In one of the most significant announcements of his presidency, George W. Bush has chosen conservative appeals court judge John Roberts as his first nominee to the US Supreme Court.
“The decisions of the Supreme Court affect the lives of every American and so a nominee to that court must be a person of superb credentials and the highest integrity, a person who will faithfully uphold and keep our founding promise of equal justice under law,” he said.
“I have found such a person in Judge John Roberts.”
Roberts was a former clerk to Chief Justice William Rehnquist and worked in the Reagan justice department. He was also deputy solicitor general in George Bush Senior’s administration.
He joined the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia just two years ago.
He is seen as a staunch conservative on social issues such as abortion and free speech and may face a tough confirmation hearing in the Senate.
The nine-seat Supreme Court is one of the most important institutions in the US, with an influence on politically and socially volatile issues.
The vacancy was created by the retirement of Judge Sandra Day O’Connor.
Justices are named for life so Bush’s nomination gives him the chance to extend his conservative agenda well past the end of his presidency.