October 3, 2005

Roberts takes over as chief justice

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - John Roberts was installed on Monday
as the nation's 17th chief justice in a special Supreme Court
ceremony attended by President George W. Bush, family members
and his high court colleagues.

During the four-minute special sitting, Justice John Paul
Stevens, the court's most senior member, again administered the
judicial oath that Roberts already took last week at a White
House ceremony after the Senate confirmed him by a 78-22 vote.

"On behalf of all the members of the court, it is a
pleasure to extend to you a warm welcome," Stevens told the
smiling 50-year-old Roberts, who is the youngest chief justice
in two centuries. Stevens wished Roberts "a long and happy
career in our common calling."

Roberts, a conservative who had been a federal appeals
judge the past two years, replaced his mentor, William
Rehnquist, who died a month ago from thyroid cancer.

The ceremony was overshadowed by Bush announcement that he
had selected White House counsel Harriet Miers to replace
retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, a moderate conservative
who often casts the decisive vote on the closely divided court.