Supreme Court Term Ends Without Retirements

The Supreme Court ended its session today without any dramatic announcements of Justices retiring.

Supreme Court term ends, no retirement announcements (AP)

The Supreme Court ended its term Monday with no retirement announcements from any justices. A retirement could come later, however, in a letter to the president or press release.

In court, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist struggled to talk and thanked court employees for their work over the past year before he adjourned the term.


Most of the retirement speculation has focused on Rehnquist, who has cancer, and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, 75.

Hundreds of people waited for seats in the courtroom. The first people arrived at 1 a.m. and brought blankets.

I’d be very surprised if Rehnquist doesn’t retire this term, given his health problems and his presumable desire to ensure a likeminded successor. I’m less sure why O’Connor would retire at this point, although political considerations may help her along the line. I can’t imagine either would want to risk a Democrat appointing their successor. The later it gets into Bush’s second term, the more likely Democrats are too stall any nominees to see who will be sitting in the Oval Office come 21 January 2009.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Anon Anon says:

    Hello, just something to add to your deliberations. O’Connor’s husband is quite ill..Robert Novak seems to be among the few including this: