Jacob Haller (jwgh) wrote,
Jacob Haller

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conspiracy theories that have so far failed to pay off #1

Conventional liberal wisdom four years ago:
The two eldest members, Justice Stevens, 80 and Chief Justice Rehnquist, 75, are expected to retire over the next four years. Court-watchers have predicted that Chief Justice Rehnquist will retire if George W. Bush, Jr. is elected president in November.
And in 2002 speculation continued:
For Rehnquist and O'Connor, the story is different. Both have signaled, although subtly, that they were each waiting for a Republican administration to resign. Rehnquist—who is 78—famously told Charlie Rose last year that "traditionally, Republican appointees have tended to retire during Republican administrations." Now while this comment could portend nothing more than the observation that "traditionally, Republican appointees tend to wear burgundy loafers" might have, folks in the Supreme Court tea-leaf racket have tended to interpret this as his promise to depart the court when the conditions for replacement with a like-minded conservative were best.

Justice O'Connor, who is 72, has similarly been making noises that rhyme with "retire" for some time, although the also famous election-night 2000 suggestion that she'd step down if Bush gained office was made by O'Connor's husband, John, not her. The other piece of O'Connor gossip, since the days of
Bush v. Gore, has been that she would rethink retiring if the chief justice's stripes were offered to her.
And this was supposedly written in 2003:
Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justice Sandra O'Connor both expressed a desire to retire and be replaced by a conservative judge within the 2000 to 2004 timeframe prior to the time when they presided over the case of Bush vs. Gore.

At a party on the night of the election Justice O'Connor expressed dismay when she heard the news that Florida was initially called for Al Gore.  Her comments that night were "This is terrible!"
I figured that someone would have retired by now. It's good to be wrong about some things.

(I should note that the Slate piece I quoted above [the second quotation] ends up being very skeptical that any of the Justices would retire any time soon.)
Tags: history, politics

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