CJ Rehnquist has died, and so has our prayers for shelter from conservative extremests
God have mercy on all our souls. "W" now has to appoint TWO justices, and recommend CJ Rehnquist's sucessor. (Gulp!) Who is he going to nominate next? Who will he nominate for CJ? Liberals and moderates alike, save the women and children and run for Canada!!!
As it stands right now, AJ Sandra Day O'Connor is not officially retired. Her resignation was contingent upon confirmation and appointment of her replacement before the Court reconviens, currently Judge Roberts. So technically, the Court still has eight justices, and reconviens on Oct. 1. So, two justices need to be appointed within the next three weeks to have a full court. Will Sandra Day stay on the bench until this blows over? Is there any possibility that she'll "unretire?" (I hope so.)
If the court goes down to seven justices, that would solve any problem with tied decisions. However, the potential for problems due to the inability to get cases on the docket exists if any justice isn't present due to the "rule of four," which means that for any case to be heard by the Court, four justices must vote in favor of hearing it. That's where the problem lies. The Court staff and the justices' clerks weed out the weak cases before presenting the significant ones for the justices' vote. The Court is pretty much evenly divided on the ideological level at the moment. But for how long......... ?