Few observers were shocked when President George W. Bush nominated Judge John Roberts to succeed Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist on Monday. After all, Judge Roberts seems to represent all that President Bush expects of a jurist — a conservative judicial philosophy, personal integrity, and a mature public temperament. He will need all these and more as hearings for his confirmation begin in just a few days.
Both sides in America’s culture war understand that this nomination really matters. President Bush has been given the opportunity to shape the court for a generation or more.
Make no mistake — America’s legal and political culture is deeply divided between those who see the courts as engines for protecting and extending a social revolutiion and those who understand the courts to be the interpreters of the Constitution’s text and the protectors of the law’s majesty. Between these two legal worldviews lies a chasm of ideology, politics, social debates, and visions for the future. This nomination really matters.
CHIEF JUSTICE NOMINATION LINKS: Harvard Crimson, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times [editorial, news analysis, news report], USA Today editorial, news analysis], The Washington Post, The Washington Times.