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September 5, 2005 3:00 AM

Bush nominates Roberts to be chief justice

With a quick nomination of John Roberts to be chief justice, President Bush on Monday made Roberts confirmation hearings even more important and opened a new debate over who should fill the other vacancy on the Supreme Court. Bush took just a day after the death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist to decide he wanted to shift course and nominate Roberts to the top job instead of the seat of Associate Justice Sandra Day OConnor, whos retiring. He will search now for a replacement for OConnor, facing political pressure to nominate a woman to keep the lopsided gender balance of the court at its current seven men and two women.

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