Roberts#039; approval shows best of bipartisan work

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 30, 2005

A new chapter in history was penned Thursday with an oath and a confirmation that will likely help shape our nation for generations to come. And perhaps most important, the move came from a united front - sort of.

John Roberts Jr. was sworn in as the 17th chief justice of the United States, replacing his friend and mentor Chief Justice William Rehnquist. The judgeship has no term limits, meaning this appointment will be a fundamental part of building the nation’s laws for years to come.

With a vote of 78-22, the formality many people have been predicting for weeks became a reality. The exciting part is how the 50-year-old former appeals judge was able to cross party lines.

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Half of the Senate's 44 Democrats voted in favor of Roberts. In most political battles, getting that many votes from the other side is a huge victory.

We believe this stands as a testament to Roberts' character and values that withstood the confirmation hearing.

Vowing to keep politics out of his judgeship, Roberts was able to win over many of his detractors by his straight-forward approach and steadfast belief in the nation's legal system.

''What Daniel Webster termed the miracle of our Constitution is not something that happens in every generation, but every generation in its turn must accept the responsibility of supporting and defending the Constitution and bearing true faith and allegiance to it,'' Roberts said.

We applaud our nation's Senators of both parties for working together. We don't expect both sides to always agree but it is encouraging to know our lawmakers can judge something on its own merits.

Unfortunately, the battle over the Supreme Court has likely only just begun. President Bush is expected to soon name a replacement for the seat being vacated by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, possibly even as soon as today.

We don't expect this process will go as smoothly, but you never know. History may repeat itself if the president finds another equally qualified candidate.