After three days of debate, the Senate voted Thursday to confirm John Roberts as the 17th Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Just three hours later, Justice Stevens, who is the most senior justice and acted as chief justice after the death of Chief Justice Rehnquist, swore in Roberts in a White House ceremony.
The court will have a second change in membership in the next few months. President Bush is expected to nominate a successor to Justice Sandra Day O'Connor as early as next week. She has agreed to remain on the Court until her replacement is confirmed.
It will be a very busy Supreme Court term for civil liberties. Roberts will be leading a court that will decide important cases relating to reproductive freedom, free speech, and end-of-life decisions, among many other issues.