John Roberts has been sworn in as the 17th chief justice of the United States. Mr. Roberts took the oath of office Thursday at the White House, just hours after the Senate confirmed his nomination in a 78-to-22 vote.
President Bush expressed confidence Mr. Roberts will wisely exercise judicial power, defend judicial independence, and guard the United States Constitution. Mr. Roberts pledged to do the best job possible, and said every generation must accept the responsibility of supporting and defending the Constitution.
Mr. Roberts, who had been a conservative federal appellate judge, succeeds Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who died earlier this month. Supreme Court appointments are life-long, meaning the 50-year-old Roberts could lead the court for decades, shaping important social issues for Americans. President Bush also has to name someone to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who has been the swing vote on a number of controversial issues.