The press is reporting on the likelihood of a Supreme Court nomination this summer like it is a foregone conclusion.
Not so fast.
Yesterday Justice Clarence Thomas spoke at the swearing in of Leah Ward Sears as Chief Justice of Georgia. Law.com provides an article about that swearing in here, in which Thomas notes:
"winds of controversy swirled about the Court's decisions and, unfortunately, about the imagined resignations." Hmm...imagined resignations.
My gut feeling all spring has been that Rehnquist will come back. So will O'Connor and Stevens. Are there politics within the Court? Well, as renowned as they are, these are still people, and people are political animals - so sure, there is an element of politics. But, I do really feel that each of the nine members of this court has a more loyal bond to the institution, and the judiciary, than they do to any political parties, or pressures. If the Chief feels he cannot physically continue in his role, he will resign. Until that time, regardless of the political motivations of any Presidential administration or Senate, he'll press on in his role.
I find it interesting that a day after the close of the term, J. Thomas makes this sort of a statement public...I told my wife on Monday that if an announcement about a Justice leaving the Court was not made either Monday or Tuesday, I didn't think there would be an opening this summer. I still feel that way.