Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Bush's big gamble
With Judge William H. Rehnquist's recent passing, the space at the head of the US legal system, the chief justice, has opened up, and President George W Bush is laying all his cards on the line in nominating Judge John G. Roberts Jr. for the post. Judge John G. Roberts Jr. was his nomination for replacement of the Supreme Court seat.

Chief Justice's are often replaced from outside of the Supreme Court bench, but Bush knows that he will be in for a major fight on Roberts in the Senate. This move falls under the "legacy" ambit of Bush's presidency. A Chief Justice will serve out his entire life, and it is any President's great wish to be able to leave a legacy of a Chief Justice that will be able to shape US law in the same eyes as the President himself. With Roberts being a mere 50 years of age, that means that the Republicans will have 25-30 years of a Chief Justice that carries their legal ideology.

Bush can expect a huge fight to nominate Roberts. He is a strong conservative (albeit there are more extreme versions on the Supreme Court bench) and the Democrats will spare no favours to Bush on his nomination, especially given that Bush is politically vulnerable at present under the poor response to Hurricane Katrina.