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Bush to Nominate John G. Roberts


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WASHINGTON - President Bush has chosen federal appeals court judge John C. Roberts Jr. as his nominee to the Supreme Court, a senior administration official says.


Bush is to announce his choice to replace Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in a brief address to the nation Tuesday night. Bush's selection, to be announced with a flourish on prime-time television ? with the nominee by the president's side ? is expected to set off what may be a major struggle over the direction of the nation?s highest court.


Speculation swept through Washington for much of the day, continuing the guessing game that began after O'Connor resigned July 1. Tuesday afternoon, NBC News learned that Judge Edith Brown Clement is not the president's nominee. Clement, who serves on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, had emerged throughout the day Tuesday as something of a speculative front-runner.


White House press secretary Scott McClellan said the Bush administration was asking television outlets to broadcast the speech live when he speaks at 9 p.m. ET. Bush was expected to speak for 10 minutes but would take no questions, NBC News reported.


Traditionally, even major appointments are made in daytime ceremonies, but the White House decided to go all out for the first Supreme Court nomination since 1994. The big splash also might divert attention from Bush senior aide Karl Rove?s involvement in the CIA leak case that has caused Republicans to worry about Bush?s standing in opinion polls.


Predictions for Bush's first Supreme Court nomination had primarily focused on Clement and Edith Hollan Jones, who also serves on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. Government officials would not comment on the speculation.


If confirmed by the Senate, Bush's nominee would replace O?Connor, the first woman appointed to the court.


Names of potential nominees circulating in Washington were largely women and included: Maura Corrigan, a judge on the Michigan Supreme Court; Cecilia M. Altonaga, a U.S. District Court judge for the Southern District of Florida; Mary Ann Glendon, a Harvard Law School professor; Judge Karen Williams of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va.; Janice Rogers Brown, recently confirmed by the Senate for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit; and Priscilla Owen, who was just confirmed for a seat on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.


Bush said he had considered ?a variety of people, people from different walks of life.?


On Capitol Hill, it was anyone?s guess.


Senate Republican leaders said they had not been given the name by the White House. ?Presidents like to be the first to announce presidential appointments,? said Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., and the No. 2 Republican leader.


The tension was palpable in the West Wing of the White House; after a day of intense speculation, White House press secretary Scott McClellan walked into the press briefing room and said bluntly: ?The president has made a decision and will be announcing his nominee to the Supreme Court at 9 o?clock.? McClellan said the American people expected that the Senate confirmation process would be a dignified one.


Other possible candidates are conservative federal appellate court judges Samuel Alito, J. Michael Luttig, Michael McConnell, John Roberts Jr., Emilio Garza and J. Harvie Wilkinson III; and former deputy attorney general Admin Thompson.


Bush had said ever since O?Connor?s July 1 announcement that he wanted to move with some speed and that he wanted the new justice to be seated before the court begins its fall term in October.


The dynamic might have changed a bit when Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist last week put out word that he had no intention of stepping down and that he would continue on the court despite his battle with thyroid cancer. Nevertheless, with Congress nearing a summer recess and then a busy September, some time pressure was unavoidable.


Though Washington was rife with speculation about Clement, the president ignored a question about what he thought of her.


?I guess the best way to say it is, I?ll let you know when I?m ready to tell you who it is,? the president said. He jokingly acknowledged that he was trying to dodge the question.


?I?m comfortable with where we are in the process,? the president said. He said he has considered a variety of people from different walks of life, some of whom he knew before and some he had never met.


?I do have an obligation to think about people from different backgrounds that have shared the same philosophy, people who will not legislate from the bench,? Bush said. He spoke at a press conference with visiting Australian Prime Minister John Howard.


Advocacy groups on the left and the right already are gearing up for a fierce lobbying campaign in advertisements on television, radio, newspapers and the Internet. The battle is expected to cost tens of millions of dollars in spending by private groups.


Bush?s conservative backers were counting on him to select a candidate who would move the court toward the right on such issues as abortion and affirmative action. Democrats in the Senate were prepared to fight any nominee who might undermine past rulings on those and other sensitive subjects.


At Clement?s office in New Orleans, a man who identified himself as a law clerk said the judge was not available. ?That?s what I?ve been instructed to say,? he told a caller who asked if she were in Washington.


In anticipation of a selection, officials said the White House had contacted selected Republican senators they hoped would serve as advocates for the nominee in media interviews in the initial time following an announcement. Democrats scoured the rulings and writings of leading contenders, including Clement, a 57-year-old jurist who was confirmed on a 99-0 vote by the Senate when she was elevated to the appeals court in 2001.

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Media circus awaiting? Here are some screen caps of the networks...
















All seem to be covering the speech and the candidate so far with an eye towards the positive and not the negative. The news banners on the lower third of the screen all are quite simple. More to come as the pundits get to talk.

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My sense is that he is a company man. He has been a guy whose career has been more or less conservative throughout. There is certainly nothing wrong with that per se. He definitley isnt going to be a moderate and will probably bolster the conservative wing. I think he will be a Rhenquist type. He isnt going to be a nut like Scalia and Thomas.


Here is a thing about him from law.com.




The french fry case is the most disturbing thing though.

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I agree with what Harry Reid said the other day to liberal interest groups, which was basically, "Hold your horses for awhile".


Right now, I can't see a reason for the Democrats to filibuster this guy, unless something comes up in the Senate Confirmation Hearings that wasn't previously known.


Apparently a lot of people, especially women, want Roberts to publicly state his position on abortion, since he hasn't in the past (besides the time where he wrote an opinion about Roe vs. Wade which he was required to oppose, since he was working for Reagan).

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