John Roberts confirmation vote

Matt Margolis is liveblogging it. 11:51 AM EDT Update:  Roberts has been confirmed in a 78-22 vote.

In the meantime, the speculation on who Bush’s next nominee for the USSC is at a fever pitch, with the NYTimes reporting the following today:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 – President Bush is close to naming a successor to Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and could announce his choice this week, Republicans close to the White House said Wednesday.

One name that was the source of enormous speculation in Washington legal and political circles was Harriet E. Miers, the White House counsel, who is a leader in the search for Justice O’Connor’s successor. Ms. Miers, 60, was the first woman to become a partner at a major Texas law firm and the first woman to be president of the State Bar of Texas. At one point, Ms. Miers was Mr. Bush’s personal lawyer.

In 1995, Mr. Bush, then governor of Texas, named her chairwoman of the Texas Lottery Commission and gave her the task of cleaning up that scandal-plagued agency. Ms. Miers has never been a judge, although that is not a requirement for a Supreme Court justice.

Ms. Miers was also a leader in the search that led Mr. Bush to Judge John G. Roberts Jr., who is widely expected to be confirmed by the Senate as chief justice on Thursday.

Republicans cautioned that Ms. Miers was just one in a swirling mix of perhaps 12 possibilities and that she could be the subject of the same kind of assumptions that led much of Washington to conclude in July that Judge Edith Brown Clement of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit was Mr. Bush’s choice for the court only hours before he named Judge Roberts.

Influential Republicans said there was a serious possibility that Mr. Bush would name a woman or a minority candidate to succeed Justice O’Connor, particularly after the president said Monday, in response to a question about how close he was to choosing a successor, that "diversity is one of the strengths of the country."

Update: Judge Roberts is now officially Chief Justice Roberts :)

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