President Bush on Tuesday nominated John G. Roberts Jr. to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the United States Supreme Court.
Roberts, 50, a Buffalo, N.Y., native who grew up in Indiana and attended Harvard Law School, is seen as a solid conservative. He has served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit since June 2003, having been picked for that seat by the President.
On Wednesday, Bush said he hopes Roberts will be confirmed quickly: “I urge the Senate to rise to the occasion, provide a fair and civil process and to have Judge Roberts in place before the next court sessions begins on October the third,” he said.
Although Roberts doesn’t have national name recognition, he is a Washington insider who has worked at the White House, Justice Department and in private practice.
In the early 1980s, he was a Supreme Court clerk for Justice William Rehnquist, who was later named Chief Justice by President Ronald Reagan. As a lawyer, Roberts has argued 39 cases before the high court.
Growing up in Indiana, Roberts was the captain of his high school football team and worked summers in a steel mill to help pay for college. He and his wife, Jane, have two children, Jack, 4, and Josephine, 5.
Ever since O’Connor’s announcement on July 1 that she would step down as soon as a successor was approved, the President has made clear that he wanted to move swiftly so a new justice would be seated before the court convenes its fall term in October.
If approved, Roberts will be the court’s first new face in 11 years.
Earlier this week, first lady Laura Bush said she preferred that her husband appoint a woman to replace O’Connor, but added on Tuesday that Roberts is an excellent choice.
The only other woman currently on the court is Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was appointed by President Clinton.