This past week, Chief Justice of the United States William Rehnquist was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Even if Rehnquist, who is 80, will be able to recover, it is widely believed that the justice will retire during the next presidential term. With eight justices of the nine-member Supreme Court at least 65 years of age, many scholars believe the next president may have the opportunity to appoint several members to the court. Senator John Kerry is the candidate who will nominate higher-quality justices, who will enrich the American common law tradition. “Activist liberal judges” is the term President George W. Bush has used for judges, such as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California, which opined that reciting “under G-d” in the Pledge of Allegiance is odious to the Constitution. The president is hypocritical – two years ago, he argued that each state should have the right to define marriage. However, when one state declared that its own constitution afforded lesbians and gays the right to marry, Bush declared that a constitutional amendment was necessary to protect the institution of marriage between a man and a woman. This sends a clear message – he wants to appoint judges from the right. Make no mistake about it – Bush will have a litmus test for his appointees. They will be expected to overturn Roe v. Wade, reconsider affirmative action and adjudicate morality. These justices cannot be expected to measure up to the conservative judges on the court today. Despite their difference, the current crop of conservative judges respect the constitution and our culture of liberty. They go to pains to interpret what it means to have a secular society and struggle with keeping their majoritarian values from tainting the law. And yet Bush does not really care to acknowledge their contribution – deriding their propensity to consider multiple sides and reach consensus with the more liberal justices. Bush holds Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas up as model judges. This fact alone should warn people that Bush isn’t fit to make any appointments to the Supreme Court. Thomas, for one, would have no idea how to interpret the Constitution if Scalia were not there to do it for him. During the presidential debates, Kerry rightly stated that a good judge is one whose opinions cannot be recognized as conservative or liberal. A good justice is adept at interpreting the law – nothing more. I sincerely hope that Kerry wins this year’s election and nominates judges who will add much to the courts as scholars, not as life-tenured politicians.Tipton can be reached at

Yellowjackets’ Winter Roundup

In the next few weeks, our athletic teams will take field, let’s examine how the Yellowjackets fared towards the end of the winter season. 

2022 Kafka Prize winner visits UR campus for reading and Q&A

From their black Doc Marten boots and the rings on every finger, I thought that Bea was going to be cool and hip, and I was totally right!

Graduate Student Collective voices financial grievances in town hall

On Tuesday Feb. 21, over 50 graduate students from across the University filled the Humanities Center for a town hall…