Chief Justice William Rehnquist dies
Ailing justice served on Supreme Court for 33 years. He was was 80.
Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist died Saturday evening at his home in suburban Virginia, said Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg.
A statement from the spokeswoman said he was surrounded by his three children when he died in Arlington.
“The Chief Justice battled thyroid cancer since being diagnosed last October and continued to perform his dues on the court until a precipitous decline in his health the last couple of days,” she said.
What does this mean for Democrats as the Roberts nomination hearings begin next week? Early speculation from AP News is it “sets up what’s expected to be an even more bruising Senate confirmation battle than that of John Roberts.” Then there’s the speculation of who will become Chief Justice…
The president could elevate to chief justice one of the court’s conservatives, such as Antonin Scalia or Clarence Thomas, but it’s more likely he will choose someone from outside the court.
Possible replacements include Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and federal courts of appeals judges J. Michael Luttig, Edith Clement, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Michael McConnell, Emilio Garza, and James Harvie Wilkinson III. Others mentioned are former Solicitor General Theodore Olson, lawyer Miguel Estrada and former deputy attorney general Larry Thompson.