Tuesday, June 28, 2005

rehnquist and the gang

last night, my husband-to-be pointed out the fact that one of the supreme court justices might be resigning and also pointed out the fact that, as a future attorney, i really should be more aware of issues like this. hmmm, he does have a point.

so i decided to do some research on the supreme court justices and compile this info for anyone else who might be starting law school, and like me, has absolutely no legal or politcal background (or is otherwise interested).

caveat #1: all of this info is compiled from various sources on the internet and my own interpretations and i hold no guarantees as to its accuracy.

caveat #2: this entry may be extermely boring to some of you reading, skip if neccesary.

first off, here's a picture of the lovely and powerful bunch, all in their cool judge robe gear. clockwise from the upper left, we have: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Souter, Clarence Thomas, Stephen Anthony Kennedy, Sandra Day O'Connor, Chief Justice William Rehnquist, John Paul Stevens, and Antonin Scalia. don't they just look spectacular?

some "interesting" factoids about them:

  • Chief Justice Rehnquist was appointed the longest time ago, in 1971 by President Nixon. Stevens comes in second, with a 1975 appointment by President Ford. I'm not sure if Rehnquist is the chief just because he was appointed the earliest or if he's just more of a "leader" type... anyone?
  • O'Connor, Scalia and Kennedy were all appointed by President Reagan; Souter and Thomas were both appointed by President Bush (the older one); Ginsburg and Breyer were both appointed by President Clinton.
  • Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas are generally considered to be the conservative ones (think brigham young). Souter, Breyer, Ginsburg, and Stevens are generally considered to the liberal ones (think berkeley). Kennedy and O'Connor are typically seen as moderates, which means their opinions go a long way in cases where it is a close call (another reason it is good to be a moderate!)
  • supreme court justices rule only on cases that have to do with the constitution -- such as the recent highly publicized case on the display of Ten Commandements in courthouses (sorry, Bible Belt).
  • once confirmed by the Senate, supreme court justices hold their jobs for life - until death or retirement intervenes.
  • Rehnquist was rumored to be retiring, as he is suffering from thyroid cancer, poor guy. he was expected by some to announce his retirement today, the last day of the supreme court's term, but did not, which means he will return again in october when the new term begins. if he were to retire, President Bush (the younger one) would need to nominate a new justice.

and that is all i have to say about that today.

EDIT: 3 days after i wrote this blog, Sandra Day O'Connor, first woman on the Supreme Court, announced her retirement! bummer. she was my favorite justice based on my, albeit brief, research.


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