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UPDATE 1-Bush picks conservative Roberts for Supreme Court
Wednesday 20 July 2005, 8:05pm EST

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By Adam Entous

WASHINGTON, July 19 (Reuters) - President George W. Bush chose conservative appeals court judge John Roberts on Tuesday as his first nominee to the Supreme Court, putting his stamp on the closely divided court and igniting what could be a partisan clash over its ideological direction for decades to come.

Bush will make the announcement at the White House with Roberts at his side at 9 p.m. EDT/0100 GMT, administration and congressional sources said.

Bush chose Roberts despite a suggestion from his own wife, Laura Bush, that he should name a woman to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

Roberts was a former clerk to Chief Justice William Rehnquist and worked in the Reagan Justice Department and as deputy solicitor general during the first Bush administration. Though he has a reputation for being a moderate conservative, liberals suspect he is more right-wing than his record suggests.

He joined the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in May 2003 after a protracted confirmation fight in the Senate.


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