by Steven Ertelt
September 5, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Wasting little time after the passing of Chief Justice William Rehnquist, President Bush on Monday nominated appeals court judge John Roberts to be the 17th chief justice of the Supreme Court. The nomination would move Roberts up from a potential associate justice position.
With the next Supreme Court term just a month away, President Bush said a sense of urgency compelled him to act quickly. He said the Senate has poured over Roberts’ record and qualifications for the Supreme Court and likes what it sees.
"For the past two months members of the United States Senate and the American people have learned about the career and character of Judge Roberts. They like what they see," he explained.
"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," Bush said Monday at the White House.
President Bush said the court needed a leader as it heads towards its next term.
"It’s in the interests of the court and the country to have a chief justice on the bench on the first full day of the fall term," Bush said at the nomination press conference.
Pro-life groups will be closely watching the next Supreme Court term as justices will consider their first abortion case in five years. They will have to decide whether to uphold or overturn a parental involvement law on abortion in New Hampshire and will also decide whether or not the federal government can restrict certain drugs from being used in assisted suicides in Oregon.
One pro-life advocate said he was disappointed President Bush didn’t nominate either Justice Clarence Thomas or Antonin Scalia to replace Rehnquist.
"President Bush has often stated the two Supreme Justices he admired most where Justice Thomas and Scalia," Christian Defense Coalition director Rev. Patrick Mahoney said. "Therefore, it is very troubling that he would pass over them for Judge Roberts."
Meanwhile, abortion advocates said the elevation of Roberts’ nomination from an associate justice to the chief justice position should increase the scrutiny he receives in Senate hearings, scheduled for this week.
"This nomination certainly raises the stakes in making sure that the American people and the Senate know Judge Roberts’ views fully before he assumes perhaps the second most powerful position in the United States," Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told Bloomberg News.
President Bush had initially chosen Roberts to replace retiring pro-abortion Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. He indicated he would soon nominate someone else to replace her.
The next Supreme Court term begins October 3rd.