Hail to the Chief: RIP

Although he was too much a legal postivist (albeit a Conservative one) for my tastes, I hail Chief Justice Rehnquist as an heroic public servant. His friends have said his heart wasn't really in his work since his wife's death several years ago, but he plugged along until the end for the sake of not leaving the Union utterly in the hands of John Paul Stevens and his ilk, bless 'im. Mumble a few beads for him, definitely.
Here are the WaPo and WaTi stories. Plus the Prez's statement.
After a decent interval to pray "Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord. . ." I have to admit my next thought was what effect this will have on The Court. I have to think the timing doesn't help. Since O'Conner has promised to stay on until her replacement is confirmed, Reid & Schumer now have no incentive whatever to rush the Roberts nomination; they'll want to wait until they see who the new Chief is going to be and try to negotiate accordingly (indeed, in this account of Bush's statement last night, we see the Dems are already calling for a "time out.") Therefore, if I were Bush, I'd nominate Justice Ginsberg as Chief. The role is largely ceremonial so we lose nothing by it, it would leave the Dems with no room to call for "balance," and it would give us our necessary third vacancy to begin to alter the actual compostition of the Court. And it doesn't hurt to be the guy who nominated our first woman Chief Justice, she adds cynically.
The scuttlebutt around the APSA (American Political Science Association) convention this weekend is that the Schumers and Leahys of the Senate are opposing Roberts even when there's nothing to oppose because they want to establish him as the Right-most candidate they will accept, in hopes of neutralizing the chances of the two Ediths of ever getting on the Court. Scuttlebutt also says Justice Ginsberg may be sick again, but we shall see.