After days and days of rumors to the contrary, the chief justice of the United States let it be known that he has no intention of stepping down from his lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.
The family of William Rehnquist (search) released a brief statement Thursday night, just hours after the chief returned from a two-day visit to the hospital where he was treated for a fever.
Last week Rehnquist taunted the press when they shouted questions about his retirement. "That's for me to know and you to find out," he replied before ducking into his stretch limo. I suspect the chief, who is known to relish his privacy, was sick and tired of the continual presence of reporters and satellite trucks outside his home and decided enough was enough.
I was personally surprised when I heard about the announcement. A lot of people in Washington seemed very certain it was not a question of if he would retire, but when. Well, either they were flat wrong, or the chief justice of the United States changed his mind.
A few years ago I had the opportunity, the honor really, to spend a few hours in a social setting with Chief Justice Rehnquist. Conversations were off-the-record and I will not share the details of the rather innocuous things that came up in the course of two hours, but I walked away with favorable impression of the man.
This was before 9/11, when security was not so omnipresent. I was impressed that he arrived without a security detail, driving a Subaru station wagon and wearing a plaid shirt. He knew I was a reporter, so he was probably a bit more guarded that might otherwise be. Still, the chief exhibited a dry and ornery sense of humor and a very sharp mind that bristled with odd and interesting facts. It was a very pleasant evening.
The future of the Supreme Court (search) will be one of the topics we explore on the Sunday edition of “Weekend Live.”
Of all the regular segments we do on the broadcast, I think I personally enjoy Kendall's Court the most. FOX reporter Megyn Kendall is a former DC lawyer, who has moved into the world of reporting with ease and grace I have seldom witnessed. She teams up with Lis Wiehl and Jonna Spilbor (search) to dissect some of the more interesting legal issues of the day. It is always compelling and sometimes downright hilarious. I just hand over the show over to the three of them — and sit back and chuckle.
I think one of the hallmarks of our Sunday broadcast is that we sometimes throw in some things that no one expects. I believe in covering the news first and thoroughly, but if you have a little time left over — why not have some fun? One of the fun things that we have scheduled this Sunday is a visit from guitarist Johnny Hiland (search).
I am an amateur guitarist, so maybe I enjoy this a bit more than most folks. That said, I must say I have never seen anything like this guy. He is simply the fastest, most versatile guitarist I have ever witnessed — period. This guy doesn't just play... he dominates the instrument.
Johnny also has an interesting story to tell. He has an eye condition that renders him legally blind. At 16, when he was told that he would never drive a car (a tragic thing for a 16-year-old to learn) he found solace in his guitar and amplifier. He practiced day in and day out — and became amazingly proficient.
Today, he lives in Nashville, where he is a highly sought studio guitarist. You can hear his work on Toby Keith's (search) new CD, for example. When not in the studio, he is out playing somewhere. On Sunday, barring breaking news, he will play a song from his CD that is guaranteed to blow the roof off the house that Hume built. Joining us will be guitar mogul, Paul Reed Smith (search) who recently signed Johnny to endorse his line of instruments. Don't miss it.
See you then.
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Brian Wilson is a congressional correspondent for FOX News and anchor of the Sunday edition of "Weekend Live."