Thursday, September 29


An so it is done. John Roberts will be sworn in as Chief Justice at 3:00pm EDT today at the White House, as a result of a favorable 78-22 confirmation vote in the United States Senate.

As the "Washington Post" (registration required) reports (excerpts follow):

Justice John Paul Stevens, the senior associate justice who has been performing the chief justice's duties since Rehnquist died, will swear in Roberts at 3 p.m. today at the White House. Roberts will participate on Monday -- the first Monday in October -- in a Supreme Court investiture ceremony as the justices begin their new term.

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told reporters after the confirmation, "I believe that there's a very decisive bipartisan flavor to this vote. Judge Roberts -- soon to be Chief Justice Roberts -- got half of the Democrats and Senator Jeffords," an independent. "And to come away with 78 votes, considering where the Senate was in such contentious straits earlier this year, I think is really remarkable."

Roberts, 50, will be the youngest person in the exalted position of chief justice since John Marshall, an appointee of President John Adams. Marshall took office in 1801 at the age of 46.

Roberts, who also becomes the official head of the federal judiciary itself, is 17th in a line that includes such historic figures as John Jay, Marshall, Roger Brooke Taney, Charles Evans Hughes, Harlan Fiske Stone and Earl Warren.

Here's how the confirmation vote unfolded.

Democrats voting against President Bush's nominee were the "usual suspects," Hillary Rodham Clinton among them:

Akaka, Hawaii; Bayh, Ind.; Biden, Del.; Boxer, Calif.; Cantwell, Wash.; Clinton, N.Y.; Corzine, N.J.; Dayton, Minn.; Durbin, Ill.; Feinstein, Calif.; Harkin, Iowa; Inouye, Hawaii; Kennedy, Mass.; Kerry, Mass.; Lautenberg, N.J.; Mikulski, Md.; Obama, Ill.; Reed, R.I.; Reid, Nev.; Sarbanes, Md.; Schumer, N.Y.; Stabenow, Mich.