President Bush announced tonight that he has chosen federal appeals judge John Roberts to succeed Sandra Day O’Connor as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Roberts is not a well known figure, but has garnered respect from across the political spectrum throughout his career:

John G. Roberts Jr. was seen as smart and cautious, conservative in his leanings, but not an outspoken ideologue prone to making brash pronouncements. He was the clear favorite of Washington’s Republican legal establishment for the first vacancy on the Supreme Court — whether to replace his old boss, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, or as it turned out, to fill the seat left by the departure of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

Even leading Democratic lawyers, including former Clinton Solicitor Gen. Seth Waxman and the late Lloyd Cutler, signed a letter endorsing his nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington two years ago. They said he was a superb lawyer, a brilliant writer and an effective oral advocate.

There is little doubt that the coming weeks will provide a great deal of dramatic political theater. Your thoughts on Judge Roberts and the upcoming confirmation process are welcome in the comments section below.