Senate Confirms New Chief Justice

By: Summer Knowles
By: Summer Knowles

September 29, 2005

John Glover Roberts, Jr. was sworn in today after the Senate confirmed him to succeed the late William Rehnquist as head of the Supreme Court.

"The nomination of John G. Roberts Jr. of Maryland to be chief justice of the United States is confirmed," announced a member of the Senate.

It came as no surprise. Senators voted 78-22 to confirm Judge John Roberts as the 17th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

"It's pretty typical of what you'd expect of a candidate who was well received by most members of the Senate," said Matt Smyth, Spokesperson for the UVa Center for Politics.

"The confirmation of John Roberts was not a surprise at all to anyone I don't think anywhere who paid attention to what was going on with the hearings," said Sean O'Brien, the Executive Director of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership.

There wasn't much suspense, but there was definitely debate, some saying Roberts was not convincing enough, others calling him a very qualified, fair minded man.

Experts say it's hard to tell what type of Chief Justice Roberts will be.

"Once the justices get on a court, they do all sorts of different things because they come to new understandings, they realize they're making their mark on history, and so he may make very different decisions as a Supreme Court Justice than what he did when he was writing memos for George Bush or Ronald Reagan," said O'Brien.

"We hope and we pray that he will not be an ideological-type justice who legislates from the bench," said Senator Chuck Schumer (D) of New York.

While everyone speculates his future, Roberts said he's just ready to begin. "Tomorrow I will go into the Supreme Court building to join my colleagues at the home of the judicial branch to undertake my duties," he explained.

President Bush is expected to name a replacement for retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor within days, but the confirmation process for whoever is named is expected to be a lot more contentious.

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