William Rehnquist's High Noon

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WASHINGTON: William Rehnquist, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and Justice-on-call for the D.C. area during the high court's vacation, has until noon Friday to keep the service secret -- for at least a little while longer. Rehnquist has two choices: block the testimony and take the case when the high court returns to work in October, or take a pass -- meaning Special Agent Larry Cockell could be headed back to the stand as early as Tuesday. Place your bets, folks. It's a tough one to call.

Report "Rehnquist is going to feel torn on this one," says TIME legal correspondent Adam Cohen. The high court -- as well as the American people -- traditionally have a great deal of respect for the presidency, and prefer that its protectors be the sort that hears everything and says nothing. But Cohen thinks the legal, rather than political issues, will win the day. "The Secret Service hasn't won on this yet," he points out. "And besides being a Republican, he's spoken out often and strongly against any delay of justice." If he pushes off the case to October, he risks looking like just another White House foot-dragger. And that is a role Rehnquist may be unwilling to play.