Roberts Confirmed as Chief Justice

Matt O'Conner
WASHINGTON — Judge John Roberts will be sworn in later today as chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court after being confirmed in a 78-22 vote.

Roberts is widely considered a hard-line conservative, and there has been rampant speculation in the adult industry press regarding how he might rule on cases that involve free speech and other issues directly affecting the industry.

During confirmation hearings, Roberts was cagey when questioned about his opinions about pornography, but did admit when pressed that he felt the Supreme Court has established that the constitution affords less protection for pornographic speech than other forms of expression.

Roberts' confirmation was put on the fast track after the death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist in early September. President Bush’s next order of business is selecting a nominee to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

CNN has reported that administration officials say Bush will announce his nominee to replace O'Connor as soon as Friday.

When asked by reporters last week on live television whether he had decided on a nominee, Bush looked across the cabinet table at U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and joked, “I think the attorney general would have something to say about that.”

Gonzales downplayed the significance of the comment when asked about it later, saying, “Of course, I do think about who the president should nominate. But I do so from my perspective as attorney general, as advisor to this president in helping him make a decision that is best for the court and that is best for this country.”

If Gonzales were selected to sit on the bench, it could add an interesting twist to cases involving the adult entertainment industry.

Because Gonzales has been intimately involved in the drafting of amended 2257 record-keeping regulations and the establishment of an FBI task force on pornography, he would likely have to recuse himself from cases revolving around prosecutions against adult companies.