Voters to Select New Chief Justice?

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Let's not doubt the possibility of a medical miracle, but the prognosis for Chief Justice William Rehnquist sounds grim. A round of chemotherapy for his thyroid cancer nixed his planned return to the Supreme Court today. From a distance one cancer expert tells Bloomberg this is not a good sign:

The announcement suggests that Rehnquist is suffering from anaplastic thyroid cancer, a rare and aggressive form of the disease, said Herman Kattlove, an oncologist and medical editor for the American Cancer Society. The anaplastic variety is the only type of thyroid cancer that is treated with chemotherapy.

"It's not treatable by surgery, only by chemotherapy and radiation," said Kattlove in a telephone interview. "It's rarely, if ever, curable, and most patients die within a few months."

As if this election needed another wild card thrown into the mix.

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  1. Justice Renquist is a patriot, who tried to do the best he could in the service of his fellow Americans. Peace be upon him in his time of need.

  2. It is very becoming of him to lie low for a few days, trying not to insert himself in electoral politics. It seems that he hopes few will notice his absence today, promising to come back to work when better to those that have noticed.

  3. What will be interesting is if he doesn’t return to the court. They could be making decisions for months with only eight sitting justices. Accordingly, a lot of decisions would have been decided affirmatively 5-4 might have 4-4 outcomes (assuming that the mere lack of a majority doesn’t doesn’t sway someone either way), meaning that the circuit court decision stands no matter what the justices on either side of the divide want. This could significantly impact an entire term’s worth of decisions in other words.

  4. joe,
    First the al-Queda/base joke and now you’re saying “peace be upon him” wrt Rehnquist. Did you convert to Islam when I wasn’t looking?

    FYI, pbuh is the English translation of a phrase of respect to prophets, Muhammed, Abraham, Jesus, Moses, etc, that have passed on.

    Get well soon sir.

  5. Mo, absolutely not. I don’t know how that happened.

    Funny.

  6. I can’t imagine what a supreme court appointment will look like nowadays. We may be stuck with an 8 member court for more than a little while, then 7.

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