The passing of Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist over the weekend has left another vacancy to be filled in the nation's highest court. In the wake of Rehnquist's death, President Bush has decided to nominate former U.S. Circuit Judge John Roberts to fill the vacated chief justice seat.
The president previously chose Roberts as a replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
Democrats' worst nightmare as well as Republicans' ultimate fantasy is now being played out. Bush now not only has the chance to fill two vacancies within the court, but also to set its direction and leading voice for decades to come.
Bush and his supporters are pushing to have the confirmation process for Roberts completed by the time the court reconvenes late next month. Regardless of the president's wishes however, due diligence must be taken by the members of Congress before the nomination is confirmed.
Roberts has already received support from both sides of the aisle, and his nomination as an associate justice appeared to be simply a formality as of last week. The added responsibilities and influence of the Chief Justice position, however, puts the confirmation in a new light. Roberts must be candid in expressing all of the views and questions presented to him. Because he has only been a judge since 2003, Roberts must give clarity as to how he would run and manage the court.
It is imperative that Americans receive a complete picture of the man who could potentially decide on the issues of abortion, gun control, gay marriage and medicinal marijuana in the years to come.