20 July 2005 -- U.S. President George W. Bush has picked a conservative judge to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court.
Speaking at the White House early today, Bush nominated John Roberts, a 50-year-old appeals court judge, to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
"The decisions of the Supreme Court affect the life 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 apply our constitution and keep our founding promise of equal justice under law. I have found such a person in Judge John Roberts," Bush said.
The nomination must be voted on by the Senate, where opposition Democrats may oppose Roberts. Those confirmation hearings are expected to start in September.
The nine-seat Supreme Court is one of the most important institutions in the United States, with an influence on politically and socially volatile issues like abortion.
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has long been a swing vote on a court divided narrowly on issues such as abortion, states' rights, and the death penalty.