President Bush nominated John G. Roberts on Monday for the position of the 17th chief justice for the United States, which put Roberts in a position that will be further scrutinized and gives Bush another seat to fill on the Supreme Court.
The Senate Judiciary was postponed on Tuesday and will resume on Monday in light of Hurricane Katrina's devastating storms and the recent death of Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, which allowed Bush the chance to elevate Robert's nomination to chief justice rather than Sandra Day O'Connor's chair.
However, as Bush changes Roberts nomination to chief justice, he faces the dilemma of finding a successor for O'Connor’s seat, which played a more consequential position since she was the court's swing vote on issues such as affirmative action, abortion, and the death penalty.
A recent Gallup Poll reveals that a majority of Americans are interested in knowing about Robert's stance on controversial issues such as abortion, and that 55% of the public wants to hear his judicial views rather than him limiting his response to the general judicial philosophy.
Bush, meanwhile, emphasized the importance of appointing a chief justice before Oct 3.
"The Senate is well along in the process of considering Judge Robert's qualifications. They know his record and his fidelity to the law," the President said and, "I'm confident that the Senate can complete hearings and confirm him as chief justice within a month."
His aides said on Monday that Bush initially wanted to appoint Roberts to the chief justice chair, but Rehnquist announced that he would not resign even through his illness, and aides said that Bush had every intention to nominate Roberts to chief justice when it opened.
Roberts, who was a clerk for William Rehnquist said after Bush nominated him for chief justice, "I'm very much aware that if I am confirmed, I would succeed a man I deeply respect and admire, a man who has been very kind to me for 25 years."
Some are saying that if Roberts is appointed in Rehnquist's chief justice chair, nothing will change because of their stance on the issues of abortion and so forth.
If Roberts is chosen to replace Rehnquist, he will be the youngest chief justice since John Marshall who was appointed in 1801, giving him potentially many years to shape the future of the Supreme Court.