Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

No Chief Justice Scalia


I’ve been surprised that some folks seem to think that Justice Scalia might be the least bit disappointed at not being named Chief Justice. Although I claim no inside knowledge, it seems to me highly implausible that Scalia would have had any particular interest in being Chief Justice. As a matter of duty, he would have accepted the position if asked, but he would not have welcomed the administrative and other burdens that being Chief entails (not to mention the bother of another confirmation hearing). The idea that Scalia has been engaging in some sort of “charm offensive” to position himself to be named Chief is simply silly.

Those who are regretful on Scalia’s behalf should also have in mind that, as a matter of crude life-expectancy statistics, Roberts can be expected to serve as Chief for about two decades longer than Scalia could have (since he is nearly two decades younger).


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