Rehnquist Era Ends, Future of Supreme Court Hangs in Balance

Media 09.4,05

“We extend our deepest condolences to the family of William Rehnquist.

Chief Justice Rehnquist in his 33-year career on the U.S. Supreme Court served with honor and distinction. Although we often disagreed with his opinions, he cared deeply for the independence of the judiciary in America’s democracy.

At a time of rising divisions and great tragedy brought by Katrina, our nation is at a critical juncture. The President now must fill a second vacancy on the Court that could radically shift the delicate balance of our nation’s highest court.

This is both an opportunity and great challenge. The president can unite the country behind a nominee who will protect our established rights and freedoms or he can perpetuate a growing division.

Nothing less than our individual rights, liberties and freedoms are at stake. The Supreme Court plays a central role in protecting those who need protection the most, those whose rights and freedoms are often ignored or trampled upon.

The next chief justice of the Supreme Court must not only preserve its independence but must be someone whose first priority is defending the rights, freedoms and legal safeguards of all Americans.”