Months ago, after a grueling night of uncertainty, George W. Bush emerged as winner of the 2004 presidential election and vowed to be a president for “all Americans,” not merely those who cast their vote for him. The statement was almost immediately criticized by Democrats, who pointed out that Bush’s past actions did not indicate that this promise would be kept. The passing of Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist Saturday, gives the president an important chance to stand by his word. Bush has the opportunity to ensure that not only those who voted for him but also those Americans who did not are going to be represented by the Court.
With Rehnquist’s passing and Sandra Day O’Connor’s resignation from the Court earlier this year, a historic two-seat vacancy must be filled. The upcoming nomination and confirmation proceedings have the power to affect Supreme Court rulings – and thus, the law of the land – for years to come. The nation’s most influential court’s political makeup is about to be redefined, and all past efforts to establish a well-balanced court may be swept away if Bush nominates two conservatives to the court.
John G. Roberts was previously announced by Bush as his choice for the seat vacated by O’Connor. Now that a more pressing need to replace the late Chief Justice Rehnquist has arisen, the president has resubmitted Roberts’ nomination to replace Rehnquist instead. Roberts is most assuredly a conservative.
If the president were to hold true to his vow, he would now have to pick a liberal to replace O’Connor and round off the political leanings of the Court. Such an action would ensure that future proceedings are not overwhelmingly biased.
We would therefore like to remind our readers of Bush’s exact words on Nov. 3, 2004: “America has spoken, and I’m humbled by the trust and the confidence of my fellow citizens. With that trust comes a duty to serve all Americans, and I will do my best to fulfill that duty every day as your president.”
The ball, as they say, is in the president’s court. We are not holding our breath that the president will remain true to his initial promise, but we certainly wouldn’t mind for the president to prove us wrong on this one.