Federal Judiciary,  Politics

Rehnquist Will Step Down in the Next Four Weeks

Confirm Them has the poop on the William Rehnquist, Chief Justice of the Unites States Supreme Court stepping down here:

I don’t think this news will come as a surprise to anyone, but I just received a phone call from an extremely reliable source who tells me that it’s a done deal.

My prediction: President Bush will tap Judge Michael W. McConnell of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit to fill the Rehnquist vacancy and to be the next Chief.

Flap’s short list is here:

A short list of possible Bush nominees to the United States Supreme Court is being reported in the Washington Times here:

Judge Michael W. McConnell on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals

Judge Edith Hollan Jones, who practiced law in Texas and now sits on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

Samuel Alito, a 3rd U.S. Circuit judge from Philadelphia.

J. Michael Luttig of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, considered one of the most conservative judges on the federal bench.

J. Harvie Wilkinson III, also on the 4th Circuit, who is considered more moderate than Judge Luttig but could be opposed by liberals over his opposition of affirmative action.

Emilio Garza of the 5th Circuit, who would give Mr. Bush the chance to name the first Hispanic justice, but whose conservative views on abortion could prompt liberal outcry.

Flap’s bet is for at least two appointments this summer to replace Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

Flap’s handicap for Chief Justice is Antonin Scalia.

Update #1

SCOTUS Blog has this take on the possible nomination of Apeals Court Judge Michael McConnell to Unites States Supreme Court:

Tony Mauro has this article (via How Appealing) on the increasing prominence of Judge McConnell in discussions of prospective Supreme Court nominees.

Two things about the article struck me. First, the suggestion of “detractors” that McConnell moved to Utah to further “his judicial aspirations” by becoming “a constituent of powerful Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah” seems absurd to the point of hilarity. Others know the Judge much better than I do, but those who do know him think of him as among the least manipulative and calculating people you could meet.

Second, the article quotes Jay Sekulow not only as strongly favoring Judge McConnell’s nomination but also heartily endorsing John Roberts. The former is not at all surprising — given Judge McConnell’s views on Roe and church-state relations — but the latter may be quite signficant, given that Judge Roberts’s short track-record on abortion and religion might otherwise have been thought to give religious conservatives pause. In that community, you cannot have a more prominent champion than Jay Sekulow.