Sunday, June 19, 2005

And the next chief justice is...

According to the Post (see here), the three likeliest nominees are appellate judges John Roberts and Michael Luttig, and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Other possibilities are appellate judges Michael McConnell, Harvie Wilkinson, and Emilio Garza, and former solicitor general Ted Olson. With Rehnquist's retirement coming soon, likely as soon as the Supreme Court's current term ends next week, we could be in for a significant summer battle over his successor.

Or perhaps not. After all, the Democrats likely won't challenge Rehnquist's replacement as strenuously they will the replacement of one of the more liberal justices. They may back off here, where the Court's balance isn't at stake, and instead save their ammunition for more important battles yet to come. In the meantime, Bush has a big decision to make, one that could cause a rift within the Republican Party if he doesn't go with a hardcore conservative to appease the right. Looking at the list of possible nominees, however, you know you're already in trouble when Gonzales (whom I opposed when his nomination came up for attorney general) seems like the best of the bunch.

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