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Supreme court: bush appoints largely unknown conservative

A shrewd move in light of the U.S "culture wars", which have now been allowed to be decided by the Supreme Court rather in favor of conservatives

With the nomination of conservative John G. Roberts to be Washington Supreme Court justice, top judge jerks U.S. Another step to the right. Because the opposition Democrats have little of substance against the new guy.

Yesterday, US President Bush, obviously pleased with his move, introduced the Supreme Court nominee, Justice John Roberts. Photo: Female house

The 50-year-old, known only to Washington insiders, whom Bush introduced on prime-time television Tuesday night, comes pretty close to Tom Hanks with his dapper side parting, warm voice, and facial expressions and gestures, and was thus allowed to warm many an American heart that has had its fill of Bushes, Cheneys, and Roves after all. "Humble" (was the adjective most often used by TV anchors and commentators on Tuesday night to describe the District of Columbia federal appeals court judge.

The less than 10-minute appearance of Bush and Roberts in the dining room of the White House was trimmed in the ductus of family, harmony and decency. Bush named Robert’s wife and children, and the soon-to-be chief justice also got to thank his parents for their support in front of millions of TV viewers.

Behind the finely calibrated public relations, which are intended not least as a distraction from the scandal surrounding Bush’s chief strategist Karl Rove (The Wizard of Bush) and are having their effect in the public media, the nomination conceals the latest attempt by the White House to anchor the conservative revolution institutionally with personnel decisions.

The Roberts nomination and the attention paid to it are not summer hole theater at all, but chess moves in the American "culture wars". For Supreme Court decisions extend to "big cases" such as religious liberty, police searches, and the rights of military recruiters at universities, to life-and-death issues: euthanasia, capital punishment, and abortion rights. Plus: the nine-judge panel has been split down the middle so far. Justice Sandra O’Connor, who resigned in early July and whose seat was vacated by John G. Roberts, who Bush wants to take over, has in many cases played the tongue in the balance.

She had not always voted with her more liberal colleagues. In the Florida payoff mess after the 2000 presidential election between Al Gore and George Bush, she had joined the right-wing rope-a-dope and helped Bush to the White House.

Now Roberts must be confirmed – or rejected – by the U.S. Senate. Hearings are expected to begin in late August or early September and last up to a week, so the Supreme Court can resume in October. Bush’s nominee is considered acceptable in the U.S. Political coordinate system in that in his short, two-year career as an appellate judge, he made clearly conservative decisions, but they were not "landmark decisions" of paramount national importance. Thus, Roberts is relatively unassailable, and a late-summer nomination battle that had been in store for one or another clearly ultraconservative is to be ruled out for the time being.

Women’s organizations close to the Democrats, such as the National Organization of Women, and supporters of the existing abortion law, such as NARAL, are on the one hand mobilizing their followers to petition and demonstrate against Roberts. Both organizations cite his legal opinion on abortion:

We continue to believe that Roe was wrongly decided and should be overruled. The Court’s conclusion in Roe that there is a fundamental right to an abortion…Finds no support in the text, structure, or history of the Constitution.

But Democratic politicians from the House of Representatives and the Senate are cautious and cautious about realpolitik. Beyond the one sentence, they have little in hand so far. What is worrying for some people is that they don’t really know where they stand with the man who will now help decide the direction of American society.

Roberts or not, his nomination and highly probable confirmation as a lifetime Supreme Court justice obscured another aspect that is currently receiving little attention. The 80-year-old chairman of the court, William Rehnquist, is suffering from thyroid cancer. By his own admission, he will not step down until his health requires it. Rehnquist is also a conservative. But that doesn’t mean Bush couldn’t replace him with an ultra-conservative.

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