ABC has a huge excerpt
of Jan Crawford Greenburg's new book on the Supreme Court, Supreme Conflict
. Here's a portion about Chief Justice Rehnquist's expected last day on the bench...
Rehnquist announced his opinion in the Texas case, and he struggled to provide even the briefest of summaries. Unable to eat because of his cancer, he'd become thin and stooped, and his skin appeared gray. His trademark booming baritone, which had silenced many a lawyer, sometimes in midsyllable, was gone. His voice now was weak and reedy from the tracheostomy. Rehnquist ticked off the names of the six other justices who'd also written opinions in that Ten Commandments case.
"I didn't know we had that many people on our Court," Rehnquist said slowly, his breathing labored. Then he smiled as he looked to the justices on his left and right, and the courtroom exploded in laughter. Rehnquist thanked the Court's staff for its work over the term. The audience grew completely still. The other justices peered intently at Rehnquist. This would be the time for the announcement. Rehnquist seemed to pause briefly. Then he banged down the gavel and carefully rose from his seat.
The other justices, looking confused, slowly began to follow. Only O'Connor seemed to have a sense of purpose. She turned and stepped beside her old chief, ready to help him if he needed her arm. Then the old chief shuffled back to his chambers, leaving all of Washington to wonder and wait.
I'm really looking forward to reading this book.