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From WashingtonPost.com :
Bush Nominates Roberts as Chief Justice
President Seeks Quick Approval With Another Seat Left to Fill
By Peter Baker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 6, 2005; A01
President Bush nominated John G. Roberts Jr. yesterday as the 17th chief justice of the United States, promoting his nominee for associate justice to lead the Supreme Court and the rest of the federal judiciary even before Roberts was confirmed for the first assignment....
Bush always had Roberts in mind for the next chief justice, aides said yesterday. Roberts was first secretly interviewed for a Supreme Court slot in April in anticipation that the cancer-stricken Rehnquist would retire or die. When O'Connor surprised the White House by announcing her retirement in July and Rehnquist declared that he was not stepping down, Bush decided to appoint Roberts to O'Connor's seat.
Even then, aides said yesterday that the president intended to elevate Roberts to chief justice whenever the job came open. "This had been something in the back of the president's mind in case such a scenario came into being, if the chief justice had retired," said White House press secretary Scott McClellan. "The president, when he met with [Roberts], knew he was a natural-born leader."