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Bush nominates Roberts for Supreme Court

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well here it is, the nomination. 99 to 0, an unanimous vote.


Bush nominates Roberts for Supreme Court

Appeals court judge would replace retiring O'Connor

Programming Note: President Bush announces his choice for the Supreme Court, CNN, 9 p.m. ET.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush will select U.S. Circuit Judge John Roberts Jr. to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the nation's highest court, CNN has learned.

Two sources, including a Senate Judiciary Committee source, said Roberts will be Bush's choice when the president makes a formal announcement in a nationwide address at 9 p.m. ET.

Roberts, 50, who serves on U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, took the bench in 2003 after his confirmation was held up for months by Senate Democrats.

A 1979 graduate of Harvard's Law School, he clerked in 1980 and 1981 for Justice William Rehnquist before he was elevated to chief justice.

He then served in the Reagan administration, first as a special assistant to Attorney General William French Smith and then as an associate White House counsel.

He later worked at Hogan & Hartson law firm and from 1989 to 1993 was deputy solicitor general during the administration of the first President Bush.

Roberts has argued 33 cases before the high court. He is considered by some a brilliant appellate lawyer who has impressed many in his work so far as a judge.

Two prominent liberal advocacy groups -- NARAL Pro-Choice America and the Alliance for Justice -- opposed Roberts' nomination because of the positions he argued as an advocate for the Reagan and first Bush administrations.

NARAL alleged that Roberts had actively worked to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that struck down state laws outlawing abortion.

The Alliance for Justice criticized Roberts for his arguments against the use of racial considerations by the public sector, known by its supporters as affirmative action.

O'Connor, 75, was the first woman appointed as a Supreme Court justice, and has served on the court since 1981.

Her replacement must be confirmed by the Senate, and senators have braced for a battle since she announced her retirement July 1.

Speculation about a replacement focused much of Tuesday on another woman: Edith Clement, a judge on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in New Orleans, Louisiana. One source said she was one of the finalists and confirmed she had met with Bush this past weekend.

Other names that had been mentioned as possible candidates include Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Bush's former legal adviser; federal appellate judges J. Michael Luttig and James Harvie Wilkinson, both of whom serve on the Richmond, Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; and another judge from the 5th Circuit, Emilio Garza.

This is the first Supreme Court vacancy since 1994, when President Clinton nominated Stephen Breyer. President Reagan appointed O'Connor, who took her seat as associate justice on September 25, 1981.

On Saturday, Bush said in his weekly radio address that he wanted the confirmation process to be nonpartisan.

"The nominee deserves fair treatment, a fair hearing and a fair vote. I will make my nomination in a timely manner so the nominee can be confirmed before the start of the court's new term in October," he said in his weekly radio address.

The president said he has been working with senators on the nomination process.

Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney met July 12 with four senators with key roles in the confirmation process: Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tennessee; Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada; Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the Republican chairman of the Judiciary Committee; and the committee's ranking Democrat, Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont.

The senators said afterward that potential nominees were discussed, although Bush did not offer any names. They did commit to having O'Connor's replacement in place by the start of the court's new term in October.

Bush also met separately with Specter at the White House Monday evening. The senator would not divulge what was discussed.

Specter indicated on "Fox News Sunday" that he favored someone like O'Connor, who was often a swing vote on the court.

Bush, he said, should be able to stand "above the fray" and make an appointment that would be "in the national interest" -- not because he was "beholden to any group, no matter how much they contributed to his election."

"When you have these delicate questions, it's helpful to the country to have somebody who is a swing vote, which maintains the balance," Specter said.

The nominee is expected to meet with members of the Judiciary Committee next week before Congress takes a month off.

The Senate is scheduled to take a recess from August 1 through September 5, meaning confirmation hearings likely will begin after Labor Day.

Reid said before Roberts' nomination that hearings might last a "good long week" if the nominee is not controversial.

O'Connor remains at work; her retirement is effective when her successor is sworn in.

There had been speculation that Bush might have at least one more opening to fill on the court.

Rehnquist announced Thursday that he has no plans to step down and will continue to serve as long as he can.

"I want to put to rest the speculation and unfounded rumors of my imminent retirement," Rehnquist said in a statement released through his family. "I am not about to announce my retirement. I will continue to perform my duties as chief justice as long as my health permits."

The 80-year-old has been battling thyroid cancer since October and underwent a tracheotomy as part of his treatment. He endured weeks of chemotherapy and radiation.



hmmm..pretty young.

Edited by Dancing_Dumplings

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Bush nominates Roberts for Supreme Court, "he has a good heart"

I guess this is to make up for who Bush chose as his VP. rolleyes.gif

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