Monday, September 05, 2005

Roberts for Chief Justice

The President announced this morning that he would nominate Judge Roberts for Chief Justice, with confirmation hearings to begin after Chief Justice Rehnquist's funeral. This seems like the obvious choice--there is no coherent opposition to his nomination to the Court so far and this move spares the President a third confirmation hearing. Having newly secured Justice O'Connor's willingness to stay on until a second nominee is confirmed, I don't think much about Roberts' confirmation hearings will be controversial.

Perhaps that is not so with the second nominee, yet to be named. Pressure will intensify to nominate a woman, now that this vacancy is more specifically associated with O'Connor. I think attention will turn to Edith Hollan Jones, Edith Brown Clement, and Priscilla Owen.

With the new position associated with O'Connor, and the now more evident association of Roberts with his mentor, the very conservative Rehnquist, there may be some abatement in the pressure for the President to appoint someone who appeals specifically to the right-wing of his party.

This narrows the field quite quickly to Clement. She's been confirmed for two prior positions by the Senate, each time 99-0. She's known for being conservative, but the issue of abortion--the real lightning rod in confirmations--does not seem to appear among her most controversial opinions. And, not to be overlooked, she has a strong connection to Louisiana, first at Tulane Law School, but more importantly, in her two Senate-confirmed Judgeships.

I would be very surprised if someone else were nominated.


elhuevon said...

It's always a fool's bet to put your money on any one person to be a SC nominee. John Roberts was a surprise as recently as the morning of his announcement and he is likely to be our next Chief Justice.

Give me the field and I'll take any even-money wager up to my net worth against Clement!

dearieme said...

Is there a Constitutional requirement that justices be American citizens? Or even natural born Americans?