Specter also said there had been some speculation that O'Connor might be willing to remain on the court if she has a chance to replace Rehnquist as chief justice.
"There had been a fair amount of talk about that possibility. And in her letter of resignation, she conditioned it on the confirmation of a successor. So there's some flexibility. Who knows? Some speculation is that she might reconsider if she were named chief justice," Specter said.
"I think it would be very tempting if the president said, 'Justice O`Connor, you could help the country now.' She has received so much adulation that a confirmation proceeding would be more like a coronation, and she might be willing to stay on for a year or so."
Why on earth would Bush want to do that? He's been itching to see her leave, one would think. The adulation you receive on retiring can't be taken seriously and understood as a wish to keep you around, as you would learn soon enough if, on hearing such praise, you offered to stay on. And what's with the "help the country" bit? As if we were in some special terrible period of instability. The fact is the stability on the Court has gone on far too long, and it's time for the political sphere to express itself with a new appointment.
UPDATE: I'm further amused, seeing that the NYT takes the zany suggestion seriously. The ideation around O'Connor these days is just goofy. Well, not really. It's grimly manipulative spinning -- as previously noted here and here.