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Rehnquist illness means Supreme Court vacancy could come sooner than expected
Wednesday,October27,2004,8:25 PM
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SUPREME COURT Speculation abounds over the first possible Supreme Court vacancy in ten years, with analysts already batting around names of possible replacements.

Chief Justice William Rehnquist's hospitalization for thyroid cancer has court watchers wondering who may be next to join the court and how the presidential election could affect its make-up.

Analysts say if Rehnquist steps down, a Bush win could guarantee the court's current conservative bent. They say a G-O-P-controlled Senate would further push the high court to the right.

However, they say a win by John Kerry could shift the court's balance more toward the center.

The White House is staying clear of the guessing game. A spokeswoman says, "There are no vacancies on the court and we're not going to speculate."

Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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