The death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist Saturday and Sandra Day O’Connor’s announcement earlier this year that she will retire will leave George Bush with the opportunity to appoint two Supreme Court justices.
The last time there were double vacancies on the Supreme Court was 1971.
In a nation that already has conservative control over the executive branch and a majority presence in the legislative branch, this is a major development.
Rehnquist and O’Connor were both staunch conservatives and Rehnquist has been credited with steering the court as a whole into a more conservative era. In that respect, little will change when Bush names their replacements.
It remains to be seen how conciliatory Bush is in filling these vacancies.
In the past, Republicans have accused Democrats of being stubborn and uncompromising in their refusal to appoint Bush’s
The real problem is Republicans’ idea of compromise is for Democrats to take what is handed to them.
Republicans have refused to reconsider their nominees and their idea of cooperation is for Democrats to approve what is put in front of them.
Bush announced Monday that John Roberts, the man he had nominated to replace O’Connor, will become the nominee for Rehnquist’s position as Chief Justice.
Democrats have promised tough questioning during the confirmation hearings and it is our hope that they live up to that promise.
Although they will have to confirm a conservative of some kind, they should be sure that it is a person who will be fair and serve the court honorably.
Supreme Court justices serve life terms and are politically untouchable. This will be an extremely important decision for the next 30-40 years for our country.