Roberts Sworn In, Confirmed by a Vote of 78-22, Wyden votes Yes
John Roberts was sworn into as Chief Justice today after being confirmed 78-22, with the Senate's 55 Republicans, 22 Democrats, and Jeffords all voting yes. 22 Democrats opposed the nomination. Both Wyden and "progressive" dem Russ Feingold voted yes.
John Roberts was sworn into office today as Chief Justice in a ceremony in the White House by associate justice John Paul Stevens. Lots of people in suits were there, including our pResident King George II. Speaking at the official ceremony, he said something like "Thank you dear Senate for confirming this beautifully constructed fully autonomous and obedient robot to the Court to do my bidding for me." Or something like that.
Both of Oregon's senators supported the nomination, as did Patty Murray of Washington. Many "progressive" Democrats supported the nomination, and among those voting Aye were Robert Byrd of West Virginia, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Patrick Leahy of Vermont.
The following Senators voted "nay":
Daniel Akaka of Hawaii
Evan Bayh of Indiana
Joseph Biden of Delaware
Barbara Boxer of California
Maria Cantwell of Washington
Hillary Clinton of New York
Jon Corzine of New Jersey
Mark Dayton of Minnesota
Richard Durbin of Illinois
Diane Feinstein of California
Tom Harkin of Iowa
Daniel Inouye of Hawaii
Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts
John Kerry of Massachusetts
Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey
Barbara Mikulski of Maryland
Barack Obama of Illinois
Jack Reed of Rhode Island
Harry Reid of Nevada
Paul Sarbanes of Maryland
Charles Schumer of New York
Debbie Stabenow of Michigan
Senator Wyden actually gave a speech in support of John Roberts. An excerpt of that speech is below:
"I reject the suggestion that a Republican nominee is, per se, objectionable. A number of certainly moderate justices nominated by Republican Presidents certainly belie this claim. The decision each Senator must make should be based on the judicial nominee that is before the Senate, not the one that we wish was before the Senate.
To put this into historial perspective under the advice and consent responsibility assigned to the President, the President's judicial nominees to the Court have traditionally been given a large degree of deference. For example, in spite of the divisive national debate surrounding gays in the military, universal health care, Travelgate, Filegate, and the Whitewater investigation, this deference translated into 96 votes for Justice Ginsburg and 87 votes for Justice Breyer when their nominations came to a vote before the Senate. Yet these are two of the most progressive voices in the over 200-year history of the Court.
When I had the opportunity to meet with John Roberts in my office this past August, I pressed him to tell me how he viewed some of the issues that have most divided our country. The answers Judge Roberts gave me during the hour we spent together left me with the impression that he will be his own man on the Court.
Here are my judgments about the individual before the Senate now: One, on the basis of his public testimony, it is hard to see Judge Roberts as a man who will walk into the white pillard building across the street and set about tearing apart the fabric of our society; two, on the basis of his public testimony, it is hard to see Judge Roberts as a judicial activist who would place ideological purity or a particular agenda above or ahead of the need for thoughtful reason; three, on the basis of his public testimony, it is hard to see Judge Roberts as a divisive, confrontational extremist who would try to further exploit the divisions in our country.
What I saw in his public testimony and in our private meeting is an intelligent, thoughtful man, certainly a deeply conservative man with a tempered view of the role of Government."
For those of you reading from Vancouver/Seattle who may be curious about Patty Murray's "Aye" vote, here is an excerpt from her speech.
"For days I have struggled with whether this nominee represents the fear I have of the worst motives of this administration or whether he represents the best hopes of a country for wise decisions that protect our rights and our freedoms and our responsibilities. No one of us can know for sure. There is no doubt that anyone I would have nominated would have come from a different background with a different history, but this was not my choice. There is much I do not know about how Judge Roberts will rule, but as history has shown, none of us can predict that. And without a crystal globe, I must make this very difficult decision based on what I do know and upon the criteria I have long used to evaluate nominees for judicial appointments.....
...Some have suggested to me that I use my vote to register my disapproval at things the Bush administration has done or that I use my vote to send a message to the President. While I am angry about mistakes and miscalculations and misrepresentations and misdirected priorities of the Bush administration, this vote is not the place to vent those frustrations. Fairness requires that I evaluate each nominee on his or her own merits, without a predetermined outcome, just as I expect every judge to do when a case comes before them. My vote is based on the same standards I have used for years, not on anger or in sending messages or ignoring a nominee's actual record.....
.....On the question of upholding the hard-won rights and liberties of the American people, I believe Judge Roberts has a healthy regard for precedent and intends to apply a thoughtful approach to interpreting the law. This is not to say I would expect or even hope to agree with every decision he might make or every opinion a Chief Justice Roberts might author. In making my decision, I recognize that history has shown no one can accurately anticipate what type of Justice a nominee may ultimately become.
For many weeks I have known some people in Washington State will be disappointed in my decision regardless of what that decision is. I have heard from friends and colleagues, constituents and strangers, on all sides of the question. Many of them have surprised me in their candor and in their position. All this has led me to struggle with the decision for many days now. I have read up on Judge Roberts. I have listened to the thoughts of others. I have talked with the judge himself. All the while, it has been an extremely close call in my mind, for I know the gravity and the consequences of this important vote. I have had deep and lasting concerns. But I have had strong, heartfelt hopes as well.
In the end, I returned to the basic criteria I use on any tough question and to the values the people of Washington State sent me here to protect. In examining that criteria and those important values, I have made a decision that I hope everyone can understand and appreciate and even be proud of. I am satisfied that Judge Roberts meets my long-held criteria and, therefore, I will vote to confirm his nomination."
For the record, Wyden and Murray will both be "representing" the states of Oregon and Washington until 2010, as they were both re-sElected in 2004 with of 63% and 55% of the vote, respectively.
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