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This morning, President Bush announced his second Supreme Court nomination. He has nominated Harriet Miers to replace Sandra Day O’Connor, who stepped down from the Supreme Court last July.

Originally, as we reported back in July, President Bush nominated John Roberts to take over her place, prompting widespread surprise that he had not elected the female or minority ethnic candidate predicted. However, the death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist last month meant that John Roberts was confirmed to replace him as Chief Justice, leaving a continuing vacancy on the Court.

The Supreme Court has ultimate power in the USA to rule on the consitutionality or otherwise of key legal decisions, the most controversial of which is often abortion.

Just a few weeks ago, John Roberts has said that he would be “unlikely” to overturn previous court rulings that give women the right to abortion, nor to let his Catholic faith influence his judicial decisions.

Ms Miers has never yet served as a judge in the US, although she has been one of Bush’s closest advisors, so she has no judicial record to indicate her opinion on controversial issues such as abortion or euthanasia. If confirmed, Miers will be one of two women currently serving on the Supreme Court, and only the third woman in history.