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Bush Says He Will Make 'Timely' Nomination of O'Connor Successor

By J. Lyn Carl,

Washington, D.C. –

Calling U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor "a discerning and conscientious judge" and a "public servant of complete integrity," President George W. Bush said today that he has accepted O'Connor's letter announcing her resignation from the High Court.

"America is proud of Justice O'Connor," said Bush from outside the White House. Saying she has served with "distinguished service," the president said O'Connor has the "gratitude of her fellow citizens" and extended the nation's "respect and good wishes" to the retiring Supreme Court Justice.

Pointing out that O'Connor was the first woman ever appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, Bush called her a "fine citizen" and "a great patriot," noting she had served "with distinction" as a member of the Arizona Legislature and as a judge in that state prior to her service on the U.S. Supreme Court.

"Americans had high expectations of her," said Bush, adding that O'Connor has "surpassed those expectations." He said O'Connor leaves "an outstanding record of service" to the United States, adding, "Our nation is deeply grateful."

The president said he takes seriously his responsibility for appointing O'Connor's successor, and said he will be "deliberative and thorough" in the appointment process. He said he has directed the White House staff to compile information on possible successors and to present that information to him for his review. Bush said he will be looking for a nominee who shows integrity, good judgment and who will "faithfully interpret the laws" of the United States.

Bush also pledged to consult with members of the U.S. Senate regarding his nominee. "The nation deserves, and I will select a Supreme Court Justice to be proud of," he said, adding that the eventual nominee deserves a "dignified process of confirmation." He also said he will choose a nominee in a "timely manner," so that the new justice can be installed before the new court term begins.