Under the Constitution, one of the most consequential decisions a President makes is an appointment to the Supreme Court. This week I was proud to announce my nomination of Judge John Roberts to be the Supreme Court's next Associate Justice.
Judge Roberts has a stellar record of achievement. He is a man of sound judgment and the highest integrity. He has the qualities Americans expect in a judge — experience, wisdom, fairness and civility. He has profound respect for the rule of law and for the liberties guaranteed to every citizen. He will strictly apply the Constitution and laws, not legislate from the bench.
Judge Roberts currently serves on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which is often considered America's second highest court. He has also served as a top lawyer at the Department of Justice, an attorney in the White House for President Ronald Reagan, and a distinguished advocate in private practice. He gained early experience at the Supreme Court as a law clerk to Justice William Rehnquist. He graduated with high honors from both Harvard College and Harvard Law School. And as a young man growing up in Indiana, he captained his high school football team and worked summers in a steel mill to earn money for college.
One of the highest honors for any lawyer is to argue a case before the Supreme Court. In his extraordinary career, Judge Roberts has argued a remarkable 39 cases before the nation's highest court. He is known by Democrats and Republicans alike as a brilliant thinker, a fair-minded judge, and a decent man. After I nominated Judge Roberts to the Court of Appeals in 2001, a bipartisan group of more than 150 lawyers sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee — and here is what they wrote: "Although as individuals we reflect a wide spectrum of political party affiliation and ideology, we are united in our belief that John Roberts will be an outstanding federal appeals court judge and should be confirmed by the United States Senate. He is one of the very best and most highly respected appellate lawyers in the nation."
The next step for Judge Roberts is the Senate confirmation process. The process is off to a good start. Since I announced his nomination, Judge Roberts has met with a number of senators from both parties. Democrats and Republicans have expressed their respect for Judge Roberts' qualifications and intellect, just as they did two years ago when they confirmed him to be a federal appeals court judge by unanimous consent.
In the weeks ahead, the Senate will have an opportunity to rise above partisanship. I've spoken to Senate Majority Leader Frist and Minority Leader Reid, as well as Chairman and Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee, Senators Specter and Leahy. These senators share my goal of an orderly and dignified confirmation process, and it is important that Judge Roberts be confirmed before the Court reconvenes on October the 3rd.
President Clinton's two appointments to the Supreme Court proved that the Senate can conduct a thorough review and vote on a nominee within a reasonable timetable. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was confirmed 42 days after the President submitted her nomination, and Justice Stephen Breyer was confirmed 73 days after his nomination was submitted. In both cases, Democrats and Republicans helped move the process forward promptly and voted to confirm the justices, despite significant philosophical differences.
America is fortunate to have a man of such wisdom and intellectual strength willing to serve our country. I'm grateful to Judge Roberts' wife, Jane, and their two children, Jack and Josie, and I look forward to the Senate voting to confirm Judge John Roberts as 109th justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Thank you for listening.