when he got picked], former clerk for O’Connor.
Also, J. Harvie Wilkenson, Chief Judge of the 4th Circuti
Estrada for the vacancy, O’Connor for chief.
Anthony Kennedy voted to retain *Roe* in the *Casey* case. The right wing would balk were he to be elevated to chief (though he is said to be campaigning for it).
Antonin (or “Anthony,” as W. called him in a debate) Scalia is too much of a lightning rod and would be Borked, even though he predates Bork.
Sandra O’Connor would be a good pick that the Senate could live with, but she indicated on election night 2000 — to her later embarrassment — that she wanted off the Court. Plus, she voted with the majority in *Casey,* too.
The new guy or lady will be the new chief, then: Alberto Gonzalez is my front-runner, though Michael Luttig, J. Harvie Wilkinson, Samuel Alito, or Edith Jones (who lost out to David Souter under Bush I) could get it. Miguel Estrada is too young and inexperienced (and he’s not even confirmed for the Appellate Court yet) to be chief.
A dark horse: Alex Kozinski.
My dream candidate: Richard Posner, the most influential, important, and interesting American jurist of the latter 20th century.
Wishing he had not told W. how inexperienced he was in a debate: Orrin Hatch.
The new Justice will be Estrada. Bush is obsessed with appealing to (pandering to?) Hispanics. Picking by quota worked well for conservatives with Clarence Thomas. Does anyone know how conservative Estrada is? I just HOPE he is not another David Souter.
As to CJ, has a newly appointed justice ever started off as the CJ? My guess is O’Connor, I don’t think Bush wants to risk the wrath of pro-choice GOP moderates – which would happen if Scalia was nominated.
I meant Estrada or Gonzalez. Actually, I would think Bush would pick the Hispanic Republican with the most judicial experience, whowver that is, like Bush #1 did with the top black Republican choice, Clarence Thomas.
Joel (and others) –
The most experienced of Estrada and Gonzalez is Gonzalez, who was on the Texas Supreme Court. Estrada is an accomplished attorney, but he is not yet a judge.
The most recent example of a newly-appointed judge starting as Chief is Earl Warren.
Bush said he wanted to appoint strict constructionists like Scalia and Thomas during the 2000 election. That’s not something someone says in an election if they don’t mean it (since it wouldn’t help with swing voters). Scalia will get the Cheif post, sure he’ll get slapped around a bit by the Liberal media, and a few liberal Senators, but they won’t have the votes to stop if if they filibuster, and I don’t think they have the stones for that.
I thought Estrada would be the next SC justice, but he hasn’t yet been confirmed to the Appeals Court… so I have no idea. I’ll stick with Estrada… Rehnquist will hold on long enough to get Estrada on the appeals court first
Bush already knows who he wants to appoint, short list ready before he won the election. Believe he’s gonna go for Scalia. He’s intellectually incomparable, has no skeletons, and can more than handle himself before the judiciary committee. Any attempt to filibuster him will be taken for the political terrorism that it is, and singe the Democrats badly. Too many people remember the shameless behavior of the Democrats when they tried to lynch Clarence Thomas. Moreover, I think there are enough moderate and/or principled Democrats a la Zell Miller, to close down a filibuster, particularly since there are no legitimate reasons to oppose Scalia as chief. Bush will simultaneously nominate Gonzalez, to take Scalia’s Associate position, further marginalizing the Democrats, as the Hispanic community will realize that if Scalia doesn’t get confirmation, that there will be no vacancy for Gonzalez, as Scalia’s experience at Associate Justice makes him more qualified for C.J. Think the original plan was Estrada, but believe Bush wanted several years on the appellate bench to render his appointment to Supremes that much more unassailable.
I have met Justice Scalia in an informal setting. The man is an intellectual giant and more than worthy to lead the Supreme Court of the US.
Scalia’s personality is too prickly to be chief. His opinions routinely castigate his colleagues’ writings — including the conservatives. Bush values team players above all else. Chiefs must build coalitions. Perhaps Scalia can’t.
Bush is not particularly bold where it comes to nominations. I would be extremely surprised (indeed, pleasantly so) if Scalia were elevated to CJ. I think Scalia is too much of a lightening rod. It would get Bush in trouble without clear advantages: he wants to get his pick approved after all.
Assuming O’Connor is too old/too tired, then either Kennedy or Thomas would be CJ. If he has guts, Bush will nominate a black man to become CJ. But I suspect he’s more likely to go with Kennedy (alas).
As for the opening: definitely a Hispanic. Estrada hasn’t been a judge yet. The Dems tarrred him somewhat. I put my money on Gonzalez.
On balance, that’s not all that great for the court.
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