Justice Rehnquist dies

Posted Sep 03, 2005 in Events, Health, Politics.

After a long battle with thyroid cancer, Chief Justice William Hubbs Rehnquist has died. A staunch conservative, Rehnquist was against school desegregation and abortion rights, and for capital punishment and school prayer.

It is almost certain that President Bush will ensure Rehnquist's replacement as Chief Justice will be equally conservative - probably Antonin Scalia, with some new conservative blood for the vacant position. This will leave the Supreme Court leaning far to the right for many years to come, and the nation will soon enter a period of Sauron-like darkness.


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    I have to agree with you in some way...but adding a strong liberal wouldn't make a difference. Although it is almost impossible, I still suggest that all members of the Supreme Court Justice to be completely moderate, and not conservate or democrat.

    Both parties are equally as bad as eachother in MANY ways, it would only be fair if all the members didn't just side on one side, even if the number was balanced.

    ...I hope that made sense.

    Posted by Parker on Sep 03, 2005.

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    I was reading in the Economist this week that the Supreme Court is relatively well balanced between the conservatives and the reasonable people. Even so, as Parker mentions, they have been relatively moderate in their rulings to date and hopefully that balance will not be lost.

    Posted by Tim on Sep 04, 2005.

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    "I was reading in the Economist this week that the Supreme Court is relatively well balanced between the conservatives and the reasonable people."

    That has indeed been the case. The retiring Sandra Day O'Conner is a moderate conservative, but her replacement is very much the archetypal Republican. If both vacant slots are filled with such people, the court will lean far more to the right than it does now.

    This has enormous implications. "Roe Vs. Wade" will likely be overturned, banning the right of women to have an abortion. Cases like the recent one involving Terry Schiavo will be given a Pro-Life stance. Also, religion will be woven into federal and state practices - perhaps Creationism will be taught in schools, for example.

    Posted by Simon Jessey on Sep 05, 2005.

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    You said yourself that Rehnquist was a staunch conservative, yet we seem to have done just fine with him in the Chief Justice position. What difference would a different conservative have? I mean, someone who was for desegregation sounds pretty good to me...

    Posted by Stephan Segraves on Sep 06, 2005.

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    We have only "done just fine" with Rehnquist because we had the "swing" vote of Sandra Day O'Conner. Rehnquist was AGAINST desegregation. I imagine that Roberts will have act in a similar way to Rehnquist, although Rehnquist was far more experienced. It is worth noting that Roberts was one of the people responsible for the disgraceful Bush vs. Gore result.

    The real problem is that Sandra Day O'Conner, a moderate Republican, is unlikely to be replaced be another moderate. The court will swing further toward conservatism (where it is already leaning), and may lead to decisions that would disgust a significant portion of the US population (almost 50%).

    The country is now very divided. During the Clinton administration, Right got along just fine with Left. The country was united. Now the country is divided. Under a conservative Supreme Court, this polarization will not be healed - particularly with the current administration.

    Posted by Simon Jessey on Sep 06, 2005.