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The nominee is John Roberts

Last night, President Bush nominated D.C. Circuit Judge John Roberts for Sandra Day O'Connor's seat on the Supreme Court. Though Roberts was first nominated for the D.C. Circuit in 1992, he was not confirmed until he was nominated a third time in 2003, when he was voted in by unanimous consent after being approved by the Judiciary Committee by a 16-3 vote. I've uploaded his 2001 responses to a Senate questionnaire at the Liability Project website. Roberts is a well-respected appellate litigator, considered by some to be the best Supreme Court oral advocate of the last fifteen years. He won 25 of his 39 Supreme Court cases.

His short time on the bench hasn't left much of a paper trail. But it's promising that, when he was in private practice, Roberts was a Legal Advisory Board Member of the National Legal Center for the Public Interest, an organization sympathetic to liability reform. If confirmed, Roberts would join Justice Stevens as the only justices with experience litigating on behalf of businesses, and would be a leading contender to replace Justice Rehnquist as Chief Justice. The Rehnquist Court, which only grants certiorari to about eighty cases a year, half that of its predecessor, has tended to avoid critical questions in issues such as antitrust, securities law, class actions, and civil procedure; the addition of a former corporate litigator can only improve that record.

The definitive story on Roberts is probably Tony Mauro's February 22 Legal Times piece.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.