President Bush announced today his nomination of John Roberts as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, in place of William Rehnquist, who died on Saturday.
Roberts was initially nominated as associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, to replace Sandra Day O’Connor, who had resigned for family reasons.
The President said “I chose Judge Roberts from among the most distinguished jurists and attorneys in the country because he possesses the intellect, experience and temperament to be an outstanding member of our nation’s Highest Court.”
Over the past two months, the Senate and the American people have learned about the career and character of Judge Roberts. Bush said of Roberts, “He’s a man of integrity and fairness. And throughout his life, he has inspired the respect and loyalty of others. John Roberts has built a record of excellence and achievement, and a reputation for goodwill and decency toward others.”
“Judge Roberts has earned the nation’s confidence and I’m pleased to announce that I will nominate him to serve as the 17th chief justice of the Supreme Court.”
The President is keen to fill the vacancy prior to the first full day of the fall term, four weeks from now. The Senate is already partway through the process of considering Judge Roberts’ qualifications.
It is possible the Senate can complete hearings and confirm Roberts as chief justice within a month.
President Bush will now submit a new nominee to follow Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, in a timely manner.
Speaking of Roberts’ early work, the President said “Twenty-five years ago, John Roberts came to Washington as a clerk to Justice William Rehnquist. In his boss, the young law clerk found a role model, a professional mentor, and a friend for life. I’m certain that Chief Justice Rehnquist was hoping to welcome John Roberts as a colleague, and we’re all sorry that day didn’t come. Yet it’s fitting that a great chief justice be followed in office by a person who shared his deep reverence for the Constitution, his profound respect for the Supreme Court, and his complete devotion to the cause of justice.”
Roberts thanked the President, saying he was honored and humbled by the confidence that the President had in him.
“I’m very much aware that if I am confirmed, I would succeed a man I deeply respect and admire, a man who has been very kind to me for 25 years,” Roberts said.