Dan Tokaji's Blog
Professor Dan Tokaji
Election reform, the Voting Rights Act, the Help America Vote Act, and related topics -- with special attention to the voting rights of people of color, non-English proficient citizens, and people with disabilities

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Equal Vote
Friday, July 15
Rehnquist Answers

A follow-up on this post two weeks ago regarding the possibility of Chief Justice Rehnquist retiring. The Chief issued a statement last night stating that he has no imminent plans to retire: "I want to put to rest the speculation and unfounded rumors of my imminent retirement. I am not about to announce my retirement. I will continue to perform my duties as chief justice as long as my health permits."

This is consistent with what I suggested in my prior post -- namely, that if the Chief were planning to retire, he'd announce it within a week of Justice O'Connor's retirement announcement.

Last night's announcement clarifies that, at least for the time being, the President will have one and not two slots to fill. But it's an important slot, given Justice O'Connor's status as the swing vote on key voting rights cases, as on so many other constitutional and civil rights questions. In view of the present debate over reauthorization of key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, an especially salient question is how this appointment will affect the Court's deliberations over the VRA's constitutionality, should it be renewed and make its way up to the Court.

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Moritz College of Law The Ohio State University