Could the Supreme Court be biding their time to retire until 2005?

I was somewhat surprised by the fact that a number of the more conservative judges haven’t taken the opportunity of a Bush presidency to retire, and allow replacements who are ideologically in line with their views of the system.

But then I started to wonder if the delay in retiring may have everything to do with waiting till the 2004 election, and the hope that Bush will win the office of the Presidency outright, with a clear mandate, and without the mess that 2000 brought. Maybe they figure that Bush would have a hard time getting his nominees through at this time, especially strict right-wingers.

Also, how many justices can the Supreme Court have and still operate, assuming that several depart or die in office.

They’re not that old.

  1. Thomas–1948.
  2. Souter–1939.
  3. Breyer–1938.
  4. Kennedy–1936.
  5. Scalia–1936.
  6. Ginsburg–1933.
  7. O’Connor–1930.
  8. Rehnquist–1924.
  9. Stevens–1920.

I would imagine that several of the more conservative types might be holding out in hopes of a Congressional swing that would enable someone of their bent to get through. There’s no way another Scalia, for instance, would even be allowed on the tour in the current climate.

Probably true. The dustup over Robert Bork is a recent memory, and with congress nearly-equally divided, it’s a cinch a decided conservative is going to face major resistance. The 2004 elections have a chance of making congress more Republican, and barring major health problems, why should the justices retire, anyway? They’d go from being one-ninth of one-third of the government, a powerful and prestigious post, to… well, golf and needlepoint.

Heck, they’d have to drag me out.