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Specter's choice for Chief Justice

From NYT via Next Left:
Specter Suggests a Chief Justice: O'Connor

WASHINGTON, July 10 - Senator Arlen Specter, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, suggested on Sunday that President Bush could name Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who is retiring from the Supreme Court, to the position of chief justice if it opens up.

"I think it would be very tempting if the president said to Justice O'Connor, 'You could help the country now,' " Mr. Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania and a pivotal player in any confirmation hearings, said in an interview on the CBS program "Face the Nation." "She has received so much adulation that a confirmation proceeding would be more like a coronation, and she might be willing to stay on for a year or so."

Although Mr. Specter's seeming endorsement of the idea was highly speculative - Justice O'Connor, 75, has announced her retirement, while Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, 80, has not stepped down - it was the clearest of his several recent signals that he plans to steer his own course as he oversees hearings on a replacement for Justice O'Connor, independent of the president and of his party's conservative base.

...Speaking on the same program, Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, readily assented. "I think it would be a very doable thing," he responded to the idea of enticing Justice O'Connor out of retirement to become the new chief.
No surprise that Specter is quite possibly the most hated senator on the right, even more so than Ted Kennedy, perhaps.

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