I watched the ceremony today to place the body of Justice Rhenquist on the podium where Lincoln lay for America to pay Justice Rhenquist last respects. It was a simple yet beautiful service. It reflected the dignity with which he carried out the duties of his job during his last days amidst his great suffering. He never faltered to the very end in that quiet dignity.
Justice Rhenquist will be missed. I did not always agree with his decisions. However, I never doubted his love of our country or his love of our Constitution! He devoted his life to our country. He devoted his life to the sanctity of the Constitution. I for one will miss him. Semper Fi Justice Rhenquist!
As I watched his body being moved, the camera was focused on Justice Sandra Day O’Conner. Her obvious feelings of loss were very touching. Then I remembered that Justice O’Conner has been dealing with her own personal trials with the illness of her husband. She also appeared to me to be so fragile at that moment as I observed her own tremors from Parkinson disease.
We ask a lot of our Supreme Court Justices. Once appointed, they hold their positions for the rest of their lives. They are the Guardians of our most fundamental and sacred laws, The Constitution. When they make their decisions, they are not supposed to be based on politics or social norms as much as humanly possible. Their decisions are supposed to follow the intent or word of the law and adherence to the Constitution.
I am relieved to hear that the hearings on the appointment of Judge Roberts as the new Chief Justice will begin on Monday rather than be delayed until Thursday. We cannot afford to delay any longer than is necessary the appointment of the new Chief Justice. The Supreme Court is already short two bodies now.
The Chief Justice appointment is, in my opinion, more important now than the appointment of the other Justice vacancy. It would be a terrible burden to our existing justices to delay either of these appointments. We certainly must not allow politicos to delay such a critical appointment. Then Congress must expeditiously process the appointment of the President’s Justice appointment to replace Justice O’Conner.
Let us hope that Congress will, for a change, start its new session with the attitude of cooperation and bi-partisanship. However, already Senators Kennedy and Leahy and other Democrats are gearing up to make this a partisan battle.
Maybe what we need to do is change the laws on the length of time a Congressional representative serves consecutively. We have too much dead weight in Congress. Too many representatives have been there so long that they bog down the Congressional process. That must end. Our representatives’ first obligation is to the people that elected them, not partisanship.