Chief Justice Rehnquist Delays Return to Supreme Court

Chief Justice William Rehnquist, battling thyroid cancer, may be more ill than previous reports suggested. He has announced he is undergoing chemotherapy and radiation and is delaying his return to the Supreme Court.

We wish Justice Rehnquist a complete and speedy recovery. This is the toughest battle he will ever face.

We also remind everyone of the enormous impact this election will have on the makeup of our Supreme Court. The next president will have the chance to appoint between one and four new Justices who, depending on their age, could serve for up to 40 years.

If abortion rights matter to you, if you want judges who are not right-wing ideologues and activists who will impose their view of the Constitution on the rest of us, vote for John Kerry. Here's how a writer in the New York Times recently described a Supreme Court dominated by Bush appointees:

Abortion might be a crime in most states. Gay people could be thrown in prison for having sex in their homes. States might be free to become mini-theocracies, endorsing Christianity and using tax money to help spread the gospel. The Constitution might no longer protect inmates from being brutalized by prison guards. Family and medical leave and environmental protections could disappear.

Among the issues the Supreme Court will face in the coming years:

abortion rights, privacy issues.... the treatment of suspected terrorists and standards for quotas and affirmative action.... states' rights and restrictions on federal power, environmental laws, civil rights, separation of church and state, immigration, whether to declare same-sex marriage a right and rules surrounding arrests, search and seizure.

John Kerry's view of judicial appointments (same link):

Kerry also said he believes judicial nominations "should not be occasions to advance partisan agendas but opportunities to advance justice."

Such things as expansion of rights and opportunities for women in the workplace, assurances of equal pay and improvements to the Family and Medical Leave Act can be achieved "through the appointments that are made to important legal positions and the actions we take," Kerry said. And "we must ensure that the right to choose is never abridged, never weakened, never taken away," Kerry added.

Protect our Court. Make sure you vote.

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