Friday, July 15, 2005

They do get nice robes

Chief Justice William Rehnquist likes his job title. He said Thursday that he intends to keep it for as long as he can.

His announcement came after a bipartisan group of four U.S. senators asked Justice Sandra Day O'Connor to stay on the bench to become the first female chief justice if Rehnquist retired. That request came amid growing speculation that thyroid cancer might force the 80-year-old chief justice to step down.

Rehnquist's decision isn't a big surprise because 1) he knows two simultaneous U.S. Supreme Court vacancies could propel the kind of Washington frenzy we haven't seen in years, 2) he enjoys his job, and 3) justices his age tend not to fare so well after they leave the Court. Still, it's a sign of the times when a Supreme Court justice feels compelled to issue a statement to say he won't resign.

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