The subtleness of a court retirement

    The law operates with bright-line rules but also with balancing tests and concerns over image. The appearance of impropriety. The appearance of corruption. And so it is with lawyers, starting at the top.

    Competing concerns must be weighed -- personal health, institutional interests, legacy, longevity. And so, too, must appearances -- of undue politicization of an entity supposedly above politics, of gaming the system for ideological ends.

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