Daily Briefing -- Rehnquist: 'We're All Extremists'
• Fellow justices surprised by timing of Rehnquist's death. O'Connor: "I asked him, and he told me he really wanted to go another year and thought he'd be O.K. . . He was wonderful. He had a light touch. He never held a grudge." [NYT]
• Brownstein: "[W]ith Bush's sagging poll numbers and the turbulent aftermath of Hurricane Katrina threatening to disrupt much of his legislative agenda, the debates over Roberts and Rehnquist's successor could offer the president his best chance to energize his core supporters and generate victories on Capitol Hill." [LAT]
• Bush's options lead to a conservative court. Historian Robert Dallek: "These crises are such a heavy burden, and they are so self-inflicted, except for the court vacancies, that if he is not very careful and tries to put across someone who is seen as an ultraconservative, he is going to touch off a conflagration in the Senate." [WP, NYT, USAT]
• Stevens: "He was a good friend, maintaining his sense of humor and proportion throughout the difficult period that marked his most recent service." [WP]
• Religion will get attention at Roberts' hearings. [WP]
• Profiles of possible Supreme Court nominees. [WP]
• Social conservative leaders privately reiterate concerns about Gonzales' moderate positions. [WP]