President Bush Congratulates Supreme Court Nominee Roberts (Photo courtesy of the White House)

Judge John G. Roberts, President Bush’s choice to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court, has weighed in on cases affecting the business community during his brief tenure as an appellate court judge.

"He is highly regarded and well respected by the legal and business communities," says Thomas Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Maurice Baskin, general counsel for the Associated Builders and Contractors, says the trade group is "encouraged by the fact that Roberts has worked on business-related cases," although Baskin says he is not aware of any construction-specific decisions since Roberts was confirmed for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in June 2003.

But Roberts was one of the jurists who voted to uphold revisions to the Labor Dept’s financial disclosure forms, known as LM2s, that labor unions are required to file annually. Roberts dissented on the part of the June 2005 opinion that struck down the trust disclosure requirements in the case, AFL-CIO v. Chao, says Baskin.

"We were on the same side as Roberts," notes Baskin.

The trade group hopes Roberts will "take a common-sense approach to business issues, especially small business and labor issues," Baskin adds.

Environmentalists were more cautious. Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club, said Roberts’ environmental record is being reviewed, "and while we have some initial concerns, we intend to do a thorough review of his history both on the bench and as an attorney.

The Senate Judiciary Committee hopes to begin Roberts’ confirmation hearing in early September. White House officials are hopeful Roberts will be confirmed in time to begin the Supreme Court session that begins Oct. 3.