Man Without Qualities

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

In This Election, It's High Stakes At The High Court

From the Washington Times:

Chief Justice Rehnquist did not disclose which type of thyroid cancer he has, how far it has progressed, or his prognosis. Dr. Ann M. Gillenwater of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston said the combination of chemotherapy and radiation is the usual treatment for anaplastic thyroid cancer, a fast-growing form that can kill quickly. About 80 percent of people with that type of cancer die within a year, even with treatment, according to the Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy. "Unfortunately, it rarely responds very well, and this is just a holding action for most patients," said Dr. Herman Kattlove of the American Cancer Society.

My best guess is that he has not yet resigned only because he does not want the Court - and, especially, appointment of the Chief Justice - to be an election issue any more than it absolutely has to be an election issue. I agree with Dennis Hutchinson:

"He doesn't want to be a factor" in the election, Mr. Hutchinson said. "The one thing all members of the court hate is the assumption that they are partisan or sensitive to partisan politics." Dave Rohde, a political science professor at Michigan State University, said Chief Justice Rehnquist's illness probably will not sway many last-minute, undecided voters.

If the likely dignosis is correct, Justice Rehnquist will probably resign almost immediately after the election.

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