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Rehnquist and Cancer

October 26th, 2004

Is it a coincidence that we learn of Rehnquist’s cancer just eight days before the election? I am not, of course, suggesting that Rehnquist scheduled his surgery for this time, but the chief justice has had his malady diagnosed for some time; for it to be publicly announced so close to a contentious election is without question subject to scrutiny. Was news of Rehnquist’s illness meant to galvanize the conservative base, scaring them into believing that if they don’t get Bush elected, then a Democrat could appoint the next chief justice of the Supreme Court? Could this be Rehnquist’s new way of getting Bush elected after he led the conservative-majority court cabal in the 2000 election to stop legal counting in Florida and elect Bush the winner?

Naturally, if that is the case, it could also backfire: liberals could see this as a once-in-a-generation chance to win back seats on the highest court, sending it back to a more equal balance. Rehnquist would have to hang on for four more years if Kerry were elected, and he might not have that choice.

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