In this recent post about the departing Justice O'Connor, Article III Groupie reported a rumor "that SOC put her house on the market last Friday." It appears that this rumor was incorrect (as rumors sometimes are, much to A3G's disappointment). As reported in this article from the New York Times, Justice O'Connor just purchased a new home in Washington:
The O'Connors plan to move to a townhouse they recently bought in northwest Washington from their home in Chevy Chase, Md., a move that was one factor fueling speculation that Justice O'Connor was not planning retirement any time soon. Her friends had long speculated that one reason she would step down would be to move back to Arizona, where the couple still own a home.
Perhaps the rumors of a house for sale concerned Justice O'Connor's former home in Chevy Chase, Maryland? Consider these succulent tidbits -- concerning SOC's current and former cribs, among other things -- offered by William Patry, of the always interesting Patry Copyright Blog:
You asked about whether SOC's house was up for sale. If you mean the one in Chevy Chase, it has already been sold, and the O'Connors have bought a townhouse in D.C., which they will use as their Washington home away from home in Arizona (their principal residence). You speculated that their D.C. home was luxurious. I was in it a number of times, and it was quite lovely, a very comfortable size, in extremely good taste, and just north of the Chevy Chase Circle in Maryland. But luxurious is a vague word (like equal protection).
You also speculated [see items #4 and #5] about her culinary habits. SOC once cooked dinner for me and Craig Joyce, a close relative of hers by marriage, in the kitchen in that house. She wore an old apron and rustled up a salad and an enormous salmon. I have been a vegetarian for over 30 years, but when SOC is the chef, you eat up, and I did. SOC was particularly proud of her wine cork opener, a floor stand model, which she used with gusto.
How delicious, both figuratively and literally! [Update: Don't miss this post by Bill Patry, which includes his fabulous, more detailed of that dinner (plus lots of other goodies, including a description of her new chambers at the Court). Here's a teaser: "Hello, Bill, this is Sandra..."]
Article 3 Groupie is extremely envious of Mr. Patry -- she can only dream of dining with a Supreme Court justice.* And A3G would have loved to have visited Justice O'Connor's gorgeous home, to say nothing of eating a dinner prepared by the most powerful woman in America (and one of the most powerful women in the world -- #6 on Forbes magazine's list of the most powerful women on the planet).
A3G is continuing to monitor the SOC situation closely. For the time being, she is sticking with her prediction of Alberto R. Gonzales as the nominee, despite some vocal conservative opposition to Judge Gonzales's candidacy. Although some conservatives, A3G included, might ideally want a more reliably conservative nominee, we have to be realistic. A3G's message to her fellow travelers: "Come on, people, let's get real. Who are we kidding? We are replacing Sandra Day O'Connor, not William H. Rehnquist. Got it?"
A3G agrees with Tom Goldstein -- one of the most astute, insightful, and plugged-in observers of the Court -- that President Bush might want to name Alberto Gonzales as Chief Justice. But this doesn't mean the President will refrain from nominating Al Gonzales as an Associate Justice now, in order to "save" him for the Chief Justice slot later. After all, nothing precludes President Bush from nominating Judge Gonzales to replace Justice O'Connor, then "pulling a Rehnquist" by subsequently promoting Associate Justice Gonzales to the position of Chief (just as President Reagan promoted then-Associate Justice William Rehnquist from within the Court).
If Chief Justice Rehnquist returns for and completes October Term 2005, which is looking reasonably likely,** then Associate Justice Gonzales will have one full Term under his belt by the time the Chief Justiceship is vacated. This would be just enough time for him to develop a strong understanding of the internal workings of One First Street, the personalities of his colleagues, etc., but not so long a time that an internal promotion would generate awkwardness or friction within the Conference (a frequently voiced concern when it comes to internal promotion of an associate justice).
O.k., must run. It's a Saturday night on a long holiday weekend, and yours truly is only mildly buzzed, as opposed to flat-out drunk. If you have any good gossip, either about Justice O'Connor or her possible successor, please email A3G, ASAP!
** Check out some of the statements issued by SOC's soon-to-be-former colleagues at the Court. They make for very interesting reading. As Lyle Denniston observes here, Chief Justice Rehnquist's statement suggests that he will be sticking around One First Street for OT 2005: "[Justice O'Connor] is a longtime friend and valued colleague. I shall miss her greatly." If the Chief were planning to be joining her imminently in retirement, he would have said something along these lines: "She is a longtime friend and valued colleague. I look forward to seeing her in the produce section of a Phoenix-area Krogers in the near future."
The statement of Justice Scalia -- with whom Justice O'Connor has had some personal issues over the years, due to the bench-slaps he has administered to her in some of his stinging dissents -- is particularly intriguing. First, he notes that "she has become a star" -- how very UTR of him to say! He then goes on to state that Justice O'Connor "has established -- to the point where it now goes almost without notice -- the role of her sex in the administration of justice."
What does Nino mean by this exactly? Is he saying that Justice O'Connor has demonstrated the important role that women play in the administration of justice -- or is he suggesting that SOC allowed her gender to color her judicial decisionmaking? (Could this ambiguity be intentional? Could Justice Scalia be trying to issue a parting shot at Justice O'Connor, but cleverly using language that could easily be passed off as complimentary?)