For whatever reason, last night and early this morning I wasn’t tuned in to the NPR/BBC radio news programs to which I commonly listen. Thus, I was somewhat stunned to see the headline in this morning’s paper about Chief Justice Rehnquist’s death.

Three thoughts came to mind. One is the long-lasting effect of having Bush with a minimum of two appointments to the Court. The religious right and neo-cons must be ecstatic. The second was, “Oh no, please not Thomas.” The last was how this might impact nominee John Roberts. Will this ease or embitter his process because of a chief justice vacancy? Or might the Roberts nomination become a chief justice hearing?

To keep tabs on all this, I recommend How Appealing as a round up source and SCOTUSblog and The Supreme Court Nomination Blog for more detailed analysis.

As a member of this Court I am not justified in writing my private notions of policy into the Constitution, no matter how deeply I may cherish them or how mischievous I may deem their disregard.

Justice Felix Frankfurter, dissenting in W. Va. Bd. of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943)

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