Ruh-roh! You know that long, rambling post that Article III Groupie just issued concerning why Chief Justice Rehnquist may not be leaving the Supreme Court anytime soon? Well, perhaps she should take it all back. In today's Chicago Sun-Times, Robert Novak offers this intriguing rumor (which also surfaced in the blogosphere here (via Wonkette) and here, among other places):
Adding to the tension [over a possible Alberto Gonzales nomination] is word from court sources that ailing Chief Justice William Rehnquist also will announce his retirement before the week is over. That would enable Bush to play this game: Name one justice no less conservative than Rehnquist, and name Gonzales, whose past record suggests he would replicate retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on abortion and possibly other social issues. Thus, the present ideological orientation of the court would be unchanged, which would suit the left just fine.
Very interesting! This would explain WHR's apparent failure to hire his clerks for October Term 2006, which he would typically do in June 2005. If a Rehnquist retirement announcement is forthcoming, expect it to arrive on Friday morning, just as Justice O'Connor's did.