WASHINGTON - John Glover Roberts Jr. became the 17th chief justice of the United States Thursday, overwhelmingly confirmed by the Senate to lead the Supreme Court through turbulent social issues for generations to come.
The Senate voted 78-22 to confirm Roberts -- a 50-year-old U.S. Appeals judge from the Washington suburb of Chevy Chase, Md. -- as the successor to the late William H. Rehnquist, who died earlier this month. All of the Senate Republicans, and about half of the Democrats, voted for Roberts.
Underscoring the rarity of a chief justice's confirmation, senators answered the roll by standing one by one at their desks as their names were called, instead of voting and leaving the chamber.
The 50-year-old U.S. appeals court judge was to be quickly sworn in at a White House ceremony so he can take his seat in time for the new court session Monday. Justices will tackle issues like ...