No news on Rehnquist -- yet

A day of waiting ends with more waiting. Will the chief justice announce his retirement Monday?

Published July 8, 2005 10:37PM (EDT)

Matt Drudge has shut down the flashing red light that heralds his biggest breaking news: Maybe William Rehnquist isn't going to announce his retirement this evening after all. Drudge is still reporting that Bob Novak predicted today that an announcement would come tonight, but he also adds that "other reports" suggest that further word might not come until Monday. The indispensable SCOTUSblog says that the White House has told the press corps that there will be no more news today.

Throughout the day today, Washington has been abuzz with Supreme Court speculation. According to an Associated Press report on the news that wasn't, Supreme Court reporters spent the day chasing down rumors that this justice or that would be the next to depart. At one point, there was word that the 85-year-old John Paul Stevens was on his way out. Then came a report that the retirement of Ruth Bader Ginsburg was imminent. Neither justice resigned today, of course, and their retirements aren't likely anytime soon. Both would surely prefer to be replaced by a Democratic president, and both have hired law clerks for future terms.

While it's possible that Rehnquist could still make an announcement tonight -- William Brennan issued a statement on his retirement at 7:40 p.m. on a Friday night -- it seems more likely that the news will come, if it comes, next week. Rehnquist is keeping his own counsel. When reporters camped out in front of his house asked him this morning whether he'd be retiring today, the chief justice said: "That's for me to know and you to find out."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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